Jersey Barrier Improvements

A barrier cap permanently connected atop an existing Jersey barrier for raising the vertical height of said existing Jersey barrier at least about ten inches. The cap comprises: a substantially flat base for resting at least partially on said existing Jersey barrier; a pair of opposed sidewalls extending upwardly from its flat base; a top surface extending between the opposed sidewalls; and means for permanently connecting the barrier cap to the existing Jersey barrier. Preferred mounting means include: a plurality of elongated bolts extending from the top surface of the concrete adapter into the top surface of the Jersey barrier; or a plurality of vertically extending slats for bolting to an upper sidewall of the Jersey barrier.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a perfection of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/822,537, filed May 13, 2013, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to the field of highway barriers. Particularly, it relates to center median barriers especially those made from prefabricated concrete. Such devices are commonly known as “Jersey barriers”.

A Jersey barrier (or sometimes called Jersey wall) is a modular divider used to separate lanes of traffic, either vehicles from one another, or vehicles from pedestrians and/or cyclists. The shape of such barriers was designed to minimize damage to a car, truck or other vehicle that makes incidental contact with it while preventing lane crossovers and avoiding head-on collisions. Jersey barriers are also used to reroute vehicular traffic and/or protect pedestrians during road construction. More recently, they have served as temporary or semi-permanent protection against land born attacks from suicide car bombers.

According to Wikipedia, the Jersey barrier was developed at the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1950's but introduced in its most current form in 1959. Per the auspices of the New Jersey State Highway Department, such barriers were meant to divide multiple lanes of a highway, particularly the flow of traffic in a first direction, from the opposite flow of traffic in the other (oncoming) direction. A typical Jersey barrier stands 32 inches (81 cm) tall and is made of steel-reinforced poured concrete. Some barriers are purposefully constructed with embedded steel protruding from each end. Those protrusions allow adjoining barriers to be linked to one another as part of a more permanent emplacement.

The widespread use of such barriers on roads has led to wider applications including: use as a generic, portable barrier during construction projects and/or for temporary traffic re-routing as part of a stopgap carpool or “rush hour” bridge/highway lane reversal.

The original Jersey barrier profile was intended to minimize vehicular damage through incidental contact. In “shallow” angle hits, car fender/sheet metal damage should be reduced as the vehicle's tires are meant to ride up the lower sloped faces of such barriers before falling back onto the lane/road surface. Such barriers should minimize the chances of a head-on crash by gradually lifting the vehicle that contacts same and pivoting it away from oncoming traffic in the opposite direction.

In 1968, the Ontario, Canada Department of Highways introduced a taller variation of barrier standing 42 inches (107 cm), or about 10 inches (25 cm) higher than the common U.S. barrier size. Thereafter, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority developed and tested a similar, more heavily reinforced design. It has been credited with effectively containing and redirecting larger vehicles, including semi-trailer (tractor-trailer) trucks. While the benefits of a taller highway barrier may be known, there has not been a cost-effective impermeable means for modifying existing (shorter) barriers to make them “safer” let alone in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

2. Relevant Art

One of the first known barrier improvements was patented by Camomilla et al. in U.S. Pat. No. 6,840,706. It included a double dampening effect that used ductile anchor components, including rigidly connected steel plates at the barrier base.

A different construction of barrier style was the subject of Ceccarelli U.S. Pat. No. 7,226,237. It employed a plurality of tubular modules extending upwardly from a ground connect.

Yet another set of interconnecting modular elements was the subject of Serafin U.S. Pat. No. 8,172,204.

There have also been proposals for making a continuous screen barrier using interconnecting panels. See, Borgnini U.S. Pat. No. 5,149,061. Continuous uprights on Jersey barrier was the focus of European Patent Application Serial No. 1,619,311. And in McNally et al., U.S. Published Application No. 20050135878, Jersey barriers were fitted with temporary, “bolt on” risers. Lastly, in White et al. U.S. Pat. No. 8,001,880, it was proposed to make more attack resistant (especially bulletproof) protectors using add-ons to Jersey style barrier frame.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A primary object of this invention is to provide an improved cap or add-on for raising the protectable height/protection range of an existing (i.e. previously installed) roadway Jersey barrier. It is critical that any such “adapter” be cost effective, quick to install, not labor intensive and yet have greater structural significance that known temporarily erected panels or those string of continuous vertical slats sometimes situated atop super highway/turnpike dividers for reducing opposing traffic headlight glare.

