New Aesthetic Type T-1F Bridge Rail from the Texas Department of Transportation: Design and Test Level 3 Crash Testing

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail


Texas, Steel, Repairing, Repair, NCHRP Report 350, Impact tests, Fabrication, Esthetics, Design, Crashworthiness, Crash tests, Construction, Collision tests, Bridge rails, Bridge railings, Aluminum, Aluminium, Aesthetics


Aesthetic bridge railings that are Test Level 3 (TL-3) crashworthy have great appeal. As part of the project described here, the author worked closely with other designers from the Texas Department of Transportation to design, develop, and crash test an aesthetic and crashworthy bridge rail that meets NCHRP Report 350 TL-3 requirements. The aesthetic features of this bridge rail are easy to construct and repair. The bridge rail elements are mechanically attached to the posts and are not welded, to make the railing easier to construct and repair. The posts are fabricated from steel plate and are attractive and easy to construct. The rail elements, fabricated from high-strength aluminum, are attached to the steel posts after those are installed. The rail elements can be adjusted once in place and are also standardized highway barrier hardware. As a result of some simple and cost-effective curb reinforcement details developed as part of this project, damage to the concrete curb and deck was minimal from the crash testing. In addition, from previous testing, a TL-3 crashworthy transition had already been tested and approved for this new aesthetic bridge rail design. This bridge rail design is currently being implemented on new construction in Texas. This paper presents an overall review of the design of the aesthetic bridge rail, details of the design, aspects of construction, and results from the crash testing of the T-1F bridge rail.