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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-04-015
Details
Synopsis: On April 4, 2002, about 8:19 a.m., a 15-passenger Ford E-350 van, driven by a 27-year-old driver and transporting six children to school, was southbound in the left lane of Interstate 240 in Memphis, Tennessee. The van was owned and operated by Tippy Toes Learning Academy, a private child care center. A witness driving behind the van stated that the vehicle was traveling about 65 mph when it drifted from the left lane, across two other lanes, and off the right side of the roadway. She said that she did not see any brake lights. The van then overrode the guardrail and continued to travel along the dirt and grass embankment until the front of the van collided with the back of the guardrail and a light pole. The rear of the van rotated counterclockwise and the front and right side of the van struck the bridge abutment at the Person Avenue overpass before coming to rest. The driver was ejected through the windshield and sustained fatal injuries. Four of the children sustained fatal injuries, and two were seriously injured.
Recommendation: TO THE STATE AND DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEPARTMENTS OF TRANSPORTATION: Identify guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminate any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Memphis, TN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: hwy02MH015
Accident Reports: 15-Passenger Child Care Van Run-Off-Road Accident
Report #: HAR-04-02
Accident Date: 4/4/2002
Issue Date: 4/21/2004
Date Closed: 7/29/2013
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Commonwealth of Kentucky, Transportation Cabinet (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Highway Department (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
District of Columbia, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Alabama, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Alaska, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Arizona, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of Arkansas, Highway and Transportation Department (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of California, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Colorado, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Delaware, Department of Transportation (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
State of Florida, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Georgia, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Idaho, Department of Transportation (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
State of Illinois, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Indiana, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Iowa, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of Kansas, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of Louisiana, Department of Transportation and Development (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
State of Maine, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Maryland, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Michigan, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of Minnesota, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Mississippi, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Missouri, Department of Transportation (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
State of Montana, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Nebraska, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of Nevada, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of New Hampshire, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of New Jersey, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of New Mexico, Department of Transportation (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
State of New York, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of North Carolina, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of North Dakota, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Ohio, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Oklahoma, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Oregon, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Rhode Island, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of South Carolina, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of South Dakota, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Texas, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Utah, Department of Transportation (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of Vermont, Transportation Agency (Closed - Reconsidered)
State of Washington, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of West Virginia, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Wisconsin, Department of Transportation (Closed - Acceptable Action)
State of Wyoming, Department of Transportation (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Vermont, Transportation Agency
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to MC 2070301, Vermont has not implemented a formal inspection program to identify anchored-in-backslope terminals which create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. This topic was raised in an NHI Roadside Design course held in 2002, and at that time, none of the engineers and technicians present could identify any situations in Vermont that have this hazard. Vermont does review the design of all guard-rail end terminals that are within major reconstruction projects.

From: State of Vermont, Transportation Agency
To: NTSB
Date: 6/28/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/28/2007 1:09:21 PM MC# 2070301: We have not implemented a formal inspection program to identify anchored-in-backslope terminals which create a situation similar to a turned down terminal. (This topic was raised in an NHI Roadside Design course held at VAOT in 2002, and at that time none of the engineers and technicians present could think of any situations in Vermont that have this hazard.) We do review the design of all guard-rail end terminals that are with in major reconstruction projects.

From: NTSB
To: State of Florida, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that current Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) design standards do not allow the use of either turned-down or anchored-in-backslope guardrail end treatments. The Board also notes that if any non-standard treatments do exist, the FDOT will upgrade them when road construction and upgrade work occurs. The combination of these current standards and FDOT's commitment to correct any guardrails that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal satisfy the recommendation. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of Florida, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/17/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/1/2004 1:58:27 PM MC# 2040251 We are in receipt of your April 21, 2004 letter to the Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jose Abreu in reference to NTSB Recommendation H-04-15 which addresses guardrail ends buried and anchored in backslopes. The NTSB has determined that such a guardrail end treatment contributed to a fatal crash involving a child care van m Memphis. Tennessee in April 2002. The Safety Board recommends that the FDOT "identify guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminate any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal." The present FDOT design standards do not allow the usage of either turned-down or anchored-n-backslope guardrail end treatments. Since such treatments were considered acceptable at one time several years ago, there may a few of them left on the State Highway System. However, such non-standard treatments are routinely upgraded to current standards whenever there is a construction project along that section of road. The FDOT Plans Preparation Manual for RRR (resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation) projects states that "Existing longitudinal guardrail sections must be upgraded or replaced unless they conform to the cur-rent Design Standards, Index 400." A cop) of Desist Standard 400 is attached. Thus. FDOT believes that it is in compliance with NTSB Recommendation 11-04-15. If you have any questions or need copses of any of the above-mentioned documents, please contact me at (850) 245-1504

From: NTSB
To: State of South Carolina, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that SCDOT will be initiating a roadway features inventory, scheduled for completion by the end of January 2005, as an update to its Highway Maintenance Management System. The inventory will identify buried guardrail end treatments, determine the proper corrective action, and then implement the action through existing guardrail contracts. These actions satisfy Safety Recommendation H-04-15, which is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of South Carolina, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 7/19/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/2/2004 9:07:40 AM MC# 2040472 As a follow-up to Ms. Elizabeth Mabry's June 3rd letter, I would like to advise you of the actions the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) will undertake to implement your safety recommendation H-04-15. SCDOT will be initiating a roadway features inventory as an update to our Highway Maintenance Management System. This inventory is scheduled to begin in late summer and be completed by the end of January 2005. During this update, we will identify buried guardrail end treatments, which could result in an incident identified in your report, and determine the proper corrective action. This corrective action may vary widely based on the field conditions. The recommended action will be implemented through our existing on-call guardrail contracts.

From: State of South Carolina, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/3/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/22/2004 1:36:47 PM MC# 2040329. Thank you for your April 21st letter concerning the safety recommendations for buried-end guardrail. I have forwarded your letter to D. H. Freeman, State Highway Engineer, to review and develop a plan to implement your recommendations. Mr. Freeman has already begun the identification process and will advise you of his recommendation upon completion of the evaluation.

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Tennessee's Department of Transportation has eliminated all anchored-in-backslope terminals that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal that were brought to its attention and continues to address ones that are discovered.

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to MC 2070327, Tennessee's Department of Transportation has made corrections to the guardrail terminal at the accident site and to all similar sites on that section of I-240 in Memphis. In addition, in 2003, the Department replaced all anchored-in-backslope terminals on the entire length of I-440 in Nashville, which has similar characteristics to I-240. According to information received subsequent to Tennessee's annual letter, Tennessee continues to use the anchored-in-backslope terminal, but has revised the standards to ensure that the terminal will not create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. Tennessee has not initiated a statewide program to identify existing anchored-in-backslope terminals that create a situation similar to that at the accident site in Memphis. Tennessee's Department of Transportation has instructed its construction and maintenance offices to evaluate existing terminals during routine maintenance activities and construction projects. When needed, modifications to the installations are made.

From: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/25/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/5/2007 2:04:40 PM MC# 2070327: TDOT has made corrections to the guardrail terminal at the accident site and to all similar sites on that section of I-240 in Memphis. In addition, TDOT has replaced (2003) all anchored-in-backslope terminals on the entire length of I-440 in Nashville, which has similar characteristics to I-240.

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is currently reviewing the guardrail and terminal at the crash site to determine what modifications may be needed to improve the functionality of that installation. In addition, the Board acknowledges your assurance that TDOT maintenance personnel are committed to addressing any problem areas in which an anchored-in-backslope terminal creates a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. The Board encourages the TDOT to eliminate any situation similar to a turned-down terminal at the crash site and at all other sites throughout the State of Tennessee. Pending further correspondence that indicates that this is occurring, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 7/15/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/22/2004 9:41:44 AM MC# 2040444: I have been in contact with our Regional Office in Jackson, Tennessee who oversees the Memphis area, and have been advised that the guardrail is planned to be extended and a tangential type end treatment is to be added as scheduling will permit. The Region noted that other sections of this interstate have similar buried-in-backslope anchors. This section of interstate is under design for modifications and the end treatments will be reviewed and modified as necessary when the project commences. The other three regional offices have been made aware of the recommendation and have been asked to note any buried-in-backslope terminals that fit the Memphis scenario. Review of the guardrail end treatments should be completed by fall of this year. Please keep in mind that the buried-in-backslope anchor is an accepted terminal and without further guidance from AASHTO, questions still remain as to what minimum slope would be appropriate for this type end treatment.

From: NTSB
To: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
Date: 6/14/2004
Response: The TDOT response indicated that the crash site guardrail system is under review. TDOT also reported that department personnel regualtly travel highways may be able to identify other possible installations with similar problems. Could you clarify as to whether personnel have been tasked to look for such problem installations and how long it may take to ensure all such installations are identified?

From: State of Tennessee, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/6/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/10/2004 2:03:52 PM MC# 2040303: The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is in receipt of the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendations concerning the van crash in Memphis. I would like to commend the Board for their thorough investigation of this incident. Your letter cited recommendations concerning the installation of guardrail at the crash site and at other locations statewide. The department is currently reviewing the guardrail and terminal at the crash site to determine what modifications may be needed to improve the functionality of the installation. Concerning the identification of other guardrail installations with buried-in-backslope terminals that create situations similar to a turned-down terminal, the department has maintenance personnel that regularly travel the highways who can identify those installations. TDOT is committed to addressing any problem areas as funding and scheduling permit. Thank you for providing the department with the information and recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board.

