BRYAN COUNTY, Okla. – A stretch of Oklahoma highway will soon have a protective barrier. On Monday, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation commissioners approved a $1.2 million project to build cable barriers along Highway 69/75.
The barriers would run on an eight mile stretch from the Red River to Platter Road. The cables are designed to prevent cross-over accidents.
Similar barriers are currently installed in Collin County, Texas. Grayson County installed concrete barriers along Hwy. 75 that have dramatically reduced fatal accidents.
"As far as I know there hasn't been a single crossover since we installed it. There have been several accidents on the north and southbound lanes, but they have stayed in their travels lanes or directions of travel," says Noel Paramanantham, an engineer with TX-DOT in the Sherman office.
Here's how the cables work. Transportation officials say they can deflect six to eight feet. This allows a vehicle more time to slow down before driving into oncoming traffic. Officials say the device can be lifesaving, especially on stretches of highway with narrow medians.
"They are very effective in redirecting the out of control vehicle back into his correct lane and avoids the crossover, head-on type accidents that usually results in very serious injuries and deaths,"said Capt. Eldon Matthews of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
ODOT expects the project to take between six to eight weeks to complete.