- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FHWA Review of ET-Plus
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) developed the ET-Plus in 2000 and entered into a licensing agreement with Trinity for its manufacture and sale. In 2005, TTI submitted crash test results for the ET-Plus to FHWA for tests conducted at a guardrail height of 31 inches. (FHWA had previously determined that the ET-Plus end terminal system met the applicable test criteria at a guardrail height of 27 3/4 inches.) We reviewed this information, determined that the device met the relevant crash test criteria, and issued Trinity an eligibility letter for the 31-inch height ET-Plus.
The FHWA did not hear any concerns about the ET-Plus until 2012, when the owner of a competitor to Trinity contacted FHWA claiming that Trinity had changed the ET-Plus by reducing one component of the guardrail system (the guide channel) from 5 inches to 4 inches. After hearing similar claims from the competitor, a number of States contacted FHWA questioning the width of the guide channel. In response, FHWA contacted Trinity and TTI to request information about this issue. After reviewing a variety of information, including additional 2010 crash test reports, we concluded that the ET-Plus tested in 2005 and for which FHWA had issued its eligibility letter, was in fact the version with a 4-inch wide guide channel.
Over the course of 2012 and 2013, a small number of States contacted FHWA regarding photos of crashes involving the ET-Plus on the competitor's website. In response, in 2014 and 2015 FHWA, in partnership with AASHTO, undertook a comprehensive effort to collect and analyze this data about the 4-inch ET-Plus. This effort included additional crash testing of the device, extensive field measurements, and an expert assessment of the performance and vulnerabilities of all W-beam end terminals, including the ET-Plus. This results of this work are reflected in other pages on this website. Based on this comprehensive effort, FHWA has reaffirmed that the ET-Plus meets the appropriate NCHRP criteria and has been and continues to be eligible for Federal-aid reimbursement, until December 31, 2017, when all new installations of W-beam end terminals must comply with the criteria in the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware as outlined in the AASHTO/FHWA Joint Implementation Agreement for Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) (January 7, 2016).
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