From: NTSB
To: State of Indiana, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/5/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that INDOT recommends use of buried-in-backslope end treatments if the approach slope is acceptable. If unique conditions exist, INDOT requires the end treatments to be adapted to the area, considering proper guardrail flare; maintaining the proper height of the guardrail; providing proper shoulder, embankment, and approach slopes in front of the guardrail; and maintaining drainage. Accordingly, as the actions of INDOT satisfy this recommendation, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: State of Indiana, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 8/4/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/16/2006 11:58:16 AM MC# 2060405:8/4/2006: Here is our standard for what we call a "buried end", type 1 end treatment (601-GRET 04 and 05), and a type 2 end treatment (601-GRET-10and 11). This may be what you are talking about. Our standards engineer says this is 350 approved, though. Here is what our DesignManual says about where it is used: Guardrail-End Treatment Type II. This type of GRET is used where cut slopes or backslopes above the roadway grade are encountered along the roadside. The details for GRET type II are shown in the INDOT Standard Drawings. GRET type II is used to terminate single-faced guardrail into a backslope. This type redirects an errant vehicle on one side only. It is acceptable if the foreslope on the approach is 4:1 or flatter. It may be necessary to modify the details on the INDOT Standard Drawings to adapt to unique conditions. Any deviation from the Standard Drawings should be shown on the plans and include the design characteristics relative to guardrail design and embankment slopes as shown in the Standard Drawings. Where practical, it is desirable to bury the end of a guardrail run into the backslope. Proper guardrail flare, maintaining the proper height of the guardrail, providing proper shoulder, embankment, and approach slopes in front of the guardrail, and maintaining drainage should be considered. The designer should consider the following in the selection of a type II GRET: a.A minimum 22.86 m straight run of standard W-beam guardrail which may include a guardrail transition, is required preceding the area of concern (hazard). b.b. If this 22.86 m guardrail run is not adequate, the guardrail run should be extended to shield the hazard. c.c. The cut slope or backslope should be located laterally approximately 2 m minimum and 5.25 m maximum from the face of guardrail, at the end of the 22.86 m guardrail run. The designer should ascertain that the backslope extends parallel to the roadway for a sufficient distance to bury the end of the type II GRET; otherwise, a different type of GRET will be required. d.d. The total length of type II GRET is measured from the end of the WR-beam guardrail run to the last post of the steel post anchor system of the type II GRET. This buried-in backslope guardrail system is made up of three components as follows: e.(1) The first component is 7.62 m long WR-beam guardrail at the specified ratio a: b, depending upon the design speed at the specific location. f.(2) The length of the second component which is also WR-beam guardrail varies from 0 to 30.48 m to fit field conditions at the specified ratio a: b, depending upon the design speed at the specific location. g.(3) The third component is 11.43 m long plus the steel post anchorsystem at the specified ratio 8:1.e. For the buried-in backslope guardrail system to be cost effective, the total length of the system should not exceed approximately 50 m beyond the guardrail length of need as determined in Section 49-5.0. Please forward me the letter we discussed, and a link to the referenced report. I'll be able to see if we have any of the terminals in question.

From: NTSB
To: State of Nevada, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the NDOT has circulated this recommendation to its Design, Safety, Construction, and Maintenance personnel and that they have been instructed to review existing anchored-in-backslope installations and correct, or make provisions for the timely correction of, any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. This action satisfies Safety Recommendation H-04-15, which is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of Nevada, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/20/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/1/2004 2:47:15 PM MC# 2040257 The Nevada Department of Transportation has reviewed the subject safety recommendation related to guardrail terminals anchored in backslopes. We have since circulated your letter to our Design, Safety, Construction and Maintenance personnel, who have been instructed to review existing anchored-in-backslope installations and correct, or make provisions for timely correction of any that create a situation similar to a turned down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Alabama, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to MC 2070377, Alabama's Department of Transportation has revised the anchored-in-backslope terminal to be in accordance with the NCHRP Report 350 tested anchor. The Department has also advised its personnel to identify in place anchored-in-backslope terminals that are inside the clear zone for replacement with an appropriate guardrail approach end anchor and guardrail length of need as part of the next resurfacing project or other appropriate work effort.

From: State of Alabama, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 7/6/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/31/2007 9:17:52 AM MC# 2070377: We have reviewed the NTSB recommendation resulting from the crash associated with the anchored in-backslope terminal. Safety Recommendation H-04-15 states that the State Department of Transportation identify guardrails with anchored-inbackslope terminals and replace any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. The Department has taken the following action: 1. Revised our anchored-in-backslope terminal (ALDOT’s Type 9 end anchor) to be in accordance with the NCHRP Report 350 tested anchor. 2. Advised Department personnel to identify in place anchored-in-backslope terminals that are inside the clear zone for replacement with an appropriate guardrail approach end anchor and guardrail length of need as part of the next resurfacing project or other appropriate work effort. We believe this addresses Safety Recommendation H-04-15. Please advise if additional information is needed.

From: NTSB
To: State of New Jersey, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board acknowledges that New Jersey Department of Transportation staff have investigated their use of anchored-in-backslope terminals and have found that New Jersey has no installations similar to the installation that caused the accident in Memphis, Tennessee. As a result, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Reconsidered."

From: State of New Jersey, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/28/2004
Response: Commissioner Lettiere asked me to respond to your April 21, 2004 letter which contained the NTSB Safety Recommendation concerning guide rail anchored in backslope terminal. There are important safety appurtenances and this Department appreciates your agency's involvement in this area. Department staff investigated our use of anchored-in backslope terminals and found we have no installations similar to the installation concern in Tennessee. After examining the photograph from Tennessee that was contained in your recommendation and also contacting a staff person at FHWA who is familiar with the Tennessee site, we noted the Tennessee location has a ditch and a relatively steep slope between the guardrail and the highway. According to NJDOT and FHWA's design guidelines, the guide rail anchored-in-backslope terminal is the preferred guide rail end treatment when there is a cut section, to eliminate the approach end hit. The NJDOT guidelines for anchored-in-backslope terminals call for a flat slope between the gutter and the terminal. For cut sections on Interstates and Freeways, NJDOT guideline specify: 1. An 8 percent slope draining away from the gutter line for 7 feet, tying to a 2 to 1 back slope in cut. 2. For a curbed or berm section, a 2 percent slope draining toward the gutter line, tying into a 2 to 1 back slope in cut. 3. An 8 percent slope draining away from the gutter for the clear zone distance, tying back into a 2 to 1 back slope. In conclusion, we appreciate you sharing the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendations with NJDOT; however, NJDOT is not aware of any guide rail anchored-in-backslope end terminals similar to those cited in Tennessee.

From: NTSB
To: State of Delaware, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: On July 29, 2013, the Board approved appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8506) based on the following information: On October 26, 2004, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a policy memorandum to its field offices providing specific information on the proper design and use of the generic buried in backslope design that would address the NTSB’s concerns addressed in this safety recommendation. Staff recommends closing Safety Recommendation H 04 15 to those states reporting that they follow the guidance from this memorandum in conjunction with the National Cooperative Highway Research Programs (NCHRP) Report 350. Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Acceptable Action” for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of Delaware, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Delaware considers buried-end terminals to be safer than some standard guardrail end treatments, but it does not routinely use buried-end terminals. It previously reported that it is conducting an inventory of all anchored in backslope terminals and will forward information as soon as the inventory is completed.

From: NTSB
To: State of Delaware, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: Delaware considers buried-end terminals to be safer than some standard guardrail end treatments, but it does not routinely use buried-end terminals. According to information received by staff in February 2007, Delaware is conducting an inventory of all anchored-in-backslope terminals and will forward information as soon as the inventory is completed.

From: NTSB
To: State of Delaware, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/13/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that, although DelDOT considers buried-end terminals to be safer than some standard guardrail end treatments, it does not routinely use these terminals. DelDOT indicates that it will study its guardrail end treatments, and provide the Board with further details on guardrail end terminal use in the State. If this information cannot be provided in the near future, please provide the Board an anticipated timeframe that we might expect to receive it. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified Open Acceptable Response, pending the identification and elimination of guardrail end terminals that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: State of Delaware, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 8/1/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/16/2006 11:41:32 AM MC# 2060403:After the accident in Memphis our FHWA office brought this issue to us and recommended that we make some changes to our details for buried-end treatments. Other then that, I don't recall ever seeing the letter in the link below. We will discuss this within our department and try to get you answers to your questions as soon as possible. I can tell you that we haven't used too many of the buried-end treatments although we do consider them safer then a standard-end treatment such as an ET2000 Plus or the SRT 350 because burying the end, eliminates the end all together. Hopefully we haven't used any where the back slope is too flat.

From: NTSB
To: State of Missouri, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Acceptable Action” for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of Missouri, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Missouri has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Missouri, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: Missouri has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Utah, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to MC 2070310, Utah does not use anchored-in-backslope terminals which create a situation similar to a turned down terminal. According to information received subsequent to Utah's annual letter, Utah installed a few anchored-in-backslope terminals back in the 1960s, but none have been seen in about 10 years. The 2003 guardrail design standards prohibit installation of the questionable terminals.

From: State of Utah, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/21/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/3/2007 9:06:26 AM MC# 2070310: Utah does not have any locations that utilize this guardrail end treatment. Utah meets this recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: State of Montana, Department of Transportation
Date: 11/20/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that the MDT has a minimal number of anchored-in-backslope terminals in the State, and that the department has never made a standard practice of using this type of terminal on its National Highway System routes. The MDT also indicates that it administers a statewide program to upgrade guardrail terminal sections, particularly on all projects that involve paving. This policy is in line with the intent of the recommendation; accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed-Acceptable Action."

From: State of Montana, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 8/28/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/29/2006 1:20:10 PM MC# 2060434I'm sorry but we don't have an inventory of guardrail end sections. As I noted earlier, this type of treatment has never been a standard practice in Montana. We may have some of this type of section at some locations, but the numbers would be minimal. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is providing the following response to the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation H-04-15: The Montana Department of Transportation has never made a standard practice of utilizing an anchored-in-backslope terminal for guardrail. In addition to a statewide program to upgrade guardrail terminal sections on National Highway System routes, the MDT makes a standard practice of upgrading terminal sections on all projects that involve paving. MDT agrees that additional guidance in the Roadside Design Guide for barrier systems on curves and where terrain and the barrier system could trap a vehicle would be beneficial. If you require additional information please contact: Duane Williams, Traffic & Safety Engineer at (406) 444-7312 Paul Ferry, Highways Engineer at (406) 444-6244

