Title:
Redeployable barrier fence system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A redeployable security barrier system and methods for using the same are disclosed, the barrier system comprising an assembly of individual foundation barrier units or structures, which provide a vehicle-impact resistant foundation portion, and an upper, generally visually transparent, personnel-scaling resistant fence portion that spans the assembly of barrier units.



Inventors:
Wilson, Martin O. (Columbia, MD, US)
Application Number:
12/157856
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
06/13/2008
Assignee:
Washington Group International, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
256/64
International Classes:
E01F15/00; E04H17/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080157044FAILURE AVOIDANCE EFFECTIVE SILT FENCEJuly, 2008Barfield et al.
20060102883Pultruded composite guardrailMay, 2006Troutman et al.
20040195561Fence rall cap bracket assemblyOctober, 2004Forbis
20040104382Safety railing system for roof access hatchJune, 2004Collins et al.
20090001334CONTROL BARRIERJanuary, 2009Christensen et al.
20050160692Decorative railing assembly for a building and methods for manufacturing sameJuly, 2005Vaughn
20090057638Plastic or composite slat with wooden appearanceMarch, 2009Hoggan
20040079933Fence with removable slatsApril, 2004Charles Sr.
20090127534POST ASSEMBLYMay, 2009Powell
20080111119METHOD OF ADJUSTABLY MOUNTING A FENCE RAIL TO A FENCE POSTMay, 2008Platt
20090001335Redeployable barrier fence systemJanuary, 2009Wilson



Primary Examiner:
FERGUSON, MICHAEL P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David Silverstein (Andover, MA, US)
Claims:
Having described the invention, what is claimed is:

1. A barrier fence system comprising a ground-level vehicle-resistant barrier portion made up of a plurality of adjacent foundation barrier units in combination with an above ground-level fence portion supported by a structural framework, held in place by being secured to and/or embedded in the barrier units.

2. A barrier fence system comprising in combination: (a) an assembly of foundation barrier units positioned side-by-side abutting or in close proximity to an adjacent unit; (b) a post-and-rail framework comprising a plurality of generally vertically-extending post members and a plurality of generally non-vertically-extending rail members, wherein each post member comprises a post foot portion secured to and/or embedded in a foundation barrier unit and a post support portion extending above the foundation barrier unit, and also wherein each rail member spans and is fastened to the post support portions of two or more post members; and, (c) fencing comprising expanded metal fence fabric that spans and is fastened to the post support portions of two or more post members and also to two or more rail members, forming a continuous fence along the tops of the foundation barrier units.

3. A barrier fence system according to claim 2 wherein each foundation barrier unit comprises an open-top box-like structure having an interior region, the structure being of suitable size and strength to provide motorized vehicle impact resistance.

4. A barrier fence system according to claim 3 wherein a foundation barrier unit is made of steel, concrete or a comparably strong material.

5. A barrier fence system according to claim 3 wherein a foundation barrier unit is of a generally rectangular shape and comprises at least four steel side panels assembled and fastened to one another to form the outer walls of the box-like structure.

6. A barrier fence system according to claim 3 further wherein the hollow interior region of a foundation barrier unit is filled with soil, sand or a comparable buffer filler material.

7. A barrier fence system according to claim 3 wherein a foundation barrier unit ranges from about 20 to 50 feet in length, about 3 to 10 feet in width, and about 3 to 8 feet in height.

8. A barrier fence system according to claim 7 wherein the fencing extends about 5 to 15 feet above the tops of the foundation barrier units.

9. A barrier fence system according to claim 5 further comprising one or more crosstie panels spaced at periodic intervals in the interior region of a foundation barrier unit.

10. A barrier fence system according to claim 2 wherein at least some of said post members are secured to side walls or to tie walls of a foundation barrier unit by a U-shaped fastener system.

11. A barrier fence system according to claim 2 wherein the metal fence fabric is secured to at least some of the post support portions and to at least some of the rail members by a U-shaped fastener system.

12. A barrier fence system according to claim 10 wherein said U-shaped fastener system comprises fastening bolts with heads that cannot be grabbed or turned from one side of the barrier fence system.

