When activated by a computerized control system,
pistons driven by air-pneumatic pressure would force all of the six-inch steel
barriers out of the road to create a formidable obstacle to head-on crash.
Deciding which barrier to use would depend on which direction the heaviest
commute is occurring. Bridge directors have long claimed, a barrier must be Movable
so that four traffic lanes can be maintained in either direction
during heavy commutes.
| “You could raise and lower the barrier
without having workers risking their lives out on the bridge placing and
removing cones” that are currently used to divide opposing traffic,
Guernsey said. Guernsey unveiled his “Retractable Delineator System,” the
fruit of three years’ work, yesterday at the Marin Civic Center in San
Rafael. Because it is much
narrower than existing models, Guernsey says it answers the bridge
district’s long-held stance that a barrier would take up too much room on a
span where traffic lanes are unusually narrow.
Guernsey's barrier has even prompted one bridge director, Marin Supervisor Hal Brown, to say it’s an “exciting” development in the search for I ways to make the bridge safer for motorists.
The premiere adds further steam to the median barrier issue, which has been rekindled by a head-on crash victim’s lawsuit and an ongoing petition drive to provide voters the chance to demand further studies on a barrier’s feasibility.
| Until now, the most accepted form of Movable barrier is
made of concrete slabs connected by pliable steel belts. Bridge directors have
long held that such a barrier is unworkable because its two-foot thickness
would take up too much space on a span where traffic lanes already are
unusually narrow. Guernsey says
his barriers answer that concern “because they’re no wider than the
lines dividing traffic lanes, give or take a few inches.”
The one sticking point: an
estimated price tag of up to $20 million. Brown,
the one Bridge Board member who attended yesterday’s unveiling, said
Guernsey’s system causes him to believe that the Bridge Board should
reconsider its stance that a barrier to prevent head-on crashes is unworkable. “I don’t think there’s ever been an invention like this
that’s ever been brought before the board before,” he said.
But Carney Campion, the
district’s general manager, said he resented Guernsey’s attempt to gain
accolades through the news media before even approaching bridge engineers. Chairman-Robert Guernsey, A Conceptualist in
Designs & Engineering, made a requested in September of 1995, to the
president of the Board; Mr. Robert McDonald, to go before the full Board of
Directors for a presentation of the patented Retractable Delineator System.
His request was declined. This action forced Mr. Guernsey to hold a press
conference on February 20, 1996 in San Rafael, to show the public that a
Movable Median Traffic Barrier would work on the world famous Golden Gate
“We’ve been inviting him to present his idea to us for three years so we
could try to stop his attempt in traffic safety on our span, and
he’s never come to a meeting,” Campion said. “If he’s going to do
something with our structure, he should at least let us give our two cents
about what will work.” Even Brown admitted the high cost of such a barrier
means tax payers would likely be asked to foe at least some of the bill.
Fairfax resident, Lucien Remy is helping Robert Guernsey in leading a drive to place an advisor initiative before Marin voters in November that would ask the Bridge Board to launch new studies into ways of preventing head-on crashes, including new barrier concepts and "New Ideas" for safety on the bridge.