From: NTSB
To: State of North Carolina, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has a total of 13 Statewide National Highway System Guardrail Rehabilitation projects funded and programmed within the current Transportation Improvement Program between 2004 and 2010. With the completion of these projects, all previously identified substandard guardrail installations along the National Highway System roads will be replaced. The Board further notes that the NCDOT no longer uses a guardrail standard that includes anchored-in-backslope design. The commitment of the NCDOT to replace all substandard guardrails by 2010, combined with the commitment to no longer use an anchored-in-backslope design, meets the intent of this recommendation. As a result, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of North Carolina, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/24/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/2/2004 11:05:54 AM MC# 2040263 Representatives from the Federal Highway Administration and our Department rode all National Highway System routes in 1995 to identify guardrail deficiencies. The guardrail deficiencies were categorized by blunt end anchor units, unattached bridge anchor units and substandard guardrail spacing. From 1995-2003, a total of 420 blunt end anchor units, 49 unattached bridge anchor units and 45,000 linear feet of substandard spaced guardrail were replaced. These deficiencies were replaced within Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) projects to install median guardrail and guiderail. In the spring of 2000, the Department initiated adding statewide National Highway System Guardrail Rehabilitation projects to the TIP. These projects were prioritized by our Traffic Engineering and Safety Systems Branch. There are a total of 13 Statewide National Highway System Guardrail Rehabilitation projects funded and programmed in the current TIP (Year 2004-2010). The tentative let dates for construction of these projects range from Federal Fiscal Years 2005 to Federal Fiscal Year 2008. With the completion of these projects, all the previously identified substandard guardrail installations along the National Highway System roads will be replaced. In addition, our Department no longer has a guardrail standard that utilized the anchored-in-backslope design. Thank you again for your safety recommendation. I have forwarded your letter to our Roadway Design Unit. Your letter will serve as a reminder for us to also identify and replace any unsafe guardrail installations that utilized the anchored-in-backslope design during the development of the statewide National Highway System Guardrail Rehabilitation Projects.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Highway Department
Date: 1/12/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Massachusetts Highway Department (MassHighway) has completed an extensive design standards review in preparation for modifying its current procedures and eliminating the future use of buried-in back slope treatments on high-speed roadways. In addition, MassHighway personnel, working with Federal Highway Administration personnel, have prepared a report documenting locations where guardrails need to be upgraded or replaced because of a turned-down terminal. The department has recently advertised four contracts to correct buried and turned-down end treatments. As these actions fully address Safety Recommendation H-04-15, it is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Highway Department
To: NTSB
Date: 5/25/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/2/2004 11:11:51 AM MC# 2040264 In regard to the design safety issues raised on anchored-in-backslope guardrail, MassHighway has been working with safety engineers from the Massachusetts Division of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to review our current specifications for these devices and update the current procedures. The intent of the review is to modify our current practices to eliminate the future use of buried in back slope treatments on high-speed roadways, while allowing their use on lower speed roadways. In addition to the design standards review, we conducted an extensive examination of our bridge and guardrail end termini during 2003 to identify substandard installations. This analysis was conducted jointly between MassHighway and FHWA engineers. We prepared a written report that documents locations that require upgrades or replacement of the roadside hardware. To this extent, MassHighway has recently advertised four separate contracts to correct buried and turned-down ends. In addition, we now incorporate upgrades to the existing guard and bridge rail sections that are damaged by a vehicle crash rather than just replace in-kind, as was the former procedure. MassHighway is committed to working with FHWA on evaluating our design guides and manuals to ensure that safety is the highest priority in all of our current standards. MassHighway will also address deficiencies identified on bridge and guardrail hardware under future statewide contracts. To this extent, the Massachusetts Highway Department supports Safety Recommendation H-04-15 as submitted by NTSB.

From: NTSB
To: State of Louisiana, Department of Transportation and Development
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Acceptable Action” for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of Louisiana, Department of Transportation and Development
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Louisiana has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Louisiana, Department of Transportation and Development
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: Louisiana has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of North Dakota, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/6/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that the NDDOT no longer has any anchored-in-backslope guardrail installations on North Dakota State or interstate highways. The NDDOT indicated that it had two such guardrail installations that have since been replaced with standard flared W-beam guardrails with NCHRP 350 compliant terminals. The NDDOT further indicated that any future implementation of an anchored-in-backslope guardrail design would only be used where site conditions would allow its proper performance. Accordingly, as the actions of the NDDOT satisfy this recommendation, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: State of North Dakota, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 7/28/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/31/2006 10:10:42 AM MC# 2060373:As per our telephone conversation today, I am writing to restate that to my knowledge, we have no anchored-in-backslope guardrail installations on ND state or interstate highways. I believe at one time, we had two such installations, and those have been replaced with standard flared W-beam guardrail with NCHRP-350 compliant end terminals. If we were to implement such a design, it would only be used where site conditions would allow its proper performance. It occurred to me when I read NTSB's Recommendation (April 21, 2004) and Highway Accident Report (NTSB/HAR-04/02) on anchored in backslope guardrail installations, that the guidance could be somewhat confusing. Perhaps it is just the wording. I'll try to elaborate: While I do agree with the NTSB's recommendation that anchored-in-backslope treatments should be eliminated where a situation similar to a turned down end has been provided, I noted the following in the NTSB's safety recommendation, dated April 21, 2004, on page 2, paragraph 3: "While an anchored-in-backslope design can be effective, it is not a safe design for locations where design hazards exist along a steep backslope or a horizontal curve, as was true at the accident location." True, there was a horizontal curve, but I do not believe that a properly designed (NCHRP-350 crash tested) anchored-in-backslope system placed on the appropriate cross section would be affected by horizontal curvature, if the curvature were taken into account in the design. If railing is installed parallel to, or flared at a very shallow rate relative to the horizontal curve, such that the impact angle measured relative to the tangential runout path is limited to less than that at which the design was tested as per NCHRP-350, it seems to me that the use of the anchored-in-backslope design could be expected to perform satisfactorily. Proper design needs to be based on site conditions, and adjustments need to be made for curvature; topography and flare rate in such situations. The slope from the shoulder up, and the length of need, at the site investigated by NTSB seem to be the real issues.

From: NTSB
To: State of Nebraska, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board acknowledges that in response to Safety Recommendation H-04-15, you state that the Nebraska Department of Roads has not found any present or past design standards that allowed for an anchored-in-backslope terminal that created a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. Furthermore, the Board recognizes that to the best of your knowledge, there are no existing "anchored-in-backslope terminals" on the Nebraska highway system. As a result, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Reconsidered."

From: State of Nebraska, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/1/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/16/2004 2:00:18 PM MC# 2040314 The Nebraska Department of Roads has reviewed the Safety Board's recommendations that "anchored-in-backslope terminals" be identified and eliminated. In our investigation, we have not found any present or past design standards which allowed such an installation. To the best of our knowledge, there are no existing "anchored-in-backslope terminals" on the State Highway System.

From: NTSB
To: State of Mississippi, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Unacceptable Action” for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of Mississippi, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Mississippi has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Mississippi, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: Mississippi has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Rhode Island, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation does not use this type of terminal and is not aware of any that creates a situation similar to a turned-down terminal on Rhode Island's highways. In addition, the Safety Board notes the Rhode Island Department of Transportation supports a modification of guidance by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on roadway barrier systems. The Board believes that improved guidance from AASHTO, combined with diligent work on the part of the States, will result in improved traffic safety. Because Rhode Island does not use the anchored-in-backslope terminal, and does not know of any that exist in the State, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Reconsidered."

From: State of Rhode Island, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/28/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/9/2004 9:44:41 AM MC# 2040284 We have received your Safety Recommendation (H-04-15) dated April 21, 2004 requesting that states identify and eliminate guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals. Please note that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation does not utilize this type of terminal, and we are not aware of any that are existing which create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal on our highways. Our Department has an aggressive, ongoing, statewide guardrail maintenance program which includes upgrading outdated terminal treatments. Should any existing anchored-in-backslope terminals be discovered, a priority will be placed on their removal and replacement. We greatly appreciate your efforts to improve safety on our nation's highways, and support the recommendation to better define the guidance contained in the AASHTO Roadside Design Guide relative to the design of better roadway barrier systems.

From: NTSB
To: State of New York, Department of Transportation
Date: 3/16/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes that the New York Department of Transportation's (NYDOT's) policy in situations where a backslope is likely to redirect errant vehicles is to (1) extend the barrier longitudinally to provide an adequate runout length, (2) install the barrier and its terminal in a manner that will essentially preclude access to the potential hazard, or (3) flare the terminal back close to, at, or beyond the limit of the clear zone. The Board further notes that the NYDOT has directed its 11 regional offices to identify any situations where the potential hazard and shielding are similar to that of the Tennessee accident, and that the NYDOT is committed to eliminating any of these situations on its roadways. Thank you for the copy of the NYDOT memo to the regional offices regarding this issue, and for the Department's spirit of cooperation in this matter. The State of New York's commitment to addressing the issue of anchored-in-backslope terminals constitutes an acceptable response to this recommendation; accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of New York, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 10/29/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 11/16/2004 11:16:25 AM MC# 2040682 Thank you for your letter dated August 3, 2004, in which the Board encourages the State of New York to study our guide rails and eliminate any situation similar to the one in Memphis, Tennessee covered in accident report HAR-04/02. In that accident, a redirective backslope preceded a bridge abutment that cut completely across the clear zone and the length of shielding guide rail that was present was not adequate to provide the recommended runout length. In situations where a potential hazard cuts completely across the clear zone or where a backslope is likely to redirect errant vehicles towards the shielded object, it has been our policy to either (1) extend the barrier longitudinally to provide an adequate runout length, (2) install the barrier and its terminal in a manner that will essentially preclude access to the potential hazard, or (3) flare the terminal back close to, at, or beyond the limit of the clear zone. We have directed our 11 Regional offices (see attached) to identify any situations where the potential hazard and shielding are similar to the Tennessee accident. Within our available resources and other priority needs, we will strive to eliminate any similar situations identified, using one of the options described above.

From: NTSB
To: State of New York, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/3/2004
Response: The Safety Board agrees with your initial response that only the portion of the guardrail/terminal system that is capable of redirecting vehicles should be considered part of the effective shielding length of the system. We also agree that a wide-ranging elimination of the anchored-in-backslope terminals would not be appropriate at this time, since many are adequately designed. However, we believe (1) that guardrails should be examined to identify instances where an anchored-in-backslope acts as a turned-down terminal, such as that found in the Memphis accident investigation, and (2) that these specific anchored-in-backslope terminal locations should be replaced. While an anchored-in-backslope design can be effective, it is not a safe design for locations where design hazards exist along a steep backslope or a horizontal curve, as was true at the accident location. There, the anchored-in-backslope terminal essentially becomes a flared turned-down design, which is unsafe because the turned-down design provides no protection to errant vehicles. The Safety Board encourages the State of New York, following a full review of the Memphis, Tennessee, accident report (HAR-04/02), to study the State's guardrails and to eliminate any situation similar to the one identified in the report and described above. We look forward to your further response after you have reviewed the full report. In the interim, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: State of New York, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/13/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/20/2004 11:34:14 AM MC# 2040224 We concur with the Board's conclusion, as stated in your Recommendation H-04-17, that "the barrier at the accident site was not long enough" for a vehicle "to recover before striking the bridge abutment." The New York State Department of Transportation has design guidance in our Highway Design Manual (which is posted on the Internet at www.dot.state.ny.us/cmb/consult/hdmfiles/chapt 10.pdf) to address this specific situation. This guidance classifies bridge abutments as "non-by passable" hazards, as they cut completely across the clear zone. For Interstates, our guidance is that a length of rail, equal to the full runout length, should be provided for non-by passable hazards. Furthermore, we have guidance addressing those cases where steep slopes are likely to redirect vehicles back towards the road and an object that the barrier is meant to shield. Our Highway Design Manual guidance (Figure 10-4f) notes that "If clear zone topography directs errant vehicles toward shielded object, either the [full] runout lengths. . . should be provided or, preferably, the rail should be terminated close to the back of the clear zone, or buried in the backslope." Of the three alternatives, the first assumes driver participation by braking, while the latter two are meant to either prevent access to the shielded area or significantly lengthen the available braking distance to the area. Recommendation H-04-15, as sent to NYSDOT, makes no mention of runout length. Rather, it focuses on anchored-in-backslope terminals and specifically recommends the elimination of "any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal." We do not agree that such terminals should necessarily be eliminated on the basis that the terminal did not capture or redirect the van. While some guardrail terminals are designed to slow and, in some situations, capture an errant vehicle, they all permit a vehicle to gate through at least their first three posts on an angled impact. To compensate for this incomplete shielding, the usual approach is to provide additional guardrail length. The same strategy should be applied to anchored-in-backslope terminals. Only the portion of the guardrail/terminal system that is capable of redirecting vehicles should be considered as part of the effective shielding length of the system. We believe it is premature to begin a wide-ranging elimination of the anchored-in- backslope end treatment. We have been and will continue working with AASHTO on the runout length, topography and end treatment issues. We commend the Board's ongoing efforts to improve the safety of the traveling public.

