Steel cable median barriers help improve safety for Michigan drivers

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MID MICHIGAN (WJRT) (12/20/17) - Motorists along I-69 in Genesee and Shiawassee counties undoubtedly have noticed steel median barriers on certain portions of the interstate.

The barriers have been around for about a decade and many drivers and lawmakers have opposed having them because of the damage they can cause to vehicles -- until recently.

A metro Detroit man has credited them for helping save his life during last week's snowstorm. The barriers prevented his Jeep from crossing the median into oncoming traffic.

"It's been engineered so that it catches the vehicle, absorbs the impact, breaks away to an extent, so it keeps the vehicle from crossing over, but it also breaks away so that it doesn't work as a sling shot," said Jeff Cranson with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

MDOT says the barriers are put in places where there are higher traffic volumes and also a history of car crashes. They are also in places where medians are much narrower than other portions of the freeway.

The barriers are also much more cost effective and safer in the long run than a traditional concrete barrier.

In Mid-Michigan, there's about six miles of the cable barrier in Genesee County along I-69 and roughly 18 miles in Shiawassee County.

The barriers are also on many other freeways across the state.

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