There are many reasons why plastic water filled barriers are chosen over steel barriers. For many, it is a matter of cost while for others it is the ability to transport the barriers when needed. Although there are many benefits to plastic barriers there are some disadvantages too.
What are plastic barriers?
Plastic barriers are hollow plastic structures that are formed from polyethylene. They are manufactured to be lightweight and portable, some gaining additional strength and stability from being filled with water or sand once they are onsite. They are effective for traffic control on highways and around work sites. Plastic barriers are also very useful for crowd control and pedestrian walkways. They are available in various shapes, sizes, colors and price ranges.
Plastic barriers are made of a light weight polyethylene which is much lighter than other barriers. The lighter design makes these barriers very portable and a great option for temporary work sites and events. Trucking costs are also substantially lower due to the lighter design. Since they are not permanently attached to the ground, they can be reused many times which will save the cost of having to purchase new barriers.
Less Labor Intensive
Their portability and lightweight also means they are less labor intensive and can be handled and installed easily by two individuals. Many designs allow for movement of the barriers with a forklift. Special 6” wide grooves designed into the barriers allow for easy lifting and relocation. The male / female interlocking design makes it easy to create a continuous wall without the use of cables or pins.
The polyethylene plastic comes in a wide variety of colors which allow them to be easily seen even from a distance. Visibility is a vital component of the plastic barriers effectiveness. An ultraviolet light inhibitor is added to the plastic to insure the colors won’t fade when exposed to long periods of sunlight. Since the barriers are made from polyethylene, they are 100% recyclable and will not end up in landfills.
Each barrier is molded to a thickness of 8mm to ensure they do not burst upon filling. They will not crack or break under normal use and are built to withstand the elements over long periods of time. They also have large drains to prevent water from backing up behind the barriers.
There are a variety of sizes and design available, the lower heights are ideal when visibility may be impaired by utilizing a higher barrier. Plastic barriers are a great choice for temporary projects which may require continued relocation of the barriers. They can be moved between worksites or events with ease and stored when not in use.
Most are based on their strength limits when utilized in areas where large vehicles like tractor trailers and construction vehicles are more apt to collide with the barriers. They will not provide the same level of protection against workers and equipment that steel barriers are able to.
Plastic barriers are a great choice for roadway safety, crowd control, and parking installations. They are lightweight, portable and more cost-effective than concrete barriers while providing the level of safety necessary for your project. However, it is important to understand the weaknesses they do possess to allow for proper adaptations and precautions to be taken in specialty situations.