From: NTSB
To: State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to MC 2070270, Hawaii's Department of Transportation policy on safety hardware is to comply with the NCHRP Report 350 and the FHWA directives and recommendations. Hawaii uses the guideline from the FHWA's related memo (dated October 26, 2004) when designing or evaluating the existing anchored-in-backslope terminals.

From: State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/6/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/14/2007 1:23:45 PM MC# 2070270: NCHRP Report 350 is the adopted standard in determining "crashworthyness" of roadside hardware. HDOT's policy on safety hardware is to comply with NCHRP Report 350 and FHWA directives and recommendations. The issue regarding Buried-in-Backslope Terminals has been addressed in FHWA memo date October 26,2004. The following is an excerpt from this memo. "Buried-in-Backslope Terminal A W-beam barrier that can be terminated in a backslope is a preferred end treatment because it eliminates any possibility of a true end on hit. However, an effective installation must satisfy several design criteria. First and foremost of these must be the steepness of the slope into which the W-beam is anchored. The ideal slope is one that is nearly vertical, in which case the slope in effect becomes an extension of the barrier and a motorist cannot physically get behind the terminal. In such a case, the barrier can be brought into the backslope as soon as practical using the maximum flare rate appropriate for the design speed of the highway. If the backslope is significantly flatter than 1H:lV a buried-inbackslope design behaves essentially like a turned-down terminal and can be overridden. In these instances, the full design length of need of the barrier must be provided and there should be a minimum distance behind the rail that is 75 feet long and 20 feet wide that is both free of fixed objects and reasonably traversable, just as with all other W-beam terminals. For the buried-in-backslope design, the length of need begins at the point where the W-beam remains at full height in relation to the roadway shoulder, usually at the point where the barrier crosses the ditch line. If the backslope continues under and in front of the flared W-beam, the rail height is effectively reduced and the slope forms a ramp that could allow a vehicle to override the rail instead of being redirected. The buried-in-backslope design has been successfully tested over 10: 1, 6: 1, and 4: 1 foreslopes. In each case, the height of the W-beam rail was held constant in relation to the roadway shoulder elevation until the rail crossed the ditch bottom. When the distance from the ground to the bottom of the w-beam exceeds approximately 18 inches, a W-beam rubrail must be added to minimize wheel snagging on the support posts. Earlier tests with a 4500-lb sedan into a terminal flared over a 1O:l slope but with a constant height above the ground failed when the impact angle was 25 degrees, but did contain and redirect the car at a reduced angle of 15 degrees. Because the Report 350 pickup truck has a higher center of gravity than the Report 230 test vehicle, the W-beam height, even across a 10: 1 slope, should match the roadway grade on high-speed NHS routes.” The above guideline is used by HDOT when designing or evaluating existing Buried-in-Backslope Terminals. The link to the full memo is http://safety.fhwa,dot.gov/roadwaydept/road_hardware/l004memo.htm.

From: NTSB
To: State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/28/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes the Connecticut Department of Transportation's (CDOT's) support for this recommendation. The commitment of the CDOT to review its standard drawing details to ensure buried-end-anchor terminals are used only on non-traversible backslopes should eliminate this problem in Connecticut. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action" to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. While the Board appreciates your comments on the Federal Highway Administration's Memorandum, HHS-20, this issue falls under the jurisdiction of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO); the Board has already recommended that AASHTO modify its guidance.

From: State of Connecticut, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 7/26/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/3/2004 10:52:09 AM MC# 2040479 The Connecticut Department of 'Transportation (Department) strives to use buried-end- anchor terminals only in situations where the backslopes are considered non-traversable (3H to 1V or steeper). The Department agrees that when installed on a traversable backslope, the anchor essentially acts as a turned down anchor located within the clear zone, which is an undesirable condition. The use of buried-end-anchor terminals on traversable backslopes may have been encouraged by an FHWA Memorandum, HHS-20. The memorandum, based on successful crash tests to NCHRF' Report 350, Test Level 3, advocated the use of a traversable ditch in conjunction with a traversable backslope of 4H to 1V or flatter. In the Kentucky case noted in your letter, it appears the buried-end-anchor was installed behind a traversable ditch, with a traversable backslope, and was in keeping with that memorandum. Perhaps a revised memorandum should be issued on the subject, eliminating the use of buried-end-anchor terminals in traversable backslopes, and replacing it with buried-end-anchor terminals in non-traversable backslopes.

From: NTSB
To: State of New Mexico, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: On July 29, 2013, the Board approved appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8506) based on the following information: On October 26, 2004, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a policy memorandum to its field offices providing specific information on the proper design and use of the generic buried in backslope design that would address the NTSB’s concerns addressed in this safety recommendation. Staff recommends closing Safety Recommendation H 04 15 to those states reporting that they follow the guidance from this memorandum in conjunction with the National Cooperative Highway Research Programs (NCHRP) Report 350. Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Acceptable Action” for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Unacceptable Action” for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of New Mexico, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: New Mexico is in the process of replacing outdated guardrails with more current generation guardrails. New Mexico has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: State of New Mexico, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 9/5/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/26/2008 1:48:42 PM MC# 2080593: New Mexico is in the process of replacing outdated guardrails with more current gerneration guardrails. This effort is ongoing.

From: NTSB
To: State of New Mexico, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: New Mexico has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Washington, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/13/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that WSDOT uses its preservation and improvement projects to evaluate and upgrade guardrail terminals to comply with design standards. WSDOT indicates that although it installs buried terminal end sections for beam guardrails, the design is such that the guardrail is buried in a backslope not flatter than a ratio of 3 feet horizontal to 1 foot vertical. The steeper slope in the WSDOT design significantly reduces the potential for vehicle intrusion into the area behind the terminal, as occurred in the Memphis, Tennessee, accident. As the actions of WSDOT satisfy the intent of this recommendation, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified Closed Acceptable Action. The Safety Board appreciates WSDOT’s efforts to improve highway safety in the State of Washington.

From: State of Washington, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 8/16/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/16/2006 11:53:10 AM MC# 2060404:Your inquiry has been forwarded to me for response. Washington State has not done an inventory of guardrails anchored in backslopes and are not planning to do so in response to the NTSB recommendation H-04-015. Our preservation and improvement projects require that guardrail terminals be brought into compliance with our design standards. We evaluate guardrail terminals each time we have a preservation or improvement project, and upgrade as necessary to comply with design standards. We do install buried terminal end sections for beam guardrails, however our design does not produce the situation you address in recommendation H-04-015. In our design, the guardrail is buried in a backslope that is not flatter than 3H:1V. The Memphis, Tennessee, crash presented in H-04-15 appears to be much flatter than 3H:1V. The steeper slope we use significantly reduces the potential for a vehicle to travel along the slope leading up to the guardrail buried terminal. Additionally, it allows the guardrail to emerge from the point where it's buried in the slope and reach design height in a shorter distance than a flatter slope. The Memphis crash appears to be more an issue with guardrail height and length rather than terminal selection. The objective of the guardrail terminals is to minimize potential for injury in an end hit. It is not to prevent intrusion into the area behind the terminal. In the Memphis crash, a different terminal in the same location may not have yielded a different outcome. Placement of the terminal farther away from the hazard(s) would likely have a greater impact on the potential for the vehicle to reach the hazard. We have a high level of interest in providing for the safety for our highway users, and believe that our current processes and designs do exactly that.

From: NTSB
To: State of Minnesota, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MDOT) has instructed its district engineers to inventory their existing anchored-in-backslope terminals, identify those terminals that may create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal, and develop a systematic approach to eliminate all identified terminals by the end of year 2012. The Board encourages the MDOT to finish this work as expeditiously as possible; we would be interested in receiving a copy of the summary of work when it becomes available. These actions satisfy Safety Recommendation H-04-15, which is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of Minnesota, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 7/15/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/4/2004 10:56:04 AM MC# 2040483 Thank you for your April 21 letter requesting that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) "identify guardrails with anchored-in-backslop terminals and eliminate any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal" in response to Safety Recommendation H-04-15. In recognition of the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) continued efforts to make our nation's highways safer for the traveling public, Mn/DOT has developed a plan in support of your request. In 2003, Mn/DOT successfully instituted a ten-year plan to replace all turned-down terminals along our state highways in response to a Federal Highway Administration request. That plan consisted of directing each of our District Engineers to inventory their existing turned-down terminals and systematically replace them with NCHRP 350 compliant end terminals during safety improvement, hazard elimination, and 3R projects on roadways adjacent to the terminals. We are utilizing a similar approach in response to your request to eliminate all anchored-in-backslope terminals that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. We have instructed our District Engineers to inventory their existing anchored-in-backslope terminals, identify those terminals that may create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal, and develop a systematic approach to eliminate all identified terminals by end of year 2012. The elimination of anchored-in-backslope terminals embedded in backslopes shallower than 1:2 (V:H) will be accomplished by replacing them with NCHRP Report 350 compliant end terminals. Also, guardrails utilizing anchored-in-backslope terminals will be checked to ensure that the guardrail has an adequate effective height. In addition, the length-of-need for all anchored-in-backslope terminals embedded in backslopes 1:2 or steeper will be checked and extended as necessary. All actions taken to eliminate the identified anchored-in-backslope terminals will be documented, and a written summary of these corrective actions will be prepared. Upon request, we will provide a copy to the NTSB. Regarding new anchored-in-backslope terminals, current Mn/DOT design guidance does not recommend their use, therefore no further action is required. Thank you for sharing this information with us. Mn/DOT is proud of its safety record and its reputation for being a leader in researching and implementing designs that result in roads being some of the safest in the nation. Please feel free to call me at (651) 297-2930 should you have any questions or concerns regarding our plans as defined herein.

