FOX19 Investigates: Effectiveness of cable median barriers - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

FOX19 Investigates: Effectiveness of cable median barriers

86-car Pileup on I-275 at Colerain Ave on Monday 86-car Pileup on I-275 at Colerain Ave on Monday
(FOX19) -

The death of 12-year-old Sammy Reagan after Monday's pileup on I-275 has raised a lot of questions about highway cable median barriers.

On Tuesday, FOX19 investigated how safe they really are, and why the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) chooses to install them on Ohio roadways. 

"We have not seen anything like this in Hamilton County before, and I pray to God that we never see it again," said Hamilton County Sheriff, Jim Neil. 

While the devastation on I-275 was immense, involving at least 86 vehicles, ODOT stands firm behind the barriers' record for avoiding tragedy. Officials argue it could have been worse if the wire barrier was not in place. 

"As far as I'm concerned, those cables did their job to keep traffic from crossing that median," said Neil. 

ODOT District 8 Spokesperson, Sharon Smigelski agreed, "It was never broken, the tension held, and it did stop the truck from crossing the median."

A study conducted by ODOT found 15% of cable barrier crashes resulted in injuries, but that number nearly doubled to 28% for guardrails, and hit 35% for concrete barriers.

"Deadly cross median crashes have been nearly eliminated with the result of using these types of barriers," revealed Smigelski.

The wires help catch vehicles and keep them from crossing into oncoming traffic or bouncing back in into the highway. They're designed to withstand a lot of energy.

Officials said Sammy Reagan was killed because she was standing to close to the cable median when it was impacted.


"The cable absorbed the energy but when it came back to its state... The movement of the cable, she was struck by the cable," said Neil.

Contrary to some initial reports, Smigelski said the cable never snapped, and in fact, did what it was designed to do.

In addition, the cable barriers are also popular because they're cost effective. Each mile costs ODOT $95,000, which is 4x cheaper than concrete barriers. 

The cable barrier were first approved for Ohio in 2003. Since then, over 300 miles of the wire medians have been installed across the state.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

  • FOX19 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Ireland referendum could lift strict ban on abortion

    Ireland referendum could lift strict ban on abortion

    Friday, May 25 2018 2:32 AM EDT2018-05-25 06:32:46 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 6:13 PM EDT2018-05-25 22:13:17 GMT
    (Clodagh Kilcoyne/PA via AP). Presiding officer Carmel McBride looks on as a woman casts her vote in the referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution, on Thursday May 24, 2018, a day early for the people that live off the coast of Donegal ...(Clodagh Kilcoyne/PA via AP). Presiding officer Carmel McBride looks on as a woman casts her vote in the referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution, on Thursday May 24, 2018, a day early for the people that live off the coast of Donegal ...

    Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country's strict ban on most abortions.

    Full Story >

    Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country's strict ban on most abortions.

    Full Story >
  • Authorities: Suspected restaurant gunman had gun license

    Authorities: Suspected restaurant gunman had gun license

    Friday, May 25 2018 1:02 AM EDT2018-05-25 05:02:34 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 6:09 PM EDT2018-05-25 22:09:23 GMT
    (Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP). Jennifer Stong hugs Tasha Hunt outside the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Stong was inside the restaurant when the shooting occurred.(Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman via AP). Jennifer Stong hugs Tasha Hunt outside the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Stong was inside the restaurant when the shooting occurred.

    Police: Man armed with pistol shot and wounded two customers at Oklahoma City restaurant before being shot dead by handgun-carrying civilian in parking lot.

    Full Story >

    Police: Man armed with pistol shot and wounded two customers at Oklahoma City restaurant before being shot dead by handgun-carrying civilian in parking lot.

    Full Story >
  • Texas school shooting victim family sues attacker's parents

    Texas school shooting victim family sues attacker's parents

    Friday, May 25 2018 12:42 AM EDT2018-05-25 04:42:37 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 6:09 PM EDT2018-05-25 22:09:01 GMT
    (AP Photo/Eric Gay). Grace Johnson, a student at Santa Fe High School in Texas, center, speaks during a roundtable discussion in Austin, Texas, Thursday, May 24, 2018, hosted by Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott to address safety and security at Texas schools in...(AP Photo/Eric Gay). Grace Johnson, a student at Santa Fe High School in Texas, center, speaks during a roundtable discussion in Austin, Texas, Thursday, May 24, 2018, hosted by Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott to address safety and security at Texas schools in...
    Survivors of last week's shooting at a high school near Houston told gripping stories as they pleaded with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for more armed security to keep campuses safe.Full Story >
    Survivors of last week's shooting at a high school near Houston told gripping stories as they pleaded with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for more armed security to keep campuses safe.Full Story >
Powered by Frankly