Title:
Nestable traffic barrier
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A traffic control barrier having an internal reservoir to receive water, sand or similar ballast material, such that the barrier is relatively lightweight until filled with ballast. The barrier is nestable such that multiple barriers can be disposed in a vertical stack of reduced height.



Inventors:
Shaw, Mark D. (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, US)
Heyman, Tad J. (Atlantic Beach, FL, US)
Bierce, Lawrence M. (Macclenny, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/116979
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
04/28/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01F15/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
ADDIE, RAYMOND W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROGERS TOWERS, P.A. (JACKSONVILLE, FL, US)
Claims:
1. A portable traffic barrier comprising a generally rectangular base member having an open bottom, a pair of sloping side walls defining an open interior, a collapsible reservoir disposed within said interior, fill means to introduce ballast into said reservoir to add weight to said traffic barrier, drain means to release said ballast from said reservoir, and reinforcing ribs, whereby multiple said traffic barriers may be disposed in a nested vertical stack of reduced height when said reservoirs are empty and collapsed.

2. The traffic barrier of claim 1, further comprising end walls.

3. The traffic barrier of claim 1, wherein said reservoir comprises a flexible bag.

4. The traffic barrier of claim 1, wherein said fill means comprises a fill port.

5. The traffic barrier of claim 4, said fill means further comprising closure means.

6. The traffic barrier of claim 1, further comprising an upper ridge member.

7. The traffic barrier of claim 6, further comprising a fill access disposed in said upper ridge member.

8. The traffic barrier of claim 1, further comprising a reduced profile nose disposed on one end of said traffic barrier, said other end of said traffic barrier being an open end, whereby said reduced profile nose of a first said traffic barrier fits within said open end of a second said traffic barrier when said first and second traffic barriers are aligned longitudinally.

9. The traffic barrier of claim 8, wherein said reduced profile nose comprises a base member and a pair of sloping side walls.

10. (canceled)

11. (canceled)

12. (canceled)

13. The traffic barrier of claim 1, further comprising forklift apertures disposed in said base member.

14. (canceled)

15. A set of portable traffic barriers, each said traffic barrier comprising a pair of sloping side walls, an open interior, an open bottom and a collapsible ballast reservoir disposed within said open interior, said ballast reservoir having fill means to introduce ballast into said reservoir and drain means to release said ballast from said reservoir; each said traffic barrier further comprising a reduced profile nose disposed on one end of said traffic barrier, said other end of said traffic barrier being an open end, whereby said reduced profile nose of a first traffic barrier fits within said open end of a second traffic barrier when said first and second traffic barriers are aligned longitudinally; whereby said traffic barriers can be stacked vertically such that said side walls of a first traffic barrier are received within the open interior of a second traffic barrier positioned atop said first traffic barrier when said ballast reservoir of said second traffic barrier is collapsed; said set of traffic barriers further comprising a plug member having a pair of end walls and configured to mate with said open end of one of said traffic barriers to close off said open end in the place of another of said traffic barriers.

16. (canceled)

17. The traffic barriers of claim 15, wherein said reservoir comprises a flexible bag.

18. The traffic barriers of claim 15, wherein said fill means comprises a fill port.

19. The traffic barriers of claim 18, said fill means further comprising closure means.

20. The traffic barriers of claim 15, each said traffic barrier further comprising an upper ridge member.

21. The traffic barriers of claim 20, each said traffic barrier further comprising a fill access disposed in said upper ridge member.

22. (canceled)

23. The traffic barriers of claim 15, wherein said reduced profile nose comprises a pair of sloping side walls.

24. (canceled)

25. The traffic barriers of claim 23, wherein said plug member comprises a pair of sloping side walls defining a plug member open interior.

26. The traffic barriers of claim 25, said plug member further comprising a reservoir disposed within said plug member open interior.

27. The traffic barriers of claim 15, each said traffic barrier further comprising forklift apertures disposed in said base member.