From: NTSB
To: State of South Dakota, Department of Transportation
Date: 9/13/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes that the State of South Dakota has had an aggressive guardrail upgrade policy for several years and has brought its system up to current acceptable standards. The Board also notes that, although the South Dakota Department of Transportation does not have a current, detailed inventory of its guardrail systems, the Department is confident that in South Dakota there are no anchored-in-backslope terminals that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. Safety Board staff contacted Mr. Tim Bjorneberg, Chief Engineer, by e-mail and telephone for further information on South Dakota's guardrail installations. Mr. Bjorneberg indicated that the State meets National Cooperative Highway Research Program 350 standards, with a guardrail run-out length of 30 feet. Mr. Bjorneberg further explained that South Dakota's relatively flat topography makes use of anchored-in-backslope terminals unnecessary. As these conditions existed prior to the issuance of Safety Recommendation H-04-15, the recommendation is classified "Closed--Reconsidered."

From: State of South Dakota, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/14/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/22/2004 1:46:30 PM MC# 2040330 Thank you for your letter concerning the proposed the Safety Board's concern with the anchored-in-backslope terminals for guardrail. South Dakota does not have a current detailed inventory of its guardrail systems, but we are confident that we do not have such an installation. We have had an aggressive guardrail upgrade policy for several years and have brought our system up to current acceptable standards as construction projects occur. Please contact our Chief Engineer, Tim Bjorneberg at (605) 773-2924 if you have other questions.

From: NTSB
To: State of Idaho, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: On July 29, 2013, the Board approved appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8506) based on the following information: On October 26, 2004, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a policy memorandum to its field offices providing specific information on the proper design and use of the generic buried in backslope design that would address the NTSB’s concerns addressed in this safety recommendation. Staff recommends closing Safety Recommendation H 04 15 to those states reporting that they follow the guidance from this memorandum in conjunction with the National Cooperative Highway Research Programs (NCHRP) Report 350. Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Acceptable Action” for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of Idaho, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Idaho maintains an inventory of guardrail terminals on the Interstate and National Highway System routes. On State routes, terminal ends are identified on a project-by-project basis. All deficient turned-down ends are replaced in conjunction with any significant roadway work in the same area. Idaho has not provided clarification on what constitutes "deficient turned-down ends."

From: NTSB
To: State of Idaho, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to MC 2070324, Idaho maintains an inventory of guardrail terminals on the Interstate and National Highway System routes. On State routes, terminal ends are identified on a project-by-project basis. All deficient turned-down ends are replaced in conjunction with any significant roadway work in the same area. Staff has been unable to obtain clarification from Idaho on what constitutes "deficient turned-down ends."

From: State of Idaho, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 7/3/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/5/2007 1:40:57 PM MC# 2070324: An inventory of guardrail terminals is maintained on the Interstate and National Highway System routes. On state routes, terminal ends are indentified on a project-by-project basis. All deficient turned-down ends are replaced in conjunction with any significant roadway work in the same area.

From: NTSB
To: State of Colorado, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Unacceptable Action” for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of Colorado, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Colorado has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Colorado, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: Colorado has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: District of Columbia, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/6/2010
Response:

From: NTSB
To: District of Columbia, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: The District of Columbia has not conducted an inventory of guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals. As a result of the Board's 2008 annual letter, its Department of Transportation will survey guardrail terminals and retrofit any that may pose a problem similar to a turned-down terminal. The District of Columbia has been replacing such terminals for many years and probably does not have any in service, but it will make a final check. The Department has discussed this type of terminal with its attenuator contractor who has confirmed that it has not encountered this type of terminal in the system.

From: District of Columbia, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 9/30/2008
Response: MC# 2080598: To answer the question [H-04-15], DDOT has not conducted an inventory to identify guardrails with terminals anchored in back slopes. However, since we have been notified of this request, we will survey our guardrail terminals and retrofit any that may pose a problem similar to the old turned-down terminals. We have been replacing such terminals for many years and probably do not have any in service. However, we will make a final check. DDOT has discussed this type of terminal with our attenuator contractor who has confirmed that they have not encountered this type of guardrail terminal in our system. Therefore, we can be reasonably assured that we have none of this type.

From: NTSB
To: District of Columbia, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: The District of Columbia has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Kansas, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that in response to Safety Recommendation H-04-15, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has contacted its employees who are most familiar with guardrail design, and that these officials are not aware of any "anchored-in-backslope" design used in the State of Kansas highway system. As a result, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Reconsidered."

From: State of Kansas, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/15/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/22/2004 3:30:14 PM MC# 2040332 The Kansas Department of Transportation has contacted the KDOT employees who are most familiar with guardfence and guardfence design and they are not aware of any "anchored-in-backslope" designed guardfence that is on the State of Kansas highway system.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maine, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes the Maine Department of Transportation's (MDOT's) support for this recommendation. We further note that, although the few terminals like this that exist in Maine are protected by crash attenuators and/or are offset almost 30 feet from the travel way, the MDOT has committed to replace end treatments that create a turned-down situation during a series of paving projects scheduled for a 22-mile section of Interstate 295 in Maine. This commitment satisfies Safety Recommendation H-04-15, which is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of Maine, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/27/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/3/2004 12:18:12 PM MC# 2040276 This letter is to acknowledge receipt of your recent letter to Commissioner David A. Cole (Ref. H-04-15) regarding the dangers associated with a vehicle striking the buried leading end of a guard rail, and to advise the Board that the Maine Department of Transportation , and its partner, the Maine Division of the Federal Highway Administration, are aware of the safety issues posed by the guard rail end treatment and of other end treatment deficiencies. To start addressing this safety issue, guard rail end treatment modifications are part of all of our Federally Funded Highway and Bridge Projects, converting to the NCHRP 350 end, which is the current standard. The few buried or blunt end guard rail terminals, in close proximity of the roadway, are protected by crash attenuators, which mimimize their danger. There is, however, one section of I-295, which has flared and twisted leading end guardrail treatments. These ends are offset almost 30 feet from the travel way, and a significant distance in advance of the obstacle to reduce the changes of a vehicle that ramped-up on the guard rail end from hitting the obstacle. A vehicle that did hit a flared, twisted end could rollover, so these ends will also be replaced as part of a series of paving projects scheduled for this 22 mile section of Interstate.

From: NTSB
To: State of Wisconsin, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Wisconsin does not use anchored-in-backslope terminals. It does have some turned-down terminals, but its Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to upgrade these installations when the terminals are ready to be replaced. According to information received subsequent to Wisconsin's annual letter, DOT has not had anchored-in-backslope terminals as a standard for DOT projects. Although it is possible that such terminals were installed on a specific project using designer created details or installed by a local government unit, anchored in backslope terminals are rarely, if ever, used in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's DOT recognizes the need to replace turned-down terminals and has policies in place to remove them from the DOT's roadway network. Local government units have their own policies for their roadway networks.

From: State of Wisconsin, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 9/4/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/18/2008 10:13:03 AM MC# 2080570: Wisconsin does not use any anchored-in-backslope terminals. However, Wisconsin currently does have some turned-down terminals on its network. It is currently DOT’S plan to upgrade these installations when the turned-down terminals are ready to be replaced

From: NTSB
To: State of Wisconsin, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: Wisconsin has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Oklahoma, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/3/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) has spent approximately $5 million annually since 1997 on a systematic program to replace turned-down terminals. In addition, ODOT will furnish a copy of the Memphis accident report to its district engineers and request that they give priority to replacing end treatments similar to the one described in the report. As these actions satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation H-04-15, it is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of Oklahoma, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/7/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/13/2004 9:30:05 AM MC# 2040206 The Oklahoma Department of Transportation developed a policy and program for the upgrading of guardrail end terminal treatments in 1997. We have been spending approximately $5 million annually on a systematic program to replace turn-down guardrail end treatments. I will furnish a copy of your report and recommendations to our District Engineers and ask that they give priority to the replacement of any end treatments similar to that described in your report.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/6/2010
Response:

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Virginia requires new anchored-in-backslope terminals to meet the requirements of the NCHRP Report 350 Test Level 3 testing criteria. When an existing terminal is damaged, it is replaced according to these criteria. Virginia continues to upgrade existing anchored-in-backslope terminals that are not compliant as funds become available. It also follows the FHWA memo (dated October 26, 2004) when identifying and upgrading guardrail terminals.

From: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 7/10/2008
Response: MC# 2080435: Yes. Virginia follows the FHWA memo dated 10/26/04. In addition to up-grading terminals, VDOT continues to revise standards to ensure compliance with NCHRP Report 350. Revisions were made to VDOT Standard GR-6 on 7-04 and 2-06. Virginia continues to identify existing GR-6 terminals that need replacement and schedule removal or updates as funds and new projects come online. Chapter 9 located in the VDOT GRIT (Guardrail Installation Training) Manual contains detailed information pertaining to correct installation of GR-6. GRIT is on-going training for all designers and installers throughout the state.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to MC 2070280 and MC 2070347, Virginia requires new anchored-in-backslope terminals to meet the requirements of the NCHRP Report 350 Test Level 3 testing criteria. When an existing terminal is damaged, it is replaced according to these criteria. Virginia continues to upgrade existing anchored-in-backslope terminals that are not compliant as funds become available. Staff has been unable to obtain confirmation that Virginia also follows the FHWA memo (dated October 26, 2004).

From: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 7/13/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/13/2007 12:22:52 PM MC# 2070347: The Virginia Department of Transportation's Standard GR-6 anchored-in-backslope end treatments, for new installations used on the Commonwealth's roadways, must meet the requirements of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 350 Test Level 3 testing criteria. When an lexisting terminal is damaged, it is replaced with a NCHRP 350 approved terminal, as directed by our Guardrail Repair, Replacement and Upgrade Guidelines (Location and Design Division's current Instructional and Informational Memorandum 220.2). Specifically, the VDOT anchored-in-backslope terminal (Standard GR-6) has been NCHRP 350 compliant since July 1998. The Virginia Department of Transportation continues to upgrade existing anchored-in-backslope terminals that are not NCHRP 350 compliant to meet current standards as funds become available.

From: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/12/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/21/2007 2:22:58 PM MC# 2070280: Regarding H-01-15 [sic], VDOT’s Standard GR-6 guardrail anchored-in-backslope end treatments for new installations used on the Commonwealth’s roadways, must meet the requirements of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 350 Test Level 3 testing criteria. When an existing terminal is damaged, it is replaced with a NCHRP 350 approved terminal, as directed by our Guardrail Repair, Replacement and Upgrade Guidelines. Specifically, the VDOT anchored-in-backslope terminal (Standard GR-6) has been NCHRP 350 compliant since July 1998. VDOT continues to upgrade existing anchored-in-backslope terminals that are not NCHRP 350 compliant to meet current standards as funds become available.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation
Date: 4/1/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes that since July 1998, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has complied with National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 350 testing criteria for anchored-in-backslope terminals and that existing terminals that are not NCHRP 350 compliant are being upgraded as funds become available. According to VDOT, this upgrading should eliminate any terminals that create a problem; however, although the guardrail in the Memphis, Tennessee, accident also met NCHRP 350 standards, the Board's investigation found that it was installed in such a way as to create a hazard. As a similar hazard could exist in some locations in the State of Virginia, the Board requests that VDOT examine its anchored-in-backslope installations to ensure that they do not create a situation similar to the Memphis turned-down terminal. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Open--Acceptable Response," pending a further response to the Board's inquiry.

