High tension cable barrier

Safety issueHigh tension cable barrier alongside of road

Fatalities or severe injuries often result when a vehicle crosses the median into the opposing traffic lanes.

Safety design

High tension cable barriers act like a net when a vehicle strikes them. The cables are designed to detach from the posts and absorb the energy of the vehicle. The vehicle is slowed and redirected to prevent a potential cross median crash.

Cable barrier is suitable for use on flat or moderately sloped terrain. Installation costs are relatively inexpensive compared to concrete and metal beam barriers. Generally cable barrier can be quickly repaired. Cable barriers can be an ideal retrofit application in existing median areas.


  • Cable median barriers are an effective means of reducing fatal and severe cross median crashes.
  • Cable barriers can be placed further from the roadway making them less likely to be hit.

Where are they being used?

  • On divided highways with a history of cross median crashes
  • On highways with medians greater than 40-feet wide


Erik Emerson, P.E.
WisDOT Standards Development Engineer
(608) 266-2842