Not for Crash Dummies
We don’t talk much about bollards and barriers, but it’s a part of security that captures my curiosity. Maybe it is just because I like the crash dummies. Part of me hasn’t grown up yet; I like cars.
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Jan 01, 2012
On my work desk I have quite a collection of diecast
cars, including a couple of race cars from the
Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, a No. 19 Elliot Sadler
Stanley NASCAR, an HSM electronic protection services
Aston Martin and 1958 Lincoln. Just to keep
all these “toys” in line, I have a 2005 Crown Victoria
Texas State Trooper car.
Portable barriers seem like an economical means to
provide security at some pretty high-level events. Not
so long ago, the city of Pittsburgh welcomed leaders
from the world’s most powerful economic nations by
hosting the G-8 conference. City officials deployed
nearly a dozen 12- and 16-foot mobile deployable vehicle
In this case, the barriers were manufactured by
Delta Scientific, and the MP5000s were towed into
position and controlled vehicle access within 15 minutes.
Roadway excavation was not needed because
there is no subsurface preparation.
Crash barriers are pretty handy to have around if
you want to stop a vehicle. The barriers deployed in
Pittsburgh have a K4 rating, which means they are
capable of stopping a 7.5-ton vehicle traveling at 35
miles per hour. A K8 rating will stop the same vehicle
traveling at 40 mph.
“From a purchasing standpoint, it can be easier to
purchase portable barriers than permanent ones,” said
David Dickinson, senior vice president at Delta. “The
latter are oftentimes placed into an organization’s real
assets budget because they are permanently installed
into the ground, becoming part of the property.
“Such budgets often create complex purchasing
scenarios. However, purchasing portable barriers is
no different than buying a golf cart or new set of
wrenches for the maintenance department.”
Mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers are used
worldwide. They can be towed into place by a threequarter
ton pickup, or as seen in the loose sands of
the Middle East, by a military-grade Humvee. Many
portable barricades are being used to protect troops
from vehicle bomb attacks throughout Afghanistan.
“Both the operation of the barrier as well as deployment
and retrieval are push-button controlled,”
Dickinson said. “A standard system includes a battery-
operated power unit, replenished from either a
solar array or local low-voltage source.”
Portable barriers also have become quite popular
at stadiums and concert venues on many college and
university campuses. As quickly as they can be pulled
into place prior to any event, they can easily be removed
to preserve the aesthetic nature of the campus
once the event has been completed.
Aside from the use of a barrier, security experts
also rely on bollards to complement security on campuses
With its historical significance and cultural value,
there is an abundant amount of foot and vehicle traffic
at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and
Museum in Simi Valley, Calif. Security measures are
paramount not only because of the buildings and
valuable contents, but this is where the former president
Security experts at the campus have included not
only bollards but a perimeter cabling system used to
protect pedestrians, the library and museum grounds.
Hundreds of researchers visit Simi Valley every year
to access the library’s extensive archival holdings:
nearly 50 million pages of documentation, more than
1.5 million photographs and large amounts of film
It seems like it would be a difficult task to ensure
fence wires stay at a proper height, given the propensity
of ground movement in California, but security
experts employ the use of a buried anchor or deadman,
which with a length of light chain or galvanized
wire is attached and buried in the low area. The end
of the chain or wire is exposed, aboveground, so it
can be tied to the fence wires above. In designing a
deadman, cast-off pieces of iron can be used. Almost
anything will work if it’s heavy enough. In Simi Valley,
concrete is used.
“Cables are placed at 30 inches and 35 inches above
ground,” Dickinson said. “The other end of the cables
are terminated with ‘thimbled’ ends and attached to the
anchor bolts with turnbuckles and jaws.”
I suppose with the state of terrorism these days, it
should come as no surprise to anyone that such fortifications
In College Station, Texas, there sits the 90-acre
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Decorative bollards protect the roadways that
lead into the campus itself. They are usually kept in
the upright position but can be lowered to allow authorized
vehicles to pass. Without question, security
is important to the facility.
The reason for such tight security is that the library’s
collections include 38 million pages of official
and personal papers. There are 1 million photographs,
2,500 hours of videotape and 70,000 museum objects.
The bollard system protecting the facility allows the
bollard to operate individually or in groups up to 10
at a time.
This article originally appeared in the January 2012 issue of Security Today.