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AAA Wants Federal Board To Investigate Barriers Along Bay Bridge Roadway

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AAA wants a federal board to investigate the barriers separating the road on the bridge from the water below.
WAMU/Rebecca Blatt
AAA wants a federal board to investigate the barriers separating the road on the bridge from the water below.

The automotive group AAA is asking the National.Transportation Safety Board to investigate the concrete barriers on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

The request to board chairwoman Deborah Hersman comes in the wake of an incident last Friday when a car went up and over the four-foot-tall barriers lining the bridge. The driver survived the four-story plunge into the bay.

The concrete barriers, known as "Jersey barriers," are about a half-foot from the road and between three and four feet. They're all that separates vehicles from the bay during most of the four-mile span. The height of the bridge ranges from 40 feet at either end to 186 feet at its highest point.

“We believe this crash merits investigation by the NTSB, and call upon your agency to undertake an investigation,” wrote Mid-Atlantic AAA's Lon Anderson to Hersman. He specifically asked that the board look into whether the barriers are adequate for protecting against incidents as the one which occurred on Friday.

“This clearly raises questions about whether there was a failure of the specific restraint system used on the bridge, and whether it met federal specifications, or whether the federal specifications for bridge barriers are inadequate to restrain a vehicle in this type of crash. If so, does it warrant an examination of the adequacy of those federal specifications?”, wrote Anderson.

In 2010 Travel & Leisure magazine listed the bridge as among the world's scariest Various companies offer drive-over services for motorists who do not like crossing the span.

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