28. The traffic barriers of claim 15, each said traffic barrier further comprising reinforcing ribs disposed in said base member.

29. The traffic barrier of claim 1, wherein said reinforcing ribs are disposed on said base member so as to support multiple traffic barriers nested above said traffic barrier in a vertical stack.

30. The traffic barrier of claim 1, wherein said reinforcing ribs are disposed on said sloping side walls so as to support multiple traffic barriers nested above said traffic barrier in a vertical stack.

31. The traffic barriers of claim 15, wherein said plug member has a similar configuration to said reduced profile nose.

32. A set of portable traffic barriers, each said traffic barrier comprising a pair of sloping side walls, an open interior, an open bottom and a collapsible ballast reservoir disposed within said open interior, said ballast reservoir having fill means to introduce ballast into said reservoir and drain means to release said ballast from said reservoir; each said traffic barrier further comprising a reduced profile nose disposed on one end of said traffic barrier, said other end of said traffic barrier being an open end, whereby said reduced profile nose of a first traffic barrier fits within said open end of a second traffic barrier when said first and second traffic barriers are aligned longitudinally; said fill means comprising a first fill access disposed on top of said reduced profile nose and a second fill access disposed adjacent said open end, whereby with said reduced profile nose of one said traffic barrier inserted into said open end of another traffic barrier, said first and second fill accesses align to provide access to fill said ballast reservoir; whereby said traffic barriers can be stacked vertically such that said side walls of a first traffic barrier are received within the open interior of a second traffic barrier positioned atop said first traffic barrier when said ballast reservoir of said second traffic barrier is collapsed;

33. The traffic barriers of claim 32, wherein said reservoir comprises a flexible bag.

34. The traffic barriers of claim 32, wherein said fill means further comprises a fill port disposed within said reduced profile nose.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to the field of self-standing barrier or barricade devices typically used in vehicular or pedestrian traffic control, the devices being used to control the direction of travel and to prevent passage of motor vehicles or people as the result of their placement in an end-to-end orientation along the sides of roadways or transversely across an open space.

Self-standing traffic control barriers are well known. Usually constructed of concrete, they are typically configured with a narrow rectangular top ridge and a wider rectangular base, with the sloping sides connecting the top ridge to the base usually formed in a slightly convex manner. The barriers are sized so as to be relatively immovable if struck by a vehicle, and placement of the barriers is accomplished by a crane, front loader or similar type of heavy lifting equipment. A length of about 8 feet is common. To control the flow of traffic or to prevent passage through an open area, the barriers are positioned generally in an end-to-end relation.

Because the barriers are made of concrete, each barrier is extremely heavy. Placement and removal require heavy duty equipment. Transportation and storage of the barriers is difficult because of the weight, and also because the barriers are solid objects. The weight problem has been addressed by providing barriers that have closed, hollow interiors to receive ballast such as water or sand. The empty barriers are transported to a site and properly positioned, then loaded with ballast to provide the required weight to secure the barrier in place. Examples of such traffic barriers are seen in U.S. Pat. No. 2,279,942 to Hausherr, U.S. Pat. No. 3,877,681 to Humphrey, U.S. Pat. No. 4,138,095 to Humphrey, U.S. Pat. No. 4,681,302 to Thompson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,714 to Christensen, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,086,285 to Christensen.

It is an object of this invention to provide traffic barriers of similar functionality and purpose as the known concrete traffic barrier devices, but which overcome the problems and drawbacks associated with the weight and construction of the known concrete barrier devices. It is an object to provide barrier devices of this type that are readily transportable, easily positioned on site, easily removable, relatively lightweight to handle yet can be made sufficiently heavy during use, and nestable for transport and storage.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention comprises in general a traffic control barrier or barricade device having an external configuration similar to that of standard concrete traffic control barriers, in that the barrier preferably comprises a narrow, extended, generally rectangular upper ridge, a wider, extended, generally rectangular base member, inwardly sloping ends, and two sloping side walls extending from the upper ridge to the base member. The side walls are preferably curved inward in a convex manner.