13. A barrier fence system according to claim 11 wherein said U-shaped fastener system comprises fastening bolts with heads that cannot be grabbed or turned from one side of the barrier fence system.

14. A barrier fence system according to claim 2 wherein the expanded metal fence fabric comprises expanded metal sheets with openings shaped and sized to provide visibility through the fence but without providing a hand-hold that would assist in scaling the fence.

15. A barrier fence system according to claim 14 further wherein the surfaces of metal components of the barrier fence system are treated for corrosion protection.

16. A method of erecting a redeployable barrier fence system comprising the steps of: (a) assembling a plurality of foundation barrier units, each comprising front and back wall panels and left-side and right-side wall panels, each such wall panel being fastened to adjacent wall panels to form the outer walls of a box-like structure having an interior region; (b) positioning the assembled foundation barrier units side-by-side abutting or in close proximity to an adjacent unit and generally in alignment to form a ground-level barrier structure having front and back faces; (c) securing a plurality of generally vertically disposed post members to wall panels of the foundation barrier units such that the post members are generally in alignment along the barrier structure; (d) filling the interior region of a foundation barrier unit with soil, sand or a comparable buffer filler material; (e) either before or after step (d), securing a plurality of rail members to the post members to form at least upper and lower lines of rail members that span the barrier structure and, in combination with the post members, comprise a post-and-rail framework; (f) securing overlapping panels of expanded metal fence fabric to the post-and-rail framework to form a continuous fence structure spanning the region above the barrier structure.

17. The method according to claim 16 wherein the front and back wall panels and the left-side and right-side wall panels are pre-cut steel panels of suitable sizes for forming a generally rectangular structure when assembled.

18. The method according to claim 16 wherein a post foot portion of a post member extends to the bottom of a foundation barrier unit and becomes securely embedded in soil, sand or comparable buffer filler material when the unit is filled.

19. The method according to claim 16 wherein at least some of the post members are secured to wall panels of the foundation barrier units by a U-shaped fastener system.

20. The method according to claim 16 wherein the metal fence fabric is secured to at least some of the post support portions and to at least some of the rail members by a U-shaped fastener system.

21. The method according to claim 19 wherein said U-shaped fastener system comprises fastening bolts with heads that cannot be grabbed or turned from at least the front or the back face of the wall structure.

22. The method according to claim 19 wherein said U-shaped fastener system comprises fastening bolts with heads that cannot be grabbed or turned from one side of the barrier fence system.

23. The method according to claim 16 further including the step of positioning crosstie wall panels inside one or more of the foundation barrier units as part of the assembly of step (a), and wherein in step (c) post members are secured to at least some of those crosstie wall panels.

24. The method according to claim 16 further comprising the step of disassembling the barrier fence system for redeployment to another location by the added steps of: (g) removing the panels of fence fabric from engagement with the post-and-rail framework; (h) removing the rail members from engagement with the post members; (i) at least partially emptying the filler material from the foundation barrier units to expose lower portions of the post members; (j) removing the post members from engagement with the wall panels of the foundation barrier units; and, (k) disassembling the wall panels of the foundation barrier units; all of steps (a) through (k) being performed with little or no damage to the component parts of the assembly such that those component parts can be reused.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a combination vehicle barrier/fencing system useful in border security and facility security applications.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In recent years there has been a growing need to secure national land borders and various sensitive facilities, at least temporarily, from unauthorized human access and entry, especially by means of motor vehicles. There has been growing concern about securing national borders against illegal immigration, such as along the southern border of the United States, especially with the increased risk that some individuals attempting to illegally enter the country could be criminals or terrorists. Such a border security system would typically be permanent or at least semi-permanent.

In addition, because of the threat of domestic terrorism, it may periodically become necessary to temporarily secure certain facilities against unauthorized entry by individuals on foot or driving motor vehicles. Such facilities requiring at least temporary security against intrusion include government buildings, military installations, power plants, refineries, chemical plants, dams, bridges, stadiums and commercial buildings. Even outdoor areas where a large number of people are expected to congregate for a special occasion may require security from unauthorized intrusion.

