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FHWA Review of ET-Plus

Crash Test Plan for the ET-Plus Guardrail End Terminal – FAQ

Q) What device will be crash tested?

A) The standard production ET-Plus guardrail system using the current production 4-inch guide channel impact head.

Q) What devices will be used?

A) FHWA is working with Trinity and State Departments of Transportation to arrange to have devices tested that have already been sold into the market and are currently part of a State DOT's inventory.

Q) What crash test criteria will be used?

A) The crash tests will be conducted using the National Highway Cooperative Research Program (NCHRP) – 350 criteria, test level 3. These are the criteria applicable to this device as they are the criteria to which the device was tested to receive its eligibility letter in 2005. Devices crash tested to NCHRP 350 prior to 1/1/11 can still be used. All crash testing on or after 1/1/11 must be done according to MASH criteria.

Q) Where will the crash testing take place?

A) The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, TX. SwRI is an accredited crash test facility.

Q) Has the Southwest Research Institute been involved in any previous testing of the ET-Plus or have a financial interest in the ET-Plus with 4-inch guide channel impact head?

A) No, SwRI has not performed previous testing on this product and does not have a financial interest in this product.

Q) When will the crash testing take place?

A) From mid November 2014 to mid January 2015.

Q) Why does it take two months?

A) Eight crash tests will take place. Four tests at a guardrail height of 27.75" followed by four tests at a guardrail height of 31". These tests are complex; they involve the installation of hundreds of feet of guardrail, acquisition and instrumentation of the test vehicles, set-up of the vehicles and cameras, and alignment of the test track.

Q) Why only four tests per height, isn't the full range of NCHRP 350 tests larger?

A) These are the tests relevant to the performance of the end terminal. The other tests are for the longitudinal integrity of the guardrail downstream of the head. The longitudinal integrity of the guardrail is not in question.

Q) Why are there two different heights?

A) The 31" height replicates the height of the guardrail from the 2005 tests. The 27.75" height satisfies the test height the Virginia Department of Transportation required of Trinity.

Q) When will results be available?

A) FHWA expects to receive, review and make the crash test results public once testing is complete and data reviewed. We anticipate completion and release of the results in January or February 2015.

Q) Will FHWA observe the crash tests?

A) Yes, FHWA representatives will observe the crash tests. In addition, FHWA will invite representatives from AASHTO and State DOTs, and independent experts.

Q) Will media be able to view the testing as it happens?

A) The testing facility and Trinity must determine whether media will be permitted to view the testing as it happens. FHWA encouraged Trinity to be transparent.

Page posted on November 12, 2014.
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