Aircraft Carrier technology in new escape ramp catches runaway trucks

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GARDEN CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – It’s unlike anything ever built before in Utah. A brand new escape ramp that literally catches runaway trucks. UDOT has now opened the ramp with its state of the art catch-net cable system.

The new ramp cost $5 million to make and is a first for the state, but this type of ramp has been used in Nevada and Wyoming.

“We take every opportunity we can to enhance safety on our roads,” UDOT Project Manager Tom Roylance said. “Installing this runaway truck ramp is a solution that will really make a big difference for truck drivers as well as residents, businesses, and tourists in Garden City.”

How does it work? If you have seen movies like ‘Top Gun,’ where they show a jet plane landing on an aircraft carrier, and the catch-net stops the plane? The new safety ramp works on the same principle as an aircraft carrier.

According to a press release sent to ABC4 by UDOT, “The escape ramp uses a concrete chute to guide runaway trucks into the correct position, where cable restraints are then used to stop the trucks. When a truck hits the cables, they are designed to wrap around the truck, causing it to lose speed and eventually stop.

Zach Whitney from UDOT said, ” We built this one here because of the steep grade, and not a lot of room, this type of ramp has bee used where there is not a lot of room, and the topography creates limited inclines.”

The goal is to provide truck drivers with a safe way to slow down in a short amount of time and distance.

UDOT states, ” The new cable barrier system is located near the end of the steep downhill section of U.S. 89. At a safe distance from busy intersections or driveways along the highway farther east in Garden City. It also provides drivers with a straight section of road and sufficient distance for them to see the ramp and safely steer onto it in an emergency.”

The project was started in May of last year after four semi-truck crashes in 2019. The construction is finished and the ramp is now ready to use.

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