Historically in the security barrier field, tradeoffs have been made based on the anticipated permanence or temporary nature of a barrier, the cost and time needed for erection of the barrier, and the desired strength and level of security of the barrier. For example, the construction of massive, permanent stone walls to protect borders and cities from old-fashioned military assaults dates back thousands of years. While highly effective as defenses, at least for a time, such walls were costly, required decades or even centuries to construct, and were completely immovable. At the opposite end of the scale, it is well known today in highway construction to place a series of relatively inexpensive and readily moveable (with proper equipment) individual concrete barrier units end-to-end to direct traffic around a construction site or to separate two lanes of traffic from one another. Such barriers can be erected relatively quickly and can be moved to a new job site when a road project is completed. These barrier units, however, are typically only three to four feet high, can be displaced by the direct impact of a motor vehicle, and clearly are not suitable for modern security barrier applications.

An effective modern land-based security barrier system must fulfill a number of specialized requirements. First, of course, such a system must be effective in preventing most, if not all, breeches by individuals on foot or in a motorized vehicle, e.g., a car or truck. Individuals on foot should not be able to scale and climb over the barrier, and motor vehicles should not be able to penetrate or displace the barrier. Second, it is highly desirable that such a system provide for good, unimpeded visibility from one side of the barrier to the other at ordinary eye levels so that security officials on one side of the barrier can readily visually monitor what is taking place on the other side of the barrier.

Another desirable feature of an effective security barrier system is that it be relatively quick and easy to erect at a given site. It is also highly desirable that the system be easily deconstructed such that it can be cost-effectively relocated to a different site. Another important feature of a land-based security barrier system is that it should be difficult if not impossible to tunnel under the barrier.

Several different types of fencing systems are currently in use as security barrier systems. Particularly popular are cable systems that provide at least some resistance to vehicle penetration but require relatively closely spaced concrete footings or “dead men” to anchor the cables. These types of systems are typically approved for preventing penetration by light motor vehicles traveling at relatively low speeds. Some of these systems have been tested for heavier vehicles traveling at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. In general, these systems have passed test requirements when vehicle impact was at the anchorage points, but they have experienced failure when the cables were struck directly. Furthermore, these types of systems may not be fully and easily portable (if concrete footings have to be moved or rebuilt) and provide little if any protection against scaling or tunneling.

Other similar systems may attempt to simplify the anchoring systems to reduce costs and facilitate construction/deconstruction. Soil anchors, for example, while less expensive and easier to put in place than concrete footings, vary widely in strength according to soil composition. Because soil composition varies greatly, even along a length of a border or around one perimeter, substantial soil testing would be required to design and install a reliable fence using only soil anchors.

Continuous concrete, stone block, or stone/steel wall systems can, of course, be constructed to have virtually any desirable combination of height/width so as to be essentially impenetrable by any ordinary motor vehicles, and even by most heavy machinery (e.g., bulldozers) or military vehicles (e.g., tanks). But, such constructions are prohibitively costly, may take months or years to construct, and certainly are not portable. Furthermore, this type of system can typically be scaled if not too high and, if built high enough to prevent or resist scaling, it obscures visibility at least at ordinary eye-level from one side to the other. Maintaining vigilance over activities occurring on the other side of such a high barrier wall would necessitate posting guards along the top of the wall (similar to the walled cities of Europe and the Great Wall of China), or installing video equipment, or some combination of the two.

These and other deficiencies in or limitations of the prior art approaches to security barriers are overcome in whole, or at least in part, by the redeployable barrier fence system of this invention.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a general object of the present invention is to provide a redeployable land-based barrier fence system suitable for modern border security and facility security applications.

Another general object of this invention is to provide a security barrier system resistant to penetration by individuals on foot or in moving motor vehicles.

Still another general object of this invention is to provide a reasonably portable security barrier system that is relatively easily assembled, disassembled, and transported to a different site.