From: Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/27/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/2/2004 11:01:09 AM MC# 2040262 This is in response to your April 21, 2004 Safety Recommendation H-04-15 in which you asked how the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plans to address concerns with the anchored-in-backslope terminal. The end treatments, for new installations, used on the Commonwealth's roadways must meet the requirements of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 350 testing criteria. When an existing terminal is damaged, it is replaced with a NCHRP 350 approved terminal, as directed by VDOT's Guardrail Repair, Replacement and Upgrade Guidelines (Location and Design Division's current Instructional and Informational Memorandum-220). Specifically, the VDOT anchored-in-backslope terminal (Standard GR-6) has been NCHRP 350 compliant since July 1998. Existing terminals that are not NCHRP 350 compliant are being upgraded as funds become available. In addition, as directed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), we have been conducting Guardrail Installation Training (GRIT) for installers, designers, inspectors, and all personnel who are responsible for guardrail design and installation since 2001. This training is updated periodically to include new products that meet NCHRP 350 guidelines. In summary, VDOT has implemented the necessary changes in policy to bring the terminals into NCHRP 350 compliance as well as proactively training inspectors, installers, and designers. Please feel free to contact VDOT with any questions regarding its guardrail practices.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Kentucky, Transportation Cabinet
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Unacceptable Action” for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Kentucky, Transportation Cabinet
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Kentucky is working with the FHWA to eliminate the turned-down end treatments, but they have not discussed the anchored-in-backslope terminals that may mimic such treatments. There has been no in-depth investigation of this issue. Its Transportation Cabinet routinely reviews all guardrails on projects to make sure they are up to current standards. Anchored-in-backslope terminals are allowed at this time. Kentucky does examine end treatments as part of rehab projects and includes needed repairs to anything that is not in compliance, including anchored-in-backslope terminals that are too low.

From: NTSB
To: Commonwealth of Kentucky, Transportation Cabinet
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to MC 2070312, Kentucky is working with FHWA to eliminate the turned-down end treatments, but they have not discussed the anchored-in-backslope terminals that may mimic such treatments. There has been no in-depth investigation of this issue. Kentucky's Transportation Cabinet routinely reviews all guardrails on projects to make sure they are up to current standards. Anchored-in-backslope terminals are allowed at this time. Kentucky does examine end treatments as part of rehab projects and includes needed repairs to anything that is not in compliance, including anchored-in-backslope terminals that are too low. If Kentucky's interpretation of this recommendation is accurate, it is the Transportation Cabinet's view that there are several other significant issues regarding roadside safety that would be better addressed based on cost/benefit.

From: Commonwealth of Kentucky, Transportation Cabinet
To: NTSB
Date: 6/29/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/3/2007 9:35:13 AM MC# 2070312: This recommendation refers to our Type 3 guardrail end-treatment (which is an anchored-inback-slope terminal) which may have been installed too low vertically and/or has the backslope fill in such a manner in which a car could over-ride the terminal and flip. We are working with FHWA to eliminate the turn-down end treatments but have not discussed the anchored end treatments that may mimic turn downs. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no in-depth investigation of this issue. FHWA recently completed the,”=Guardrail Process Review Implementation Plan,” and this issue was not mentioned. KYTC routinely reviews all guardrail on projects to make sure it is up to current standards. Type 3’s are allowed at this time. We look at all guardrail and end treatments as part of rehab projects and include needed repairs to anything that is not in compliance, including Type 3’s that are too low. If our interpretation of this particular recommendation is accurate, it is KYTC view that there are several other significant issues regarding roadside safety that would be better addressed based on cost/benefit.

From: NTSB
To: State of West Virginia, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/3/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) has in place a Standard Detail for the installation of guardrail terminals. This standard calls for proper grading of the ditch line and backslope to ensure that an errant vehicle meets a guardrail terminal at the appropriate angle and attitude and that the guardrail is installed such that its beam element is fully exposed and is placed at the proper height. In addition, the WVDOT is advising its Engineering and Contract Administration Divisions and its 10 district engineers of the circumstances of this accident so that appropriate actions can be taken in the field as necessary. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of West Virginia, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/7/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/21/2004 11:57:47 AM MC# 2040230 We have reviewed our Standard Detail for the installation of these terminals. Our standard calls for proper grading of the ditch line and backslope to assure that an errant vehicle meets the guardrail terminal at the appropriate angle and attitude, and that the beam element is fully exposed and at the proper height as quickly as possible. A copy of the detail sheet is attached. We are also advising our Engineering and Contract Administration Divisions, and our ten District Engineers, of the circumstances of this accident and of this Safety Recommendation so that appropriate actions may be taken in the field. We appreciate being advised of this situation, and we also appreciate the Safety Board's continuing dedication to improved safety for all modes of transportation. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Barry Warhoftig, Director of our Traffic Engineering Division, at telephone (304) 558-3063.

From: NTSB
To: State of Oregon, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Oregon Department of Transportation will inventory every barrier system in the State, cataloging installations that are substandard, including buried-in-backslope problem areas. Following identification and analysis, the department will educate its employees about the critical nature of the buried slope, which will help ensure that the end terminal is installed correctly and that the buried slope maintains a 1:4 or steeper slope. These actions will help to prevent an accident like the one that occurred in Memphis, Tennessee, and are fully responsive to Safety Recommendation H-04-15. Accordingly, the recommendation is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of Oregon, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/21/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/28/2004 3:03:26 PM MC# 2040354

From: State of Oregon, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/15/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/28/2004 3:01:11 PM MC# 2040353 The Oregon Department of Transportation understands the safety issues with anchored-in-backslope terminals. Our practice is to require a slope of 1:4 (Oregon Standard Drawings RD435) or steeper on the cut or false cut. This practice addresses the issue of a vehicle being able to traverse along the rail. Our practice also places the barrier system at the edge of the pavement until a safe transition taper is developed where upon the system is anchored into the backslope. This prevents vehicle launching on the slope in front of the barrier. The department will inventory every barrier system in the state, cataloging installations that are substandard, including potential buried-in-backslope problem areas. After identification and analysis, the department will educate our maintenance employees and our construction inspectors about the critical nature of the buried slope. This action will ensure that the end terminal is installed correctly and that the buried slope maintains the 1:4 or steeper slope.

From: NTSB
To: State of California, Department of Transportation
Date: 11/2/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Division of Traffic Operations is continually looking for ways to improve safety when reviewing guardrail locations, and that Caltrans Districts will be directed to examine locations with buried fixed ends. This action is responsive to Safety Recommendation H-04-15, which is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of California, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/17/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/17/2004 1:39:22 PM MC# 2040210 Thank you for the letter regarding the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendations on barrier design (Safety Recommendation H-04-15) based upon your evaluation of the tragic collision in Memphis, Tennessee. The California Department of Transportation's (Department) highway designers work very hard to minimize the severity of collisions when vehicles drift off of the road. This focus contributes to California's outstanding highway safety record. Occasionally, a designer will attempt to shield the end of a roadside guardrail by burying the fixed end in a cut slope with the intent of providing one less fixed object for vehicle impact. This practice is done on steep cut slopes. The Department's Division of Traffic Operations is continually looking for ways to improve the safety of appurtenances when reviewing guardrail locations. Our Districts will be notified to examine locations with buried fixed ends. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention. My staff has reviewed this situation and informs me that our current standard plan that allows this treatment remains adequate when applied properly.

From: NTSB
To: State of Iowa, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/3/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that in the few areas where the Iowa Department of Transportation has allowed terminated guardrail in the backslope, the guardrail is flared away from the roadway a significant distance, and that this greatly reduces the likelihood of a vehicle riding up on top of the barrier. This standard practice of the Iowa Department of Transportation is in line with the intent of this safety recommendation and was in place prior to the Board's issuing its recommendation. Therefore, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Reconsidered."

From: State of Iowa, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/17/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/24/2004 11:32:56 AM MC# 2040234 The Iowa Department of Transportation normally terminates w-beam guardrail with energy-absorbing terminals that have passed NCHRP Report 350 crash test criteria. In the few locations where we have terminated guardrail in the backslope, the guardrail is flared away from the roadway a significant distance (similar to Figure 8.6 in the 2002 AASHTO Roadside Design Guide). This greatly reduces the likelihood of a vehicle riding up on top of the barrier, similar to a turned-down terminal. The Department also evaluates guardrail as a normal part of rehabilitation (3R) projects and has made major progress upgrading guardrail terminals to current standards.

From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to information received subsequent to Maryland's annual letter, Maryland has taken, and continues to take, action to ensure that its standards and guidance for anchored-in-backslope terminals minimize the possibility that such terminals could function as turned-down terminals. Specifically, Maryland revised its practices and has focused on removing turned-down terminals, correcting improper guardrail heights, installing and improving median barriers, ensuring an adequate length of need, and inventorying W-beam terminals buried in backslopes to assure that they conform to standards. Following an inventory in 2004, Maryland's State Highway Administration (SHA) significantly increased its efforts to upgrade deficient barriers and end treatments. In 3 recently completed upgrades, 520 turned-down terminals and terminals that might function as such, principally on high-speed facilities, were replaced. The SHA will continue to address this problem through a funding program dedicated to barrier improvements as well as through the inclusion of end treatment replacement in other improvement projects and barrier maintenance activities.

From: State of Maryland, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/21/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/1/2004 2:56:58 PM MC# 2040259

From: State of Maryland, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/10/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/10/2004 11:50:13 AM MC# 2040200

From: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 11/3/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) has requested that its Engineering District Offices upgrade any anchored-in-backslope terminals similar to the one in the Memphis, Tennessee, accident. The Board acknowledges the observations on guardrail design and installation highlighted in your letter as evidence of your commitment to safety and agrees that added emphasis on the proper installation of guardrails will improve traffic safety. Actions taken by PENNDOT will work to eliminate the safety hazard addressed by this recommendation; accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/19/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/24/2004 11:14:39 AM MC# 2040232 In response to recommendation H-04-15, we have notified our Engineering District Offices of this safety recommendation, and have asked that any identified backslope anchor sites similar in condition to the April 2002 Tennessee crash site be upgraded as part of scheduled rehabilitation work and/or maintenance repair/replacement work, particularly on the NHS and other high speed highways. PENNDOT recognizes the importance of roadside design features and is continually striving to improve our design and installation of roadside traffic barrier. This being said, we understand that there may be existing roadside traffic barriers sites that could be improved. As stated earlier, we believe that anchored backslope terminals are a good and proper solution provided they are installed correctly; this in fact applies to all types of guiderail terminals as well. Improved safety will be best realized when emphasis is placed on the proper installation of the whole guiderail system for the site conditions present (proper lengths, heights, terminals, etc.). We will continue to work both internally, and with AASHTO, on improving our design guidance with this and other roadside design safety issues. We thank the Board for notifying us of its findings and for its ongoing efforts to improving safety for the traveling public.

