Counter-Terrorism: Children of the Jersey Barrier

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September 27, 2005: Most of us are familiar with the concrete "Jersey barriers" that separate lanes of traffic on roadways where medians are narrow. Moreover, portable versions are commonly found during highway construction. Made of 1½ cubic yards of concrete, often with reinforcing rods, the standard barrier is 12½-feet long and 32-inches high, and weighs about 2.9 tons. Designed so that they interlock, a row of portable Jersey barriers presents a formidable obstacle to vehicles trying to go where they are not supposed to be.

Named after the New Jersey Turnpike, which first introduced them over 50 years ago, variants of Jersey Barriers are found world-wide. In addition to helping to provide greater safety on highways, the Jersey barrier has proven a useful in the war on terrorist violence. So useful, in fact, that the Jersey Barrier now has offspring

· Texas Barriers: 6-foot tall versions of the standard barrier

· Alaska Barriers: 12-versions.

In Iraq, Jersey, Texas, and Alaska barriers are used to help create "off sets" to protect buildings against bomb-laden vehicles from approaching to closely, can be used to create "serpentine" approaches at check points, forcing vehicles into complex maneuvers that reduce their speeds, and are even used to strengthen the defenses of isolated outposts in Iraq's western desert.

 


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