Suspended use of guardrail end terminals in Washington

By Barbara LaBoe

You may have heard in news reports, on Oct. 20, a U.S. District Court in Texas found Trinity Industries, the company that manufactures the ET-Plus guardrail end terminal, failed to inform the Federal Highway Administration of design changes after initial approval of the system. As a proactive measure, we’ve halted the use of Trinity Industries’ ET-Plus guardrail end terminals in the state until concerns about their safety are resolved.

Safety remains our number one priority. To date, we are unaware of any problems with the Trinity end terminal in Washington, but we’re conducting a statewide review to see if they’ve performed any differently than others we use. We expect to have the review completed in three to four months.

In addition, we are working with FHWA and others to gather more information. Several other states have instituted similar moratoriums or bans pending further review and testing.

Federal highway officials asked Trinity to conduct more safety tests. A testing plan is due by the end of October and tests will be conducted as soon as possible. Trinity also has stopped shipment of its end terminals until the new safety tests are completed.

We do not have a specific database listing each end terminal in the state by manufacturer, but we are creating one as part of the statewide safety review. The end terminals we use are made by many different companies and often are installed by private firms as part of construction contracts. The manufacturer data exists, but it will take us some time to filter and organize into one database.
We’re continuing to monitor the situation and may take additional action as more information becomes available.