The barrier has an open, hollow interior and the base member has an open bottom for nestability in a vertical stack. A collapsible reservoir is provided within the interior, such that the reservoir can be filled with water, sand or the like to add weight to the barrier through a fill access and fill port, preferably located in the upper ridge and closed by a cap member. A drain member allows the reservoir to be emptied for movement and storage, with a drain access being provided in one of the barrier ends.

The barrier is configured so as to be nestable in a vertical stack with like barriers, in that a barrier with an empty reservoir can be placed atop another reservoir. Because the base is open to the interior and the end walls and side walls slope inward, multiple barriers can be placed into a vertical stack that occupies a reduced and relatively short vertical distance.

Preferably, the barrier is constructed with one end open laterally and the other end with a reduced profile or nose, such that the reduced profile end of one barrier can be inserted into the open end of a second barrier such that the two barriers are joined lengthwise in a male-female connection. A plug or end cap member similar in configuration to the reduced profile nose can also be inserted into the open end of a barrier to close it.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a basic embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a lateral cross-section view of the invention showing the interior reservoir in the filled condition.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is an expanded view showing two barriers prior to being joined longitudinally and a plug member prior to insertion into the open end of one barrier.

FIG. 5 shows a plurality of barriers nested in a vertical stack.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to the drawings, the invention will now be described in detail with regard for the best mode and the preferred embodiment. In general, the invention is a portable, nestable barrier or barricade device suitable for use in vehicular or pedestrian traffic control situations.

A basic configuration for the invention is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, where the barrier 10 is shown to comprise an elongated, relatively narrow, generally rectangular, upper ridge member 11, a pair of sloping side walls 13, preferably inwardly curved or concave, extending downward on each side of upper ridge 11 to join an elongated, relatively narrow, generally rectangular base member 12, such that the device has a generally triangular configuration in lateral cross-section. Preferably a pair of end walls 14, preferably inwardly sloping, laterally encloses the open interior 16, although the end walls 14 are not required. The base member 12 has an open bottom 15. The upper ridge 11, side walls 13, base member 12, and end walls 14 are relatively thin-walled and preferably formed of a strong, durable, relatively rigid polymer material, which may be reinforced with fibers or the like.

Mounted within the interior 16 is at least one reservoir member 20. The main body 21 of reservoir or container member 20 is constructed of a flexible or collapsible material capable of retaining water, sand or similar aggregate weight or ballast material 99. Most preferably, the main body 21 is a collapsible bag formed of a polymer material, which may be reinforced with fibers, multiple layers, or the like. The main body 21 is mounted to or suspended from the upper ridge 11 and/or one or both of the side walls 13 in suitable manner such that it is suspended within the interior 16 when filled, but may be pushed to the top or side of the interior 16 in a collapsed configuration when empty and the barrier 10 is stacked upon another barrier 10, as shown in FIG. 5. Filling means such as a fill port 22 is provided at the top of the collapsible main body 21 such that ballast 99 can be loaded into the reservoir 20 through a fill access 17 disposed in the upper ridge 11. The fill port 22 may comprise any suitable means for controlling access to the reservoir 20, such as in combination a threaded tube extending to or slightly above the upper ridge 11 and a cap, plug or similar closure member 24 provided to seal the reservoir 20, a bulkhead fitting, etc. Draining means such as a drain member 23 is provided at the bottom of the main body 21 such that the ballast 99 can be released from the reservoir 20, with access to the drain 23 being provided by a drain access 18 disposed in the end wall 14. If multiple reservoirs 20 are provided in a single barrier 10, a corresponding number of fill accesses 17 are provided.

A preferred embodiment of the barrier 10 is shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5. In this embodiment, barrier 10 is provided with a reduced profile nose or insertion member 30. The reduced profile nose 30 preferably retains the overall general configuration of the barrier 10, such that the nose 30 comprises an upper ridge member 31, a base member 32, two sloping side walls 33 and an end wall 34, but with the overall height and width being slightly smaller than that of barrier 10. The opposite end of the barrier 10 in this embodiment comprises an open end 35. In this configuration, as shown in FIG. 4, the reduced profile nose 30 of a first barrier 10 can be inserted into the open end 35 of a second barrier 10′ so that the two barriers are interlocked longitudinally. A second fill access 17′ is provided on the upper ridge member near the open end 35 of the second barrier 10′, such that with the reduced profile nose 30 mated with the open end 35 in a male-female-type connection, the nose fill access 17 aligns with the fill access 17′ such that the fill port 22 of the reservoir 20 in barrier 10 can be accessed. Alternatively, the fill accesses 17 and fill ports 22 of the reservoirs 20 could be positioned more centrally along the upper ridge member 11. Additional mechanical fasteners, connecting means or interlocking tabs, slots, nubs, apertures or other physical members can be provided to secure the barriers 10 to each other when joined longitudinally.

If desired, the open end 35 of the last barrier 10 in a chain of barriers 10 can be sealed with a plug member 40. The overall configuration of plug member 40 is similar to that of the reduced profile nose 30 of the barrier 10, such that plug member 40 comprises an upper ridge member 41, a base member 42, side walls 43 and end walls 44. For nesting purposes, plug member 40 is provided with an open bottom, although a solid bottom could be provided. The plug member 40 is mated with the open end 35 of the barrier 35 in the same manner that the reduced profile nose 30 mates with an open end 35. The plug member 40 may be provided with a reservoir 20 of reduced capacity, loaded through a fill access 17 and drained through a drain access 18. Alternatively, because of its reduced volume, plug member 40 may be filled directly without providing a reservoir 20 where a solid bottom is provided.

As shown in FIG. 5, because of the open bottom 15 and the triangular in lateral cross-section configuration of the barrier 10, with the reservoir 20 empty, plural barriers 10 can be nested in a vertical stack one atop the other, the collapsible main body 21 of the reservoir 20 being pushed upward or to the side depending on the manner of its mounting within the interior 16. Thus, not only are the barriers 10 relatively lightweight with the ballast material 99 removed from the reservoir 20, such that handling and transport is easier, multiple barriers 10 can be stored in the floor space occupied by a single barrier 10.

The barrier 10 may be provided with one or more light recesses 51 to receive battery powered warning lights, fork lift apertures 52 to allow the barriers 10 to be moved easily, and reflector recesses 53 to receive reflecting tape, paint or the like. To further strengthen the barrier 10, especially to retain the compressive loads of stacked barriers 10, reinforcing ribs 19 may be disposed on the base 12, side walls 13, etc.

Suitable and exemplary dimensions for the barriers 10 may be approximately 96 inches in length, approximately 42 inches in height and approximately 24 inches in width, with wall thicknesses of approximately ¼ inch. Suitable and exemplary dimensions for reservoir 20 will vary dependent upon the amount of ballast desired, with a minimum amount of ballast equal to about 100 pounds being desirable. Suitable and exemplary dimensions of the reduced profile nose member 30 are preferably approximately 0.5 inches less than the dimensions of the barrier 10, with a length of approximately 12 inches. Suitable and exemplary dimensions for the plug member 40 are similar to that of the reduced profile nose member 30.

To establish a traffic control system using the barriers 10, stacks of nested barriers 10 are transported to the site and unloaded. Individual barriers 10 are then positioned as desired. If a longitudinally extended barricade is desired, the barriers 10 are mated in end-to-end relation. The reservoirs 20 of the barriers 10 are then filled with a ballast material 99, preferably water since it is easily transported to the site and can be quickly drained from the reservoirs 20 when desired. When the barriers 10 are to be removed, the ballast 99 is drained from the reservoirs 20 and the barriers 10 are separated and stacked for transport.

It is understood that equivalents and substitutions for certain elements set forth above may be obvious to those skilled in the art, and thus the true scope ad definition of the invention is to be as et forth in the following claims.