Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Cal Trans Money Spent

While the new cable barriers installed between Anderson and Redding along Interstate 5 are being touted as the first of their kind in California, those who remember the old strung-cable medians from decades past worry about the new barrier's safety.

"It serves as a launch" to catapult a vehicle, said Richard Alexander, a San Jose attorney who sued the California Department of Transportation in 2004 over the cable medians along Interstate 80 east of Sacramento. "It'll actually provide a pivot point" for flipping a vehicle over the cables.

Alexander represented the family of a woman killed in a wreck in which a car was launched into the air after hitting the cable barrier along I-80 and landing in the opposite lane of traffic.

They settled out of court, Alexander said, and the cable, which Caltrans had been dismantling since 2001, was removed from I-80 by 2005.

"I was told that was the last section of old cable barriers in the United States," Alexander said.

Rochelle Jenkins, Caltrans spokeswoman for District 3, which stretches from Sacramento to the Nevada border, said the barriers being installed in the north state are significantly better than their predecessors.