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Just what is a K Rail?

Just what is a K Rail

While this description can be universal, the word “k rail” (also spelled “k-rail”) is most commonly used in the state of California to describe the classic jersey shape barrier or barricade.

Concrete barriers have been used on highways since the 1940s along the Californian coast, but the tried-and-true “jersey” shape we know today has been in use since the 1950s along New Jersey highways. It has evolved with highway safety regulations over the course of the past 70 years. Height has increased, and, while they were first (and most commonly still are) formed from concrete, new materials (i.e. plastic) have entered the scene in recent years.

Concrete k rails or… bust?

As an easy-to-source material when the k rail first appeared on US highways, concrete was the primary choice for creating these highway lane separators for years. However, plastic made its entrance as a main contender for the material of choice in recent years. It doesn’t look like it going anywhere anytime soon! Why, you ask? Plastic has statistically been shown to reduce the overall damage of impact when part of a collision at higher speeds. It is also much easier to transport and can be used in both permanent and temporary installations. Many concrete barriers are poured into place and reinforced with steel rebar, making them incredibly heavy and often only useful for permanent needs.

What are normal k rail dimensions and k rail weight?

OTW carries two sizes of what you might call a k rail. The classic height for a k rail is 32 inches, and our 32” jersey shape barricade stands at just that. Each one is 72 inches long and 24 inches wide. The 32” barricade is available in standard or heavy-weight, respectively weighing 64 and 100 pounds when empty. Ballasted, they can weigh upwards of 900 pounds to truly have a substantial presence!

As you might guess, our 42” jersey shape barricade stands 42 inches high. It is also 72 inches long and 24 inches wide. Empty, each 42” barricade weighs 78 pounds. When ballasted with water, they really pull their weight: each is capable of weighing up to 950 pounds!

Extra, extra, k rails (and more) for sale!

Alongside the jersey-shape barricade, OTW also offers longitudinal channelizing devices (LCDs) of similar size, shape, and weight. These channelizing devices are created for high speeds and impact, and our 42” LCD is also created in the jersey shape profile. It is the only 42” TL-3 (high-speed crash) rated barricade on the market and is excellent for use along stretches of highway where traffic flows quickly. The 32” LCD is a perfect blend of the jersey shape and the less-known f-shape barrier, giving it an equally strong structure in a smaller size profile. Find these for purchase alongside our fantastic k rails (jersey shape barricades) under our “products” tab!

Orange OTW k rails (jersey shaped barricades) line a pathway next to a building with a sign saying "SafeWay coming soon!" in the window

OTW Safety has been an expert in the safety industry for 30 years, and the k rail has long been a part of that expertise. As safety regulations and rules have evolved, so too has our version of the k rail, the jersey shape barricade. Each barricade is made with care, and every consideration was made when designing our tried and true product. We stand behind every barricade that leaves our warehouse!

Ready to partner with OTW for your k rail needs?

Contact us today!