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Do the crash barrels freeze in cold weather?

Traffic roundabouts turning more common
Posted at 5:52 AM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 07:52:32-05

Recently a cold-weather colleague of mine was asked if the crash attenuation barrels that are seen protecting roadway structures like bridge piers and overhead mast light poles from being destroyed, freeze during colder temperatures.

The answer? No.

The barrels are either filled with water mixed with magnesium chloride or contain a mix of sand and salt. Depending on which mix that's used, both magnesium chloride and salt help keep water in liquid state. In the unfortunate event that a vehicle hits a barrel, it will not be hitting a solid block of ice or a frozen block of sand.

Statewide, Arizona's recipe of choice is the sand/salt mixture.

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