Slow It Down
Don’t let choosing the correct traffic control system become a burden to you
- By Greg Hamm
- September 15, 2022
Protecting perimeters, buildings, property and people is no
small responsibility, whether it is an embassy, a school, factory
or farmers market. Knowing you have the right equipment in
place to secure your facility and to prevent human tragedies
brings a peace of mind that no amount of money can buy.
Carefully researching available options and consulting with
experts will ultimately lead to the right solution for you. Keeping
pedestrians safe, protecting structures from accidental or intentional
automobile crashes, and force protection (keeping employees and
visitors from harm) have always been a concern. From pedestrian-filled farmers markets and universities to new and used car lots, a
wide variety of agencies find peace of mind using barriers, barricades,
bollards and crash gates for vehicle-based physical access control at
You might be surprised at how versatile perimeter protection
equipment has become, even in difficult installation environments.
Here is a look at what is available in the world of physical security
today. From sturdy, portable crash barriers that can be towed into
place to barricades that will stop a 15-ton truck in its tracks, going 50
miles per hour, physical access control has evolved and adapted. No
matter how large, small or temporary the application may be, there is
a security solution.
With a crash rating as high as K54 in widths up to 240 inches, a
lowered wedge barrier will allow the flow of authorized vehicles. These security barricades are the first line of defense at critical
facilities including embassies, nuclear facilities, military bases and
corporate headquarters. They provide high-speed operations, shallow
foundations and sleek designs that are aesthetically pleasing and
extremely effective. With security systems built for high-traffic
locations requiring rapid emergency fast operation rates, these
counter-terrorism barricade systems can meet and exceed
governments’ highest-level requirements.
Surface mounted wedge barricades feature quick installation into
difficult locations such as parking-structure ramps or areas with subsurface
drainage problems. The shallow foundation barriers eliminate
concerns about interference with buried pipes, power lines and fiber
optic communication lines. It also reduces installation complexity,
time, materials and corresponding costs. These types of barriers are
suitable for high water table locations and areas with corrosive soils.
Crash rated, lowered barriers allow passage of authorized vehicles
and are available in widths up to 240 inches. Surface mounted
barricades are very easy to install and provide high security vehicle
access-control system for banks, city and federal government offices,
museums, corporate buildings, factories, oil refineries, railway, airport
and other transportation hubs, as well as other facilities threatened by
truck bomb attack, errant drivers or car-crashing thieves.
High security, shallow foundation barriers are available for
advanced counter-terrorism applications in sub-surface conditions
that negate extensive excavations. This type of barricade was designed
for the Navy, and used at U.S. embassies. Set in a foundation only 18
inches deep, shallow foundation barriers are able to survive and
operate after a 1.2 million foot-pound impact.
In the lowered position, the shallow foundation barrier ramp is
completely flush with the roadway. Buttresses, counterweights and
road plates do not obstruct authorized pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
The barrier is raised and lowered to and from the guard position via
hydraulic cylinders driven by a hydraulic power unit. This unit can be
configured to provide pass-through rates of 3 to 15 seconds, suitable
for most inspection and identification station requirements. However,
when danger is imminent, the barricade rises in less than 2 seconds.
With the price of steel going higher, a new type of barrier provides
multiple hit capabilities in an open frame barrier design. This barrier is
fully-operational after the force of a M50 impact. The fact that no-assist
devices are used to operate this electro-mechanical barrier is something
completely new to the industry. In addition, the fact that little rebar is
needed in the very small foundation is a win for the end user.
Crash rated beams are available in hydraulic, electric and manually
operated models. They carry ratings from M30 to M50 with
penetration levels up to P1 (3’ or less). Adjustable speed options are
available with the ability to provide an Emergency Fast Operation of
less than 2 seconds if required.
Beam barriers are the perfect solution for ingress and egress
applications where good vehicle throughput is needed without having
to disturb the roadway during installation. The buttresses sit on either
side of the road with only the beam perched above it. They are an
ideal solution to deter theft from parking lots and used at government
facilities, military bases, airports and public and private entities.
Bollards move up and down, and are aesthetically pleasing and allow
pedestrians to move between them in non-roadway
applications. Manual versions are counter-balanced, and lock in the
up or down position, with minimal effort. Models are crash-rated and
lowered to allow passage of authorized vehicles. Automated bollards
can be activated as quickly as two seconds.
High-security bollard systems operate individually, or in groups of
up to 10, and used for intermediate to high-level security applications.
Individual bollards are up to 13.25 inches in diameter, up to 39.3
inches high and usually mounted on 3-foot centers. Hydraulic and
pneumatic, electromechanical and manual versions can be operated
by a variety of control systems.
They are available with a variety of decorative covers and the
architect may design their own cast covers to reflect architectural
details of the facility. You can specify cast sleeves of aluminum,
fiberglass or brushed stainless steel, all of which slip right over the
crash tube. Crash rated bollards may be fitted with an internal
warning light for increased visibility and engineered to suit high-volume
Fixed post versions are available to secure the sides of roadways
with the same crash rating and appearance.
Portable plate barricades provide security against vehicle-based terrorism or thefts for high-cycle locations such as the entrances to
large office facilities, government agencies and military bases. Able to
deploy in high-traffic locations for full manual or automatic operation
within two hours, the quick deployment modular barricades lie level
to the ground to allow vehicles to pass and raised or lowered into
position using a hydraulic cylinder driven by a hydraulic power unit
or manually operated.
Others are self-contained and are stored and towed on their own
trailers. Municipalities, event organizers and others that stage
temporary events, ranging from farmers markets to concerts and
sporting events that need a commercial barrier towed into place to
protect attendees as well as against an errant driver.
Towable barricades answer the need of organizations that require
a temporary barricade system to protect against a specific threat or
secure a facility during special events. The self-contained unit placed
in position, controls vehicle access within 15 minutes. Once
positioned, the mobile barricade unpacks itself by using hydraulics to
raise and lower itself off its wheels. Simply plug in standard 120v or
220v power and you are ready to go. The unit is M40 certified and
comes in lengths of 12, 16 and 20 feet.
Portable bollards also offer M30 and M50 protection with easy
setup and maneuverability. They can be used in conjunction with the
unit described above to provide M50 protection. Portable bollards
allow law enforcement and security providers to create a high security
special event barricades that block access to temporary venues where
vehicles can be used as weapons against large numbers of pedestrians.
From airports to embassies, from warehouses to depots, high-security
crash rated gates stop unauthorized pedestrians and vehicles from
entering places that they do not belong. Some models operate without
contact with the ground across the opening. There is a manually
operated swing gate and others operate with rack and pinion drives
across V-groove wheel ground tracks while incorporating IR safety
beam and safety edges. Swing versions are also available.
The clear openings range from 12 to 30 feet. The standard height
for all, except the swing gate, is 109 inches. Not only can crash rated
gates withstand impacts as high as a 15,000 lb. vehicle striking at 50
MPH and suffer no significant damage, but they also can look good
too. Sliding high security gates are powered by either electromechanical
or hydraulic systems. Perimeter entry control high
security gates are found at airports, power plants, embassies, military
installations and government facilities.
No Application Too Large or Small
Protecting perimeters of facilities is no small responsibility. Knowing
you have the right equipment in place to secure the facility and to
prevent human tragedy brings a peace of mind that no amount of
money can buy. Carefully researching available options and
consulting with experts will ultimately lead to the right solution.
This article originally appeared in the September / October 2022 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.