Mid-America Transportation Center


Date of this Version


Document Type



Report # MATC-UNL: 101 Final Report TRP-03-236-10


Copyright 2010 Mid-America Transportation Center


High tension cable guardrail is becoming increasing popular in median and roadside applications due to the promise of reduced deflections upon impact and reduced maintenance. As the performance of these systems is observed in service, there is a growing concern over the end anchorage foundation performance of current systems. Foundations for high tension systems must not only be capable of restraining the impact load of a vehicle but must also restrain the initial pretension on the cable system as well as temperature induced loads. While it may be acceptable for many roadside safety devices to require foundation repair after impact, foundation failure due to environmentally induced loads would be a serious maintenance problem. As initial tension and temperature induced loads can be greater than those loads applied during impact, this type of loading must be considered in foundation design. Foundation deflection can reduce cable tension, increasing deflection of the system during impact and letting the cables sag after impact. The soil conditions in which these foundations are placed vary significantly. This report considers the potential impact, tension, and temperature loads and develops a set of suggested foundation designs to accommodate a range of in situ soil conditions. These designs will vary significantly in different areas around the nation due to variations in both weather and in situ soil conditions. Deflection during full-scale crash tests may not accurately represent the foundation deflection that will be experienced in the field.