Credit: Photo: Missouri DOT

Median guard cable can prevent even big trucks from crossing into oncoming traffic. Photo: Missouri DOT

Median guard cable installed on the state's busiest highways is credited with slashing crossover fatalities from 55 in 2006 to just two last year.

“We expected the cables to improve safety numbers, but seeing these results was an unexpected thrill,” says Missouri DOT Director Pete Rahn. “In just the first year after this safety improvement, 53 more people are safe at home with their families.”

The department installed 500 miles of the product from 2004 to 2006 where congested, high-speed traffic caused vehicles to cross medians and collide head-on with vehicles going in the other direction. Made of three strands of steel cable and generally used where medians are less than 60 feet wide, the median “catches” and stops vehicles from straying into oncoming traffic.

The department plans to add two more stretches of the cable this year: 45 miles on Interstate 55 from north of Cape Girardeau to Sikeston; and 55 miles on Route 67 south of St. Louis, from Festus to Fredericktown.