From: NTSB
To: State of Georgia, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Georgia has eliminated guardrails that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: State of Georgia, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 9/23/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/24/2008 1:08:58 PM MC# 2080586: The Georgia Department of Transportation has a project programmed and completed basic design plans. Several environmental issues have developed that have prohibited Georgia DOT from letting the project, and funding will be an issue in this ,fiscal year. Yes, Georgia has eliminated guardrails that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal

From: NTSB
To: State of Georgia, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: According to previous correspondence, Georgia's Department of Transportation committed to having each of its district offices review State routes under its jurisdiction and identify locations with guardrail terminals similar to the guardrail terminal observed in the accident. The Department will include a program initiative to address replacing these guardrail terminals. Georgia has not provided any new information.

From: State of Georgia, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/29/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/3/2007 8:39:12 AM MC# 2070308: Licensing rules do not address

From: NTSB
To: State of Georgia, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/3/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) will have each of its district offices review state routes under its jurisdiction and identify any locations that have anchored-in-backslope terminals. In addition, the Board notes that the GDOT will include a program initiative to address the replacement of anchored-in-backslope terminals that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal in its Safety Action Plan. As these planned actions are responsive to the Board's recommendation, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Open--Acceptable Response." Please advise the Safety Board when the replacement efforts have begun so that we may close the recommendation.

From: State of Georgia, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/11/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/20/2004 11:25:28 AM MC# 2040222 This is in response to your letter of April 21, 2004 regarding Safety Recommendation H-04-15 to identify guardrails with anchored-in-back slope terminals and eliminate any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. The Georgia Department of Transportation's action on this recommendation will be to have each of our district offices review the State Routes under their jurisdiction and identify any locations having this type of terminal. A program initiative will be added to the Department's Safety Action Plan to address the replacement of those terminals with a specific project or as part of planned construction or maintenance projects.

From: NTSB
To: State of Michigan, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that because anchored-in-backslope terminals in the State of Michigan remain at the same elevation as the main run of the guardrail, the height from the ground to the top of the guardrail remains constant all the way to the edge of the backslope. As a result, the Board acknowledges that the MDOT constructs anchored-in-backslope terminals in such a way that they do not create a turned-down terminal situation. Mr. Bott's letter states that the MDOT discontinued the use of the turned-down guardrail terminal years ago due to safety considerations and that the MDOT has no plans to adopt a guardrail terminal design with similar characteristics in the future. As a result, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Reconsidered."

From: State of Michigan, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/10/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/23/2004 9:34:26 AM MC# 2040286 The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) received your memorandum dated April 21, 2004, concerning anchored-in-backslope guardrail terminals. You specifically asked MDOT to identify and eliminate any anchored-in-backslope guardrail terminals on our roadway system that might be similar to a turned-down terminal (a.k.a. "Texas Twist"). The enclosed document, Special Detail 24, shows how MDOT constructs anchored-in-backslope guardrail terminals. You will notice that our anchored-in-backslope guardrail terminals remain at the same elevation as the main run of the guardrail. Therefore, the height from the ground to the top of the guardrail remains constant all the way to the edge of the backslope and the guardrail terminal flared away from the roadway. Consequently, we feel our design does not create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. MDOT discontinued the use of turned-down terminals years ago due to safety considerations and would never adopt a guardrail terminal design with similar characteristics. With the assistance of our Local Agency Program, we will pass this information on to our local county and city roadway partners. If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact Carlos Torres, Roadside Safety Specialist, at (517) 335-2852.

From: NTSB
To: State of New Hampshire, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Unacceptable Action” for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of New Hampshire, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: New Hampshire does not have any anchored-in-backslope terminals that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal. Its terminal standards are crashworthy and not subject to the vaulting or overturning that turned-down terminals are. New Hampshire uses 2 terminal designs; the older version tapers down gradually at a gentle 50:1 after it crosses the ditch line, and the newer version has improved grading. New Hampshire's annual program expends $2 million for guardrail safety upgrades and replacements that systematically address these issues; it has eliminated most of the turned-down terminals. According to information obtained subsequent to New Hampshire's annual letter, New Hampshire has used anchored-in-backslope terminals, but New Hampshire now uses the guideline from the FHWA's related memo (dated October 26, 2004) when designing or evaluating guardrail terminals. New Hampshire has not provided information on whether it has conducted an inventory of existing anchored-in-backslope terminals and developed a plan for eliminating existing terminals.

From: State of New Hampshire, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/27/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/8/2008 10:55:51 AM MC# 2080404: Regarding identifying guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminating any that cause a situation similar to a turned-down terminal, our Department of Transportation informs me that we do not have any anchored-inbackslope terminals that create a similar situation to turned down terminals. The standard that NH uses is crashworthy and not subject to the vaulting or overturning that turned-down terminal units are. We have two buried-in backslope designs, called E-1 and E-2. The E-2 is an improved version but very similar to the E-1 that it replaced, neither of which has tendencies toward overturning an impacting vehicle. The E-1 tapered down gradually at a gentle 50:l after it crossed the ditch line. There are improvements in grading that make the E-2 even more safe. NH has an annual program that expends $2 million a year for guardrail safety upgrades and replacements that systematically addresses these issues. We have eliminated most all of the turned-down terminal units in the State already as a result of this program. We understand the problem of anchored-in-backslope terminals that are constructed in artificial backslopes or fill piles, and the launching/vaulting effect they could have. We use the E-2 end terminals in all situations where there is a natural backslope/cut slope, because they do not have this proclivity.

From: NTSB
To: State of New Hampshire, Department of Transportation
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: New Hampshire has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Wyoming, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: On July 29, 2013, the Board approved appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8506) based on the following information: On October 26, 2004, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a policy memorandum to its field offices providing specific information on the proper design and use of the generic buried in backslope design that would address the NTSB’s concerns addressed in this safety recommendation. Staff recommends closing Safety Recommendation H 04 15 to those states reporting that they follow the guidance from this memorandum in conjunction with the National Cooperative Highway Research Programs (NCHRP) Report 350. Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Acceptable Action” for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Unacceptable Action” for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of Wyoming, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/6/2010
Response:

From: NTSB
To: State of Wyoming, Department of Transportation
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Wyoming's Department of Transportation continues to gather its inventory of guardrails, including those with anchored-in-backslope terminals. It has also implemented a highway safety improvement process with dedicated funding where these projects will be evaluated. Consideration is also given to guardrail not properly blocked out, what functional classification the road is, what the average daily traffic is, and other obvious deficiencies.

From: State of Wyoming, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/30/2008
Response: MC# 2080375: Wyoming continues to gather inventories, and additional employees were hired to assist in this effort. Wyoming has also implemented a highway safety improvement process with dedicated funding where these projects will be evaluated. Consideration must also be given to guardrail not properly blocked out, what functional classification the road is, what the average daily traffic is, and other obvious deficiencies.

From: State of Wyoming, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 6/14/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/25/2007 7:53:47 AM MC# 2070284: The Department of Transportation is currently inventorying guardrails, including those with anchored-in backslope terminals No report has been finalized.

From: NTSB
To: State of Texas, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/27/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has reviewed its State design standards for the past 25 years and has not found any designs with an anchored-in-backslope terminal. We also note that the TxDOT is not aware of any field installations similar to the one described in the Memphis, Tennessee, accident investigation. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of Texas, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/5/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/17/2004 2:01:11 PM MC# 2040213 In response to your letter of April 21, 2004, regarding safety recommendation H-04-15 we have reviewed our state design standards for the past twenty-five years and do find any designs with an anchored-in-backslope terminal shown. We are not aware any field installations similar to the installation described in your accident investigation. If you or your staff has any additional questions, please contact Mark A. Deputy Director of the Design Division at (512) 416-2653.

From: NTSB
To: State of Ohio, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/5/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that ODOT currently counts 250 buried-in-backslope guardrail end treatments installed on the Ohio State highway system that comply with National Cooperative Highway Research Programs Report 350. Following the Federal Highway Administration’s October 26, 2004, guidance, ODOT ensures that an appropriate recovery area is provided beyond and behind the guardrail and that the guardrail height is measured from the roadway grade, not from the ground directly below the rail. These actions satisfy the intent of this recommendation; accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified Closed Acceptable Action.

From: State of Ohio, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 8/29/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/29/2006 1:23:24 PM MC# 2060435:Attached you will find Ohio's response to NTSB Recommendation H-04-015 and our supporting enclosures. After reviewing the file I am of the opinion that our design of the buried in backslope meets the recommendations. One reason for this is that Ohio did not use the older design, but first introduced it to the state highway system much later, in 1999. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is replying to the National Transportation Safety Board regarding Safety Recommendation H-04-15. The NTSB asked ODOT and other state departments of transportation to “Identify guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminate any that create a situation similar to a turned-downed terminal.” ODOT first introduced the buried-in-backslope (BB) guardrail end treatment as a design standard in 1999. This design complies with crash testing criteria described in National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 350 and is approved by the Federal Highway Administration as shown in FHWA’s acceptance letter CC-53 dated 7/10/98. In Ohio, this same BB design is detailed on Standard Drawing GR-4.5 initially published on April 29, 1999 and revised slightly on April 18, 2003. Both drawings are enclosed. It is estimated there are now approximately 250 NCHRP Report 350 compliant BB installed on the state highway system. The NTSB buried-in-backslope recommendations are addressed in guidance given in an FHWA Safety Memorandum on “Guidelines for the Selection of W-beam Barrier Terminals” from 10/26/04 (also attached). In this guidance, FHWA addresses the need for designers to assure that a proper length of need is provided and that an appropriate recovery area is provided beyond and behind the rail if the backslope is significantly flatter than approximately 1H: 1V. The memo also states the guardrail height for a BB terminal design should be measured from the roadway grade and not from the ground directly below the rail. Those features are found on Ohio’s both standard drawings for the BB. The steepness of the backslope into which the BB is anchored is a design parameter and any backslope of 2H: 1V or flatter should provide at least an extra 75 feet of guardrail to provide the suggested recovery area. This minimum length is shown on the Standard Drawing in the Plan View on sheet 1 of 3, and further noted in the Length of Need Note on the same sheet. The second issue, that of the guardrail height, is also addressed on the Standard Drawing. Guardrail height is to be measured parallel from the edge of pavement, and this information is shown in the Elevation View, also on sheet 1. This BB design meets the condition for use as stated in FHWA’s 2004 Safety Memo, so it is believed the ODOT’s existing design is compliant with NTSB recommendations and no further actions are necessary.

