A few years ago the West Virginia Division of Highways District Four installed cable barriers in the median of the interstate after hearing about other states trying them out.
"Some of the western states used cable guard rails for quite some time, and they were very successful with their fatalities falling a great deal," said Greg Phillips, District Four Manager.
After hearing that the barriers could be safer than traditional guard rails, the DOH installed them where needed.
"Any place that you have a location where the speed is 65 or 70 miles an hour and the speeds are greater that can be utilized. When you visit other areas of West Virginia the interstate is some distance apart so you don't need the cable guard rail. You'll run into a situation where there's a ravine or trees or something that separates the traffic so it's not needed there," Phillips said.
Phillips said the cable barriers are much different than traditional guard rails.
"The solid guard rail is good in the sense that it will prevent you from going over a hill or hitting trees and things of that nature but it will also bounce you back into traffic, and it's a lot more unforgiving than the cable barrier," explained Phillips.
Phillips said after installing the cable barriers there were a lot of benefits noted, including a lower number of fatal accidents.
"I've had calls from an attorney. She didn't hit the guard rail, but there was another person in the northbound lane and she was going southbound and they came straight at her, and the cable barrier stopped them from hitting her head on. I would say it saved both their lives," Phillips said.
Phillips said North Carolina uses similar cable barriers and they have saved 25 to 30 lives each year.
Phillips also said the cable barriers are cheaper than traditional guard rails.