The heavy, permanent cap toppers of this invention are preferably made from concrete but with proper weighting could be made from fiberglass, composites, rubber and/or recycled plastic materials in the alternative. Regardless of material, they will surely provide the advantages of the integrally formed, higher barriers mentioned above, such as significant opposing headlight glare reduction. In addition, it is less likely that a whole vehicle or major parts of same (such as a tire, side mirror, etc.) will rise up and fully cross over these extra-high, purposefully raised center barriers for then crossing over and into unsuspecting traffic traveling the other way on the opposite side of such barriers. Upon impacting such barrier extensions, the cars and/or their major components will more likely stay on the same side of traffic flow where later following vehicles may have a greater chance of swerving to avoid impact.

These barrier add-on's are also structurally more sound/substantial than the flat panel and/or flimsy multi-slat barrier additions being used in some locations. The latter known varieties can also be more prone to “sailing” because of their vulnerability to high winds and greater possibility of individual slat separations from the top of existing highway barriers.

This invention also provides means for communities/municipalities to impart some degree of creative “flair” to the central barriers on those sections of highways/thruways extending through their respective communities. It enables the addition of particular raised cap configurations to their existing Jersey barriers, said cap additions having special patterns and/or colors or possibly distinctive reflector means added in spaced distances.

SUMMARY OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features, objectives and advantages of this invention will become clearer with the following detailed description made with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of Jersey barrier cap according to this invention;

FIG. 2 is a front plan view of the cap from FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along lines A-A of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the same first embodiment as in FIGS. 1-3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of barrier addition;

FIG. 6 is a front plan view of the barrier addition from FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a left side plan view of the barrier addition from FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the barrier addition from FIGS. 5-7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternate second embodiment showing different attachment means;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of barrier cap according to this invention; and

FIG. 11 is a perspective view showing a plurality of the FIG. 10 type caps installed over several existing Jersey highway barriers aligned in series.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Jersey barriers have become an acceptable method for preventing traffic from penetrating the barrier and crossing the highway median into oncoming traffic where such barriers are installed. Each individual barrier has a widened base, sides with two sloping sections, and a flattened top surface. Usually made from concrete, the Jersey barrier is heavy and durable, yet possesses the proper shape and mass to deflect most small vehicles back into the lane from whence they came. They require little or no periodic maintenance. And even in today's shorter heights, standard barriers provide some security by deterring pedestrian traffic from wanting to straddle or otherwise cross over a whole series of such dividers.

Known Jersey barriers are relatively easy to move or install. Common barrier designs include two rectangular notches at the bottom (through the short axis). Those notches allow individual barriers to be raised by a forklift or pronged front-end loader. Barriers intended for short-term placement, especially in military and security uses, might include one or more steel rebar loops at or near their top surface for rapid hook-and-cable lifting.

Lately, there have been Jersey barrier additions designed to reduce, minimize or eliminate the blinding effects of opposing traffic headlights. One solution was to provide multiple slat-like extensions, each individually affixed, to the top surface of each Jersey barrier so that the lights of oncoming traffic are not readily visible. Such “blinders” actually allow opposing traffic to be seen in the distance AND when immediately adjacent the car opposite the barrier from the nearly 90 degree angle for each slat/blind. That has to be at or near perpendicular since it must block the headlight penetration from BOTH sides of the highway divider. A solid sheet might accomplish the same result, but it would be more difficult to attach, maintain AND render itself more vulnerable to damage as elongated plastic sheet separators would have a greater tendency to sail and dislodge in stronger wind gusts.

