World’s highest approved containment road barrier used to protect M1 footbridge

The installation of the world’s highest approved containment road barrier has been used to give one of the UK’s oldest motorway footbridges a new lease of life.

Smithy Wood Footbridge across the M1 near Ecclesfield, in Sheffield, has served the stretch of motorway since it first opened in the 1960s. The historic bridge, now roughly 60 years old, needed increased protection in the event of a collision and a Rebloc 1.85m tall and half a metre wide concrete safety barrier was able to do that, reports New Civil Engineer.

According to Rebloc, its RB185A precast concrete barrier is the world’s first extensively tested and fully EN 1317-compliant precast concrete safety barrier with level H4a containment, which is the highest used in the UK, and a working width of W1. The containment level of H4a is the minimum level of containment for roads with speeds of more than 50mph combined with a site-specific risk in the UK.

The system also has a vehicle intrusion rating of VI2, which is not matched by any other barrier according to Rebloc, and was supplied by Hardstaff Barriers, Rebloc’s only UK supplier. Rebloc has stated the VI2 intrusion rating means that “the anchored barrier offers the best protection against errant vehicles” and “prevents the vehicle from breaking through or projecting over the barrier”.

Rebloc highways account manager Sarah Compton said: “We were really excited about this project, which saw the world’s first-ever installation of the Rebloc RB185A. This system will greatly improve the safety of this historic footbridge, as well as many more sites to come, where standard high containment barriers just cannot be installed.”

Hardstaff Barriers’ team of vehicle restraint system (VRS) experts installed around 200m of the barrier. The system was installed on the north and southbound sections of the motorway and was connected to the existing VRS in place.


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