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For the latest updates on construction of high-tension cable barriers see 2020 Construction.


A high-tension cable barrier (HTCB) is a roadside barrier made of 3 or 4 high-tension cables. The barrier is designed to contain and redirect vehicles that leave the road.

HTCBs are designed to restrain:

  • buses
  • semi-trailers
  • long combination vehicles
  • regular commuter vehicles
high-tension cable barrier by an Alberta highway

Safety benefits

HTCBs help prevent serious collisions on highways by reducing the number of vehicles that cross the median into oncoming traffic. Other benefits include:

  • HTCB cables “give” and absorb the impact of the hitting vehicle
  • the hitting vehicle tends to travel along the cable barrier until it comes to a stop, resulting in less damage to the vehicle, and fewer severe injuries to vehicle occupants
  • most vehicles that strike the HTCB are able to drive away:
    • approximately 94% of collisions with a HTCB result in only property damage
    • no collision reports are filed for more than 10% of recorded hits
  • an HTCB can retain much of its tension after a hit, and can take additional hits until repaired

HTCB placement

Several Alberta highways now use HTCBs, instead of traditional guardrail installations in the median or on the side of the road. You can find HTCBs along many roads throughout the province, particularly on the roadside of undivided highways.

Some of the more lengthy installations of median barrier along divided highways are at:

  • Deerfoot Trail through Calgary
  • various locations along Highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary
  • Anthony Henday Drive in Edmonton
  • Highway 16A west of Edmonton
  • Stoney Trail in Calgary
  • Highway 1 west of Calgary
  • select locations in southern Alberta

2020 Construction

Beginning May 19, 2020 high tension cable barriers will be installed on Highway 2, between the City of Red Deer and the City of Leduc.  Work is anticipated to start near Leduc, and take approximately 10 weeks to complete (weather permitting). There will be no construction over long weekends.

Speed reductions and lane closures will be in place and travellers may experience minor delays. Drivers are advised to watch for all and obey all posted signage. For up to date information on this project, by phone (call 511 toll-free) or visit 511 Alberta.

HTCB resources


For more information about high-tension cable barriers on Alberta highways:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 403-297-2510
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

Technical Standards Branch
2nd Floor, Twin Atria Building
4999 98 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta  T6B 2X3

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