From: NTSB
To: State of Arizona, Department of Transportation
Date: 12/5/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that due to geography and roadside maintenance needs, ADOT does not use anchored-in-backslope guardrail installations on Arizona State or Interstate highways. This standard practice of ADOT was in place prior to the Board’s issuing its recommendation. Therefore, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified Closed Reconsidered.

From: State of Arizona, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 8/18/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/21/2006 8:44:32 AM MC# 2060412:The FHWA nationally has long pushed the use of buried-in-backslope guardrail-end treatments as a viable alternative. Arizona has not adopted this type of end treatment for the following reasons: 1. We feel that a flat approach is needed to any guardrail system so that a vehicle approaching remains stable before any impact. In order to anchor a guardrail in a backslope, the guardrail run must traverse a ditch prior to the location of an anchor in the backslope. This ditch is typically 6:1 and is used for drainage along the roadway. In order to flatten this area, the ditch must be filled in to provide a flatter slope. This interrupts the drainage flow and would require very expensive drainage pipe to be installed to alleviate blocking the ditch. 2. There is very much emphasis on the crashworthiness of guardrail-end treatments. We are not satisfied that the interface area where the anchor is buried is suitable for a crash. If the backslope is excavated to place an anchor, it is very difficult to backfill over the anchor and guardrail connect area and keep the slope stable. Also, different types of granular backslopes are unsuitable or unstable for this type of application. 3. The further away a guardrail is placed from the edge of the roadway, the higher is the likelihood that an approach vehicle will impact the rail at a higher angle and cause more serious injury to the occupants. On wide ditches, the flare to the backslope may be 20 ft from the edge of pavement, thereby increasing this possibility. 4. Our maintenance folks need to get equipment into the ditches to clean them out on occasion and a guardrail across the ditch prevents this activity.

From: NTSB
To: State of Alaska, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Date: 7/29/2013
Response: On July 29, 2013, the Board approved appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8506) based on the following information: On October 26, 2004, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a policy memorandum to its field offices providing specific information on the proper design and use of the generic buried in backslope design that would address the NTSB’s concerns addressed in this safety recommendation. Staff recommends closing Safety Recommendation H 04 15 to those states reporting that they follow the guidance from this memorandum in conjunction with the National Cooperative Highway Research Programs (NCHRP) Report 350. Five states (AK, CO, KY, MS, and NH) have eliminated all turned down end terminals on their highways and use terminals constructed in accordance with current federal standards for all new construction and rehabilitation projects; therefore, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION for these five states. Despite multiple follow up attempts by NTSB staff, six states (DE, ID, LA, MO, NM, and WY) have not provided further information on their efforts to address this issue. Because it is unlikely that maintaining this recommendation in an “open” status would solicit any further action, Safety Recommendation H 04 15 is classified “Closed?Unacceptable Action” for these five states.

From: NTSB
To: State of Alaska, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Date: 8/4/2009
Response: On August 4, 2009, the Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 8129) based on the following information: Alaska has eliminated all turned down ends on its highways. All new anchored-in-backslope terminals are constructed in accordance with Federal standards. Alaska has not confirmed whether it follows the FHWA memo (dated October 26, 2004) when identifying and upgrading guardrail terminals.

From: State of Alaska, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
To: NTSB
Date: 7/28/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/12/2008 3:54:55 PM MC# 2080480: We have eliminated all turned down ends on the National Highway System. All new buried in backslope terminals are constructed in accordance with federal standards.

From: NTSB
To: State of Alaska, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Board reviewed and made appropriate changes to the status of this recommendation (Notation 7983) based on the following information: Alaska has not provided information on whether it has identified guardrails with anchored-in-backslope terminals and eliminated any that create a situation similar to a turned-down terminal.

From: NTSB
To: State of Arkansas, Highway and Transportation Department
Date: 12/22/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the Arkansas State Highway Commission knows of no guardrail terminals in Arkansas similar to the one found in the accident in Memphis, Tennessee. The Board further notes that if similar terminals do exist, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will upgrade them to current standards as highways are reconstructed. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed-Reconsidered."

From: State of Arkansas, Highway and Transportation Department
To: NTSB
Date: 5/26/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 6/3/2004 11:59:50 AM MC# 2040274 We are unaware of a guardrail terminal in Arkansas that is like the one found in your study. However, if similar terminals exist, they will be upgraded when a project along that section of highway is reconstructed. The upgrade of guardrail that does not meet current standards is a current practice for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department when state highways in Arkansas are reconstructed.

From: State of Illinois, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 8/18/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 8/30/2005 9:01:14 AM MC# 2050396

From: NTSB
To: State of Illinois, Department of Transportation
Date: 7/28/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes that IDOT sent a memo to its district offices on June 4, 2004, requesting an inventory of turned-down guardrail end sections and applications of the buried-in-backslope guardrail terminals that constitute a configuration similar to the turned-down design. IDOT further cautioned that (1) the turned-down terminals are outdated and provide no protection to errant vehicles and (2) they should be removed and replaced with approved National Cooperative Highway Research Program 350 devices when IDOT is performing resurfacing, restoration, rehabilitation, or damage repair of areas as required by its policies. Thank you for enclosing a copy of that memo with your letter. In the memo, IDOT encouraged the districts to replace turned-down terminals on other project contracts when the opportunity and funding make it possible. In addition, the department took action to identify the locations of and to inventory turned-down terminals on its National Highway System routes in summer 2004 and on its other State routes in fall 2004; both efforts were completed by October 1, 2004, and IDOT furnished Safety Board staff with a summary of the findings. We further note that IDOT has asked its district offices to track the replacement of turned-down terminals and notify the Office of the Secretary annually of the status of replacements. Your letter also indicated that, in addition to these actions, IDOT will develop a policy statement to address the hazardous turned-down designs and will include information to assist designers to identify them, as well as recommendations to improve the safety of the roadside at these locations. These combined actions and IDOT's commitment to eliminating the problem guardrail terminals constitute an acceptable means of addressing this recommendation; consequently, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: State of Illinois, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 11/18/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 12/1/2004 1:39:59 PM MC# 2040699 Your November 3, 2004 correspondence encourages the department to complete its inventory as soon as practical and establish a firm schedule for their replacement. The department identified the locations and completed an inventory of these types of terminals on its NHS routes on August 2. 2004. The inventory of terminals on our remaining state routes was completed by October 1, 2004. We have asked our district offices to track the replacement of these devices and notify our office annually of the status of replacements. Our June 4, 2004 memo to our district offices (enclosed) requesting an inventory of these described terminals also stated that these outdated terminals provide no protection to errant vehicles and should be removed and replaced with approved NCHRP 350 devices when required by our policies (3R, damage repair, etc.). We have encouraged the districts to replace these terminals on other contracts when the opportunity and funding make it possible. We will develop a policy statement to address the hazardous buried-backslope designs and will include information to assist designers to identify them as well as recommendations to improve the safety of the roadside at these locations.

From: NTSB
To: State of Illinois, Department of Transportation
Date: 11/3/2004
Response: In its May 13, 2004, response, IDOT reports that it is likely that there are installations in Illinois where anchored-in-backslope terminals create a situation similar to a turned-down end section. The Safety Board notes that IDOT has reported to the Federal Highway Administration that, while it does not have a formal replacement schedule for turned-down terminals, it has replaced some sections on the Interstate and National Highway System roadways. Mr. David Piper, IDOT Highway Policy Engineer, advised Safety Board staff in May that an inventory of turned-down terminals was planned for later this year, and that anchored-in-backslope installations that created the effect of a turned-down terminal would be included in the inventory. Mr. Piper also reported that he has obtained photographs of the guardrail installation in Memphis, Tennessee, and intends to use them to issue guidance to district operations offices concerning the hazard. The Safety Board encourages IDOT to complete the inventory of hazardous terminals as soon as practicable and then establish a firm schedule for their replacement. Appropriate district offices should also be directed to replace hazardous terminals with safer designs whenever they are damaged in an accident. The Board is interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure the public the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. Therefore, please provide an update when the inventory is completed and guidance is issued to district offices. Pending completion of the inventory and replacement of hazardous buried-in-backslope terminals, Safety Recommendation H-04-15 is classified "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: State of Illinois, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/20/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/20/2004 10:30:48 AM MC# 2040220

From: State of Illinois, Department of Transportation
To: NTSB
Date: 5/13/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/20/2004 10:36:02 AM MC# 2040220 This described configuration arises when the buried-in-backslope terminal is used where design hazards exist along a steep backslope or a horizontal curve. This configuration is not shown on the Illinois Highway Standard for the buried-in-backslope terminal, Standard 631006, "Traffic Barrier Terminal, Type 1 B." This standard shows the buried-end section in a backslope beginning near the terminal location and not extending behind the run of guardrail. However, there is currently no design guidance to avoid such configurations where the backslope continues. It is likely that there are installations in Illinois for which the Type 1 B configuration does create a situation similar to a turned-down end section. On July 23, 2003, A. George Ostensen, Associate Administrator for Safety, sent to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) division administrators and others at FHWA a memo, HSA-1, with the topic, "ACTION: Review and Assess Progress Towards Eliminating Turned-Down W-Beam Terminals on the Interstate System." This memorandum requested information on each state's replacement policy and schedule for removal.of these devices from the Interstate, as well as high-speed National Highway System (NHS) highways. On October 3, 2003, the Illinois Division Office of the FHWA sent a reply to the above inquiry. That reply had been developed and coordinated with the department. The reply notes the level of progress, as well as department policies supporting replacement of turned-down end sections. It also notes that although Illinois does not have a formal schedule for replacement, Illinois is very sincere in eliminating and mitigating roadway hazards on its system and has successfully replaced the turned-down sections on the Interstate system and the majority of the balance on the NHS highways. The department has worked closely with the FHWA, Illinois Division Office, on incorporating National Cooperative Highway Research Program 350 requirements within standards and polices. In an effort to continue to address roadside safety needs, the department has committed to complete an inventory of any remaining turned-down end sections on the Interstate system and high-speed NHS highways. Illinois has begun an internal review process of the remaining turned-down end sections on the required routes. We will add the turned-down end sections to our inventory. Upon completion of this inventory, we can develop a more detailed schedule for replacement of any turned-down end sections and hazardous buried-in-backslope installations. Additionally, we will revise our design policies to provide improved guidance on the selection, design and installation of the buried-in-backslope terminal. Thank you for your recommendation and the opportunity to improve the safety of our highway system. If you have any questions, please contact David Piper, Highway Policy Engineer, 2300 South Dirksen Parkway, Room 330, Springfield, Illinois 62764, or telephone him at (217) 785-0720.