6 Ways to Choose Between Concrete and Steel Traffic Safety Barriers
Temporary traffic safety barriers are most commonly used to protect roadside workers and traveling motorists throughout construction zones. There are a wide variety of temporary traffic barriers to choose from but primarily made from two key materials: concrete or steel. How do you know which option is best for your upcoming project? With so many factors to weigh in your decision, it’s helpful to look at a side by side comparison. Below, we will compare the two most popular temporary barrier options, concrete versus steel, using our two roadside safety products for comparison: Zoneguard® steel barrier and ZoneBloc® concrete barrier.
1. Barrier Dimensions
ZoneBloc: 39.3’ length, 32” height, 12” base width
Zoneguard: 50’ length, 32” height, 28” base width
Positive takeaway: Zoneguard’s length helps you install more barrier for less. ZoneBloc’s narrow base width compared to standard concrete barriers is a huge benefit when space is restricted, such as on a bridge or narrow roadway.
Weight / Truck Load
1 ZoneBloc = 6,614LB (165LB per linear foot) = 280 linear feet per truck load
1 Zoneguard = 3,097LB (62LB per linear foot) = 750 linear feet per truck load
Note: Traditional Concrete Barrier = 400LB per linear foot
Positive takeaway: ZoneBloc® is significantly lighter than traditional concrete barriers, which helps carry more per truck. With Zoneguard’s light steel material allowing more barriers per truck load, it saves on trucking costs as well as provides less overall dead load.
ZoneBloc: up to 1,200 linear feet per hour
Zoneguard: up to 1,500 linear feet per hour
Positive takeaway: The faster a roadside crew can install a temporary barrier, the less at risk they are being exposed to traffic. Both products provide speed and ease of installation essential to lessen the roadside exposure risk. Steel has a slight advantage over ZoneBloc® – and even more so over traditional concrete barriers – due to its lighter weight compared to concrete.
Durability / Life Expectancy
ZoneBloc: 5-10 years life span
Zoneguard: 15-20+ years life span
Positive takeaway: Zoneguard® is the definite winner when it comes to overall life cycle costs. With concrete more prone to wear and tear, galvanized steel’s durability will keep Zoneguard® usable significantly longer than traditional concrete systems.
ZoneBloc: Standard 40’ units can be curved to a radius of 853’
Zoneguard: Standard 50’ units can be curved to a radius of 800’
Positive takeaway: Both products can easily be curved to fit your project either at initial installation or during relocation.
ZoneBloc: MASH TL-3 = 44” deflection
Zoneguard: MASH TL-3 = 74” deflection
Positive takeaway: While Zoneguard® was tested with minimum and standard deflection systems, for this comparison, we’re going to focus on the standard deflection system. When comparing the two products this way, ZoneBloc® had less deflection than Zoneguard® by 30”. As an aside, the minimum deflection for Zoneguard® is 5” for concrete and 23.4” for asphalt.