Civil and Environmental Engineering



Ronald K. Faller

Date of this Version



Transportation Research Report TRP-03-45-94, FHWA Contract No. DTFH71-90-C-00035


Three full-scale crash tests were conducted on the George Washington Memorial Parkway bridge rail. The bridge rail is constructed with three steel tube rails supported by steel posts spaced on 7 ft. 9.5 in. (2.38 m) centers, and mounted on an 8 in. (20.3 cm.) curb. The first test consisted of an 1850 Ib (839 kg) minicompact car impacting at a speed of 54.4 mph (87.5 km/h) and an angle of 21.0 degrees. Following an unsuccessful test, the bridge rail was redesigned. The rail was first retested using a 1750 Ib (794 kg) minicompact car which impacted at 52.6 mph (84.7 km/h) and 22.6 degrees. This test passed the required safety criteria, so the final test was conducted with a 5400 Ib pickup truck impacting at 46.6 mph (73.5 km/h) and 22.7 degrees.

The tests were evaluated according to the performance level I (PL-I) criteria for bridge railings presented in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide Specifications for Bridge Railings. They were conducted and reported in accordance with requirements specified in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report No. 230, Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Appurtenances. The performance of the George Washington Memorial Parkway bridge rail was determined to be acceptable according to the AASHTO PL-1 guidelines.