With the nominal physical divide from one or more plastic extensions, there is little to no additional protection afforded by a series of angled slats. Should a heavier vehicle, trailer, bus or the like plop over and onto such extensions in an accident, they will crack and/or crumble.

This invention seeks to modify the standard Jersey barrier by providing a quick and easy installation of a supplemental physical (permanently installed) vertical addition that will increase the difficulty (i.e. eliminate the likelihood) of pedestrians scaling, straddling and/or climbing over same. The invention also affords protection against the intimidating headlights of opposing traffic . . . regardless of angling. And a raised barrier via the extension varieties depicted herein will keep break off components, if not whole vehicles, from crossing over and “surprising” traffic flowing past in the opposite direction. It does so with no fear of “sailing” or otherwise blowing away. These caps are sufficiently weighty to stay onto the underlying barrier bottoms over which they will be installed and/or permanently mounted.

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 4, there is shown a first embodiment of barrier cap/adapter, generally 10, in various views. Particularly, cap 10 comprises a flat base 12, from which upwardly extends a pair of opposed sidewalls 14 and 16, the latter two tapering upwardly and inwardly to a top surface 18. The essence of this invention is to provide a permanent adapter that raises the vertical (useful) height of an existing Jersey highway barrier (JB), a representative example of which is also seen in FIG. 1. Particularly, that standard sized/shaped barrier JB includes a flat base J12, beveled sidewalls J14 and J16 with its top surface J18 extending therebetween.

In the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-4, there is a supplemental support system that not only requires the cap's flat base 12 to rest atop Jersey top surface J18 but to further have side supporting, downward leg extensions, 24 and 26 respectively, for straddling the existing Jersey barrier's body construction and resting alongside (or “hugging”) the upper sidewalls J14 and J16 to that existing barrier. With the foregoing leg extensions, this variety of cap according to the invention exhibits more of a bullet, tooth, or most like, an arrowhead-shape in cross-section. See particularly, FIGS. 1 and 3.

For the preferred mounting means of this first embodiment, there are a plurality of holes H extending from the top surface 18 and downwardly towards the top surface J18 of the existing barrier. These holes H may be pre-formed into the respective caps during initial manufacture, or drilled into and through the bodies of same, after the fact. Each hole H is intended to have a bolt B positioned therein and downwardly into top surface J18 for permanently affixing cap 10 to Jersey Barrier JB.

FIGS. 5 through 8 show a second variation/embodiment of cap 110, also having its own base 112, sidewalls 114, 116 and top surface 118. Since this variation has no downward extensions to its opposed sidewalls, the overall configuration is more trapezoidal in cross-section as best seen in FIGS. 5 and 7. With no additional side support, the preferred permanent connection means for THIS variation includes a plurality of vertically-extending slats 120, each slat having a plurality of holes H through which bolts B are installed for affixing cap 110 to its own Jersey Barrier JB.

The third variation of cap 210 in FIG. 9 shows a larger/wider configuration of slat 220 with a larger bolt configuration B, but only one top bolt and one bottom bolt permanently affixing cap 210 to Jersey Barrier JB.

The sidewalls to these cap/adapters can be specially customized to provide aesthetics and distinctiveness for a given town's highway separator system. The “fancy” sidewalls to the cap/adapter 310 of FIG. 10, for instance, includes a plurality of raised surfaces 330, spaced apart from one another. For greater distinctiveness, these raised surfaces can be made from multiple colors of concrete materials. Alternately, several of these raised surfaces can be provided with reflective tape or paint R. In the last described variation, FIG. 11, the raised surfaces of cap/adapter 410 are replaced with spaced recesses 430.

The accompanying FIGURES depict two representative mounting types, drilled and/or staked from above as per FIGS. 1-4 or attached through a plurality of commonly mounted connector/adapters (per FIGS. 5-8). In some instances, these connectors may be purposefully covered or otherwise hidden from view (and from the temptation of possible tampering by vandals). See, especially FIG. 9.

