Why Is It Called A Jersey Barrier?

By January 13, 2022 No Comments
cars traffic commute on highway at night to illustrate Why is it called a Jersey barrier

So here’s a fun topic inspired by a question we get from time to time: Why is it called a Jersey barrier? Well, as you may have suspected, it comes from the state of New Jersey.

During the 1950s, prototypes of the barrier were first utilized and popularized. In many ways, these prototypes were perfected into the form we see today.

By the late 1950s, New Jersey — with development handled via the Stevens Institute of Technology — had settled upon a standard and uniform size barrier design (32 inches tall with a 24-inch base). The sides of the barriers featured a sloped face to mitigate head-on collisions.

Since that size met safety standards adopted by the federal government, Jersey’s version soon became the country’s standard. It’s still used throughout the country today.

Also known as Jersey curbs, Jersey walls, Jersey bumps, Ontario tall walls, or K-rails, they’re basically highway barriers, security barriers, and slope and steep-grade barriers that help keep traffic moving swiftly, safely, and perhaps most importantly, predictably.

Jersey barriers are made with steel-reinforced concrete (or in some instances, plastic filled with water). Some designs feature the embedded steel protruding outward so they can be built into more permanent, interlocking designs as needed.

Jersey Barriers: What They Do

As many of you know, a Jersey barrier is a safety and traffic control barricade that one finds in the center of highways, in parking lots, along the sides of roadways, and in other areas. And while the Jersey name stuck, they were being produced in other states, as well, most notably California.

Now they’re produced wherever tools for concrete infrastructure are manufactured. These barriers are typically made of concrete. But they can also be made from other materials and filled with gravel or sand to make them more substantial.

They form a fundamental tool in our nation’s transportation infrastructure, helmed by the Federal Highway Administration. Each can be poured on-site or delivered ready to be installed. They reroute traffic, whether they’re concrete or plastic Jersey barriers. Each can protect vehicles on roads with narrow medians. And they prevent oncoming traffic from entering a highway in the wrong direction.

They’re ingeniously devised, designed, and constructed. In many cases, barriers can redirect even high-speed vehicles that have run off the road back onto the road again. And they can do this without causing the car to buckle. After all, there are extreme pressures at play when a moving object hits a concrete barrier.

In the Pacific Northwest

No doubt, commuters in our region of the country have seen Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) traffic barriers. These are simple but effective precast concrete barriers. They help keep our community’s drivers safe while also keeping traffic flowing smoothly and efficiently.

Using Columbia Precast’s rigorous, experience-tested precast concrete production methods, our partners in the transportation infrastructure industries know they’re getting only the strongest, most durable, and highest quality concrete Jersey barriers that are built to last a lifetime.

Get in touch with us today to see how our precast concrete forms — customizable, reproducible, and delivered to the site ready for installation — can help you with your project.