The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

Infrastructure Malta introduces 'safer crash barriers' system

Tuesday, 23 April 2019, 10:27 Last update: about 5 months ago

For the first time in Maltese roads, Infrastructure Malta is installing a new system of CE-certified concrete barriers with added safety features to continue reducing the risk of serious accident injuries and damages, IM said in a statement

This kind of vehicle restraint system, which is widely used in many European motorways, including the UK’s M1 and M6, is crash-tested and certified to safely contain the impact of a 13-tonne bus travelling at speeds of up to 70 km/h. The first stretch of this new safety system was installed this month along the central reserve of part of Triq tal-Balal, which is currently being reconstructed and widened to a dual-carriageway four-lane road. The same system is also being adopted to safely separate the two new three-lane carriageways in part of Triq Reġjonali, which is also being upgraded by Infrastructure Malta.  


The six-metre, 3.4 tonne barriers are being cast at a local plant, under licence from the internationally-acclaimed safety barriers company Deltabloc International GmbH. Vehicle restraint system auditors from the international certification body TÜV were in Malta in recent weeks to inspect the local manufacturing process and the units produced, and to confirm its CE-certification in line with the European vehicle restraint system safety standard EN1317.   

The precast concrete crash barriers that Infrastructure Malta is using at Triq tal-Balal have a special anti-flip profile that redirects vehicles back onto the carriageway, to drastically reduce the risk of roll-over upon impact. They also have a high containment level with low deflection (side movement) to prevent cross-median accidents. Notwithstanding their rigidity, the barriers help contain drivers’ and passengers’ head acceleration on impact to a safe level, reducing potential severe neck injuries.

Since they have no sharp edges, these concrete barriers are also safer for motorcyclists. Studies have shown that this type of vehicle restraint system reduces the likelihood of severe injuries to helmeted riders involved in motorcycle-barrier collisions.

A specially-designed tension bar is embedded inside every barrier to securely connect one unit to another and create a self-contained chain of elements that deploys this life-saving technology upon impact. The concrete used for the modules is specifically-formulated to be more resilient and ductile. Thus, it does not easily shatter upon impact, preventing breakout of dangerous parts.

The barriers’ narrow profile and low-deflection properties also reduces the footprint that would otherwise be required for other vehicle restraint systems in central reserves between carriageways, making them highly suited for the limited road spaces available in most of the Maltese road network.

The new barriers will continue to be installed along the central reserve of Triq tal-Balal in the coming weeks, as soon as the reconstruction of more stretches of this 1.8km road are completed. 

Inġ. Fredrick Azzopardi, Infrastructure Malta’s CEO, explains that the agency’s civil engineers and technicians have thoroughly analysed the specifications of this system. “Before introducing these crash barriers, we wanted to be sure they adequately meet the requirements of our road network. This system is very popular in other countries as it offers road users with higher safety levels. Road users’ attention and respect to one another will always remain the most important accident prevention measure on our roads. However, the introduction of safety systems such as these crash barriers will help us reduce the medical, psychological, social and economic consequences of traffic accidents in Malta.”        

Infrastructure Malta is committed to an ongoing investment in more new technologies and processes to continue augmenting the quality, safety and sustainability of Malta’s land transport infrastructure.    


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