Ultimately, the present invention will enable certain customizations of barrier “art” so that all barrier tops for a given community may be fitted with common decorative (in color, texture and/or pattern) inserts or raised regions. See, for example, the multiple square sequencing of FIGS. 10 and 11. In place of, OR in addition to such patterns, it is possible to situate headlight reflectors (in strips, brackets or the like) to the common areas of each pattern, or somewhat raised between patterns, for providing the Jersey barrier caps of this invention the added benefit of nighttime reflectivity.

Each barrier cap may be further provided with suitable interconnecting means for supplementing the connection(s) made between underlying, adjacent Jersey barrier bottoms. Like the directional headlight reflectors described above, these interconnects are not shown/seen in any of the accompanying drawings, however.

No doubt, still other modifications, improvements and/or acceptable variations to the barrier caps described in this specification will arise. They should all be covered by the appended utility claims.

Claims

1. A barrier cap permanently connected atop an existing Jersey barrier for raising the vertical height of said existing Jersey barrier at least about ten inches, said barrier cap comprising:

a substantially flat base for resting at least partially on a top surface of said existing Jersey barrier;
a pair of opposed sidewalls extending upwardly from the flat base;
a top surface extending between the opposed sidewalls; and
means for permanently connecting the barrier cap to the existing Jersey barrier.

2. The barrier cap of claim 1 wherein the opposed sidewalls bevel towards each other from bottom to top.

3. The barrier cap of claim 1, which further includes a downward projecting extension for each sidewall, said downward projection designed to rest along an upper sidewall of the existing Jersey barrier.

4. The barrier cap of claim 3, which has an arrowhead-like cross-sectional shape.

5. The barrier cap of claim 2, which has a trapezoidal cross-sectional shape.

6. The barrier cap of claim 1 wherein said permanent connectors to the existing Jersey barrier are substantially hidden from view.

7. The barrier cap of claim 6 wherein said permanent connectors include a plurality of elongated bolts extending from the top surface of the barrier cap into the top surface of the existing Jersey barrier.

8. The barrier cap of claim 1 wherein said permanent connectors include a plurality of vertically extending slats for bolting to an upper sidewall of the existing Jersey barrier.

9. The barrier cap of claim 1 wherein each sidewall includes a raised or recessed pattern.

10. The barrier cap of claim 9, wherein the raised or recessed pattern is provided in more than one color.

11. The barrier cap of claim 1, which further includes a plurality of reflector elements.

12. The barrier cap of claim 1, which is made from concrete.

13. The barrier cap of claim 1, which raises the vertical height of the existing Jersey barrier by about 12 to 15 inches.

14. A concrete adapter for extending the top surface of a Jersey barrier up to about 15 inches, said concrete adapter comprising:

a flat base component for resting on the top surface of said Jersey barrier;
a pair of opposed sidewalls extending upwardly from the flat base;
a top surface extending between the opposed sidewalls; and
means for permanently affixing the concrete adapter to said Jersey barrier.

15. The concrete adapter of claim 14 wherein the opposed sidewalls bevel towards each other from bottom to top.

16. The concrete adapter of claim 14, which has a trapezoidal cross-sectional shape.

17. The concrete adapter of claim 14 wherein said permanent affixing means is selected from the group consisting of:

a plurality of elongated bolts extending from the top surface of the concrete adapter into the top surface of the Jersey barrier; and
a plurality of vertically extending slats for bolting to an upper sidewall of the Jersey barrier.

18. The concrete adapter of claim 14 wherein each sidewall includes a raised or recessed pattern.

19. The concrete adapter of claim 18, wherein the raised or recessed pattern is provided in more than one color.

20. The concrete adapter of claim 14, which further includes a plurality of reflector elements.

Patent History

Publication number: 20140334875
Type: Application
Filed: May 13, 2014
Publication Date: Nov 13, 2014
Inventor: Scott A. Hoffman (Pottstown, PA)
Application Number: 14/276,865

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Traffic Steering Device Or Barrier (404/6)
International Classification: E01F 13/00 (20060101);