The early results have been published of an Australian project to update guidelines on selecting and designing bridge barriers.

In July Austroads, which governs the transport and traffic agencies of Australia, crashed a 36t truck, a sports utility vehicle and a small car into a type of bridge barrier commonly used in Australia and New Zealand. The truck test involved a collision at 90km/h, as opposed to the standard 80km/h.

The tests are intended to confirm whether this medium-performance bridge barrier meets the requirements of Australian Standards; and of the AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH). This is a new way of evaluating road hardware, but bridge barriers have yet to be tested against MASH.

Crash tests are usually conducted using a dummy designed to represent a man. But Austroads’ sports utility vehicle test used dummies the size and weight of a small woman, and also a dummy that represents a child.

Austroads has released videos of the tests on the project page (link opens in new tab). It expects to publish the bridge barrier guidelines, report and a webinar in 2024.