Cable barriers preventing crossover crashes

Wednesday, August 13th 2008, 5:59 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Since the Oklahoma Department of Transportation started aggressively putting up the barriers last year, there have been no fatal crossover crashes in areas with barriers.

This is rewarding news for one mother who understands the need for the barriers.

"When it went up, it was just like a shout of victory inside of me, personally," said Dawn Layne.

The victory was the cable barriers along I-35, put up in the spot where Layne's daughter Alicia died.

"Knowing that it's going to prevent some other mother or father or family from having to experience the tragedy of losing someone, it's very exciting," Layne said.

Layne said a trucker forced her daughter's car off the road and it went across the center median and into oncoming traffic. There were no cable barriers up when the accident happened.

Layne thinks they would have made a dramatic difference.

"In my heart, I believe she would still be alive today but you know there's always the question, what if," Layne said.

According to ODOT, in the first six months of 2008, there have been six crossover fatalities. In previous years, there were as many as 31 over a six month period.

None of those crossover fatalities occurred in areas with cable barriers.

"The installation of cable barriers has probably been one of the most, if not the most, cost effective safety improvement we've made at ODOT in some time," ODOT Chief Engineer John Fuller said.

ODOT is installing and finishing 230 miles of cable barriers. They are located in the most accident prone locations.

The barriers cost up to $150,000 a mile. This is an expense Layne said is well worth it.

"When you're standing in the shoes that I've been in, you can't put a price tag on someone's life," said Layne.