A specific object of this invention is to provide a fence barrier system that requires no water for concrete. This is especially suited for remote areas where water is not easily available.

A specific object of this invention is to provide a security barrier system comprising an assembly of interconnected individual foundation barrier units or structures, each of a transportable size and/or design, that can be positioned side-by-side and used to support a combination post-and-rail framework and fencing system spanning the assembly of barrier units to form a continuous barrier or perimeter wall.

Another specific object of this invention is to provide a security barrier system comprising a fastening system for securing post members and fence panels to a side wall or tie wall of a foundation barrier unit.

Another specific object of this invention is to provide a fastening system for fastening expanded metal fence fabric respectively to the post and rail members of a post-and-rail framework constructed on an assembly of foundation barrier units.

Yet another specific object of this invention is to provide a security barrier system that affords vehicle impact resistance along a lower barrier portion thereof while also providing an upper barrier portion of sufficient steepness, height and absence of handholds or grip points substantially to prevent scaling of the upper portion.

Still another specific object of this invention is to provide a security barrier system comprising a vehicle-impact resistant lower barrier portion and a personnel-scaling resistant upper barrier portion, wherein the upper barrier portion also provides eye-level visual communication from one side of the barrier to the other.

Yet another specific object of this invention is to provide a security barrier system that is substantially resistant to tunneling.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description and the illustrative drawings as discussed below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a redeployable security barrier system comprising an assembly of individual foundation barrier units or structures, which provide a vehicle-impact resistant foundation portion, and an upper, generally visually transparent, personnel-scaling resistant fence portion that spans the assembly of barrier units. The foundation barrier units in accordance with this invention preferably each comprise a vehicle barrier element that is a hollow, open-top box-like structure made of a suitably strong material (e.g., steel) which, when assembled and filled with earth, sand or a similar buffer material, will provide mass and anti-ram protection from vehicles. A foundation barrier unit can be prefabricated and transported to a site as an assembled unit or constructed on site from pre-cut wall panels and fastening elements.

A particularly preferred foundation portion for this invention is the vehicle barrier system commercially available from Infrastructure Defense Technologies of Belvidere, Ill., under the tradename Metalith™, although alternative structures having comparable vehicle-impact resistant properties may also be used. Such foundation portions are commercially available in many configurations and can be resized to meet specific use requirements.

The upper or fence portion of a barrier system in accordance with this invention preferably comprises a post-and-rail framework that serves as a fencing support system together with an expanded metal fence fabric that is secured to the post-and-rail framework to afford penetration and cutting resistance, an unscalable vertical surface, and open areas to provide visual transparency. The upper portion of the barrier system may comprise a standard post-and-rail system, each element of which is fabricated of high strength steel or comparable material to minimize weight and size.

Expanded metal fence fabric is commercially available in different grades depending on need. One such product is made from a solid sheet of HSLA steel that is simultaneously slit and stretched into a rigid diamond-shaped mesh design that allows for good visibility and light passage. Such expanded metal fencing can be formed with screen-like openings that are large enough to afford visibility but not large enough to provide handholds or toeholds in order to resist climbing without the use of special equipment. Expanded metal fabric is also more resistant to cutting than standard wire and chain link fencing. In a particularly preferred invention embodiment, an expanded metal fabric is attached to a combination post-and-rail support system using special fastening elements, a system commercially available from Alabama Metal Industries Corp. (AMICO) of Birmingham, Ala., under the tradename Secura Fence System™. This commercial system can be constructed as a new fence or to retrofit an existing fence, and it is available in medium and maximum security models.

In a completed barrier fence assembly according to this invention, the individual barrier units are connected to contiguous units on either side thereof (except for an end unit of a barrier wall which has a contiguous unit on only one side) at least along the upper portions by means of the connected rails and the expanded metal fencing which span adjacent barrier units. In some invention embodiments, a fastening device or system, such as a bolt system, may be used to secure adjacent foundation barrier units to one another.

The upper fence portion of the barrier system comprises a plurality of vertically extending post members each anchored to and extending upward from one of the barrier foundation units to about the desired height of the upper fence portion of the barrier wall. At least upper and lower laterally extending rail members extend between, and are secured to, the post members by any suitable fastening device or system, such as a bolt system. Overlapping panels of expanded metal fence, secured to one another along the juncture lines, and of appropriate height extend between the posts of the same or of contiguous barrier units and are secured to the assembled post-and-rail frame to create a continuous upper fence portion of the security barrier. The upper fence portion of the barrier wall can be formed with mesh having smaller diamonds and wider strands that is difficult to cut, climb or crawl under. A formidable barrier is thereby created offering strength, resistance and durability that provides delay, detection and deterrence of intruders, and also affords ample response time for security personnel.

The redeployable barrier fence system of this invention is especially well suited for use in remote areas where using concrete foundations is impractical. This system provides both effective vehicle crash resistance along its foundation portion, and a secure, transparent fence fabric upper portion for providing visual contact. This system does not require concrete for foundations. The Metalith™ foundation elements, for example, meet government crash ratings for anti-ram resistance. The barrier system of this invention is designed to be deployed quickly and installed quickly using locally-available materials. The upper fencing portion of this barrier system is designed to withstand wind loads up to 70 mph. The expanded metal fencing fabric provides a good level of transparency for visual contact and/or for allowing sensors to be placed within the fabric mesh.

Although in a preferred invention embodiment adjacent foundation units abut one another, and may optionally be fastened to one another along their respective abutting sides to enhance immobility during a vehicle impact, in an alternative embodiment, at least some of the foundation units may be spaced a small distance from adjacent units to allow for small species migration, water drainage, and so forth.

The barrier fence system of this invention is relatively easily redeployable. The system can be erected easily and also disassembled easily. The open-top, box-like foundation units can be filled with and emptied of sand, earth or other buffer material relatively quickly using small earth-moving equipment, such as a front-end loader, and, once emptied, can be disassembled for transport without damaging or destroying the component elements. The fence post and rail members may be standard lengths and are also easily assembled and disassembled. Similarly, the expanded metal fence fabric is also easily removed and transported for reassembly because no special cutting or sizing is required for the installation.

Furthermore, the barrier fence system of this invention is also resistant to tunneling. While a standard above-ground fence having a thickness less than one inch is relatively easy to tunnel under, the foundation units of this invention typically have a thickness (depth) of about five (5) feet, thereby requiring one to tunnel more than five feet to penetrate such a barrier. The expanded metal fabric of this invention is more resistant to cutting than standard wire or chain link, and it is commercially available in different grades to accommodate a particular type or level of threat. Firmly securing the edges of the expanded metal fabric further enhances its resistance to cutting.

The barrier fence system of this invention is also highly resistant to scaling without special equipment by minimizing or eliminating any useable handholds or toeholds. In a preferred embodiment, the total height of a fully assembled barrier system according to this invention is at least eleven (11) feet.

More specifically, this invention comprises the following embodiments:

1. A barrier fence system comprising a ground-level vehicle-resistant barrier portion made up of a plurality of adjacent foundation barrier units in combination with an above ground-level fence portion supported by a structural framework, held in place by being secured to and/or embedded in the barrier units.

2. A barrier fence system comprising in combination:

    • (a) an assembly of foundation barrier units positioned side-by-side abutting or in close proximity to an adjacent unit;
    • (b) a post-and-rail framework comprising a plurality of generally vertically-extending post members and a plurality of generally non-vertically-extending rail members, wherein each post member comprises a post foot portion secured to and/or embedded in a foundation barrier unit and a post support portion extending above the foundation barrier unit, and also wherein each rail member spans and is fastened to the post support portions of two or more post members; and,
    • (c) fencing comprising expanded metal fence fabric that spans and is fastened to the post support portions of two or more post members and also to two or more rail members, forming a continuous fence along the tops of the foundation barrier units.

3. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 2 above wherein each foundation barrier unit comprises a hollow, open-top box-like structure of suitable size and strength to provide motorized vehicle impact resistance.

4. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 3 above wherein a foundation barrier unit is made of steel, concrete or a comparably strong material.

5. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 3 above wherein a foundation barrier unit is of a generally rectangular shape and comprises at least four steel side panels assembled and fastened to one another to form the outer walls of the box-like structure.

6. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 3 above further wherein the hollow interior portion of a foundation barrier unit is filled with soil, sand or a comparable buffer filler material.

7. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 3 above wherein a foundation barrier unit ranges from about 20 to 50 feet in length, about 3 to 10 feet in width, and about 3 to 8 feet in height.

8. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 7 above wherein the fencing extends about 5 to 15 feet above the tops of the foundation barrier units.

9. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 5 above further comprising one or more crosstie panels spaced at periodic intervals in the interior of a foundation barrier unit.

10. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 2 above wherein at least some of said post members are secured to side walls or to tie walls of a foundation barrier unit by a U-shaped fastener system.

11. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 2 above wherein the metal fence fabric is secured to at least some of the post support portions and to at least some of the rail members by a U-shaped fastener system.

12. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 10 above wherein said U-shaped fastener system comprises fastening bolts with heads that cannot be grabbed or turned from one side of the barrier fence system.

13. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 11 above wherein said U-shaped fastener system comprises fastening bolts with heads that cannot be grabbed or turned from one side of the barrier fence system.

14. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 2 above wherein the expanded metal fence fabric comprises expanded metal sheets with openings shaped and sized to provide visibility through the fence but without providing a hand-hold that would assist in scaling the fence.

15. A barrier fence system according to paragraph 14 above further wherein the surfaces of metal components of the barrier fence system are treated for corrosion protection.

16. A method of erected a redeployable barrier fence system comprising the sequential steps of:

    • (a) assembling a plurality of foundation barrier units, each comprising front and back wall panels and left-side and right-side wall panels, each such wall panel being fastened to adjacent wall panels to form the outer walls of a box-like structure;
    • (b) positioning the assembled foundation barrier units side-by-side abutting or in close proximity to an adjacent unit and generally in alignment to form a ground-level wall structure having front and back faces;
    • (c) securing a plurality of generally vertically disposed post members to wall panels of the foundation barrier units such that the post members are generally in alignment along the wall structure;
    • (d) filling each foundation barrier unit with soil, sand or a comparable buffer filler material;
    • (e) either before or after step (d), securing a plurality of rail members to the post members to form at least upper and lower lines of rail members that span the wall structure and, in combination with the post members, comprise a post-and-rail framework;
    • (f) securing overlapping panels of expanded metal fence fabric to the post-and-rail framework to form a continuous fence structure spanning the region above the wall structure.

17. The method according to paragraph 16 above wherein the front and back wall panels and the left-side and right-side wall panels are pre-cut steel panels of suitable sizes for forming a generally rectangular structure when assembled.

18. The method according to paragraph 16 above wherein a post foot portion of a post member extends to the bottom of a foundation barrier unit and becomes securely embedded in soil, sand or comparable buffer filler material when the unit is filled.

19. The method according to paragraph 16 above wherein at least some of the post members are secured to wall panels of the foundation barrier units by a U-shaped fastener system.

20. The method according to paragraph 16 above wherein the metal fence fabric is secured to at least some of the post support portions and to at least some of the rail members by a U-shaped fastener system.

21. The method according to paragraph 19 above wherein said U-shaped fastener system comprises fastening bolts with heads that cannot be grabbed or turned from at least the front or the back face of the wall structure.

22. The method according to paragraph 19 above wherein said U-shaped fastener system comprises fastening bolts with heads that cannot be grabbed or turned from one side of the barrier fence system.

23. The method according to paragraph 16 above further including the step of positioning crosstie wall panels inside one or more of the foundation barrier units as part of the assembly step of step (a), and wherein in step (c) post members are secured to at least some of those crosstie wall panels.

24. The method according to paragraph 16 above further comprising the step of disassembling the barrier fence system for redeployment to another location by the added steps of:

    • (g) removing the panels of fence fabric from engagement with the post-and-rail framework;
    • (h) removing the rail members from engagement