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East Anglia barrier trial aims to stop zig zaggers

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THREE AUTOMATIC half barrier (AHB) crossings in East Anglia could be the first to trial median barriers on approach roads as a way of stopping drivers from zigzagging through them.

The crossings will initially be monitored by closed circuit television before a decision is made whether to trial the barriers.

Scott Wilson is carrying out the project for the Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB).

'All the crossings are in East Anglia and were selected from a list of 12 possibles, ' said Scott Wilson senior highway engineer Suzanne Scobie.

'We will be looking for dangerous behaviour such as running the red lights, zig-zagging through the barriers when they're down, and overtaking on the crossing itself.

'If by springtime it's obvious there are problems at any or all of these crossings, we'll install 'flexible posts' down the median strip for about 35m each side of the crossing.'

These posts will be based on the same technology as many small roadside signs. They will not form a rigid barrier - drivers will be able to cross them at low speeds in an emergency, or if a car breaks down in front of them.

Scobie added: 'The principle has already been trialled in the US on three AHB crossings identified as having a zigzagging problem, and it seems to have worked.'

But she warned it would be impractical to install median barriers on all the UK's 470 AHBs because of width or visibility restrictions.

The technique promises significant improvements in safety at AHBs for a much lower cost than bridge or tunnel crossings - although it would be no protection against a would-be suicide.

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