116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
After two winters of being stretched along Interstate 35 between Des Moines and Ames, the cable barriers that are now along Interstate 380 through most of Cedar Rapids faced the first test of winter amid Thursday's all-day snowstorm.
"The DOT made a decision a couple of years ago to have these cable median barriers," said Cathy Cutler, with the Iowa Department of Transportation office in Cedar Rapids.
The project along I-380, from the Wright Brothers Boulevard exit (mile marker 13) north to the Boyson Road exit (Mile Marker 25) cost about $2.2 million for the 12-mile stretch. The purpose is to keep I-380 "slide offs" from turning into out-of-control cars and trucks that can run into the opposite lanes, head-on.
"They're not designed to boomerang you back into traffic," said Cutler during the storm Thursday. "But, if you go off, they are there to catch you and hold you there safely."
This mission was apparent on Thursday evening, as a crash on I-380, south of the 42nd Street NE exit (mile marker 23) left a SUV that had been traveling southbound mangled with damage, yet the vehicle did not slide into the northbound lanes of the highway.
"The cables are designed for the post to actually break and for the cables to catch and flex up to 12 feet," Cutler said.
Cutler stressed a November incident where
a dump truck overturned near the Swisher exit (mile marker 10). She said the cables were able to keep the wayward truck in place.