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A Detailed Look at the Uses of Concrete Barriers

There are many types of barrier systems designed with safety, security and stability in mind – but when long term deployment or optimised traffic safety is required, concrete barriers offer one of the most effective solutions for creating immovable barriers which can be used in many situations and locations to prevent access, secure property and land or delineate road space.

Concrete barriers are also proving themselves to offer maximum protection for drivers and road workers, with research commissioned by the government’s Highways Agency identifying that median concrete barriers can be extremely effective in containing vehicles. In a case study of the median barriers of the M25, one of the UK’s most famous motorways, no fatalities have occurred following vehicle impact with any of the 12.7% concrete barriers deployed along its considerable mileage.

Precast designs for bespoke barrier options


Concrete barriers are precast, allowing convenience in installation and a long, reusable lifespan. SafeSite Facilities offer a vast selection of highly robust precast concrete barriers, with the aim of providing the right option for all possible sites and situations:

  • 1.5 m, 2.5 m and 3m concrete barriers – these ram-resistant barriers are available in a range of lengths which allow fully bespoke barrier runs to be formed. The shorter 1.5 m barriers offer effective barrier security across smaller areas or as supporting weights for scaffolding and marquees, whilst the longer 2.5 and 3 m lengths are ideal, cost-effective options for installing across gateway access points or runs of fencing, to prevent access by ramming or vandalism.
  • Concrete Jersey Barriers – Jersey barriers offer an extra wide base which increases the considerable stability already offered by standard concrete barriers. This design specifically allows these barriers to redirect a crash by using the vehicle’s momentum to absorb the force of impact and slide the vehicle along the barrier, rather than allowing it to roll or flip over and breach the barrier. The pre-cast design incorporates forklift compatible grooves to allow for fast installation and deployment, ideal when sturdy systems are needed quickly.
  • Concrete Legato blocks / brick – with an innovative interlocking design and lifting anchors cast into the blocks, legato blocks are available in a whole range of sizes and weights. Complete barrier systems created by legato blocks offer the same resilience and longevity as in-situ concrete, with the additional benefit of being fully compatible with hoarding and mesh panels.
  • Temporary Vertical Concrete Barriers (TVCB) – vertical barriers offer significant support for roadside safety and risk management with a universal design which offers maximum effectiveness to both sides once deployed. The design also incorporates a visible, pre-cast arrow so that the barriers can also be used to direct, as well as protect, road users.

No barrier to range of use

2.5m Concrete Barriers

From this excellent range of concrete barrier types comes virtually limitless possibilities for use and deployment across a variety of residential, commercial and industrial purposes. Such use of concrete barriers generally includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Blocking access – whether this is to a property, commercial premises or plot of land, the weight of a concrete barrier renders it almost impossible to breach. This makes concrete systems the optimum choice for long-term barriers to entry and access points in order to:
    • Prevent trespass and intrusion.
    • Reducing risk of harm from attacks which use vehicles, such as ram-raiding.
    • Optimise safety from additional hazards, for example by keeping public and vehicles at a safe distance from debris or specific hazards, such as dangerous structures, landslides or deep water.
      Prevent issues such as fly-tipping as access cannot be gained to do so.
  • Blocking view – following accidents or during works, sometimes the sight of a site can be a significant distraction to nearby road users and communities, whilst it may also be necessary to screen works for other privacy or protection reasons. As concrete barriers are both solid and fully interlocking, they create perimeters and boundaries which are not just impenetrable to intrusion by trespass, they also form a physical barrier against intrusive snooping, spying and privacy invasion.
  • Guiding traffic – whilst other types of barrier systems can also be used for guiding traffic the advantage of concrete systems, particularly TVCBs or Jersey barriers, is that their significant weight and stability means they are not easily dislodged by vibration from transport systems – including trains, and traffic – including HGVs, even if accidentally bumped by traffic. For long term works particularly, concrete barriers offer dependable deployment.
  • Bay boundaries – as well as guiding traffic, Jersey and Legato concrete barriers can also be used to effectively create and delineate parking and storage bays.
  • Defences– the increased stability of concrete barriers such as Jersey barriers, and the highly interlocking qualities of Legato systems mean that these types of concrete barriers can also be used defensively, for example to support works by retaining earth. These barriers may also be deployed as part of flood defences, as the fully interlocking design means that no additional mortar, which would be vulnerable to wear in wet conditions, is required to install the defence.

Additional benefits

All types of concrete barrier available from SafeSite can be fully customised to allow for branding and additional safety visibility, for instance by painting and adding reflectors and high-vis notices. Concrete barriers may also be customised to blend in with their surroundings, for example when used in residential or commercial situations when one side is being used for safety and security, but the other side becomes part of the long-term view of residents, staff or public.

Finally, with their high durability comes a long life span, something which can make concrete barriers a cost-effective option for long term use. Vertical concrete barriers are not only fully compliant with the Highways Agency and Safety Executive’s specified standards by meeting the requirements of IRRRS and the BSEN1317:1998 part 1 & 2, they have also been demonstrated in the government’s Highways Agency commissioned research study to have the lowest whole life costs of many types of median barrier.

All types of concrete barrier are available for hire or purchase from SafeSite Facilities, with free delivery across the UK. If you’d like specific guidance about the right type of concrete barrier for your location or project, please contact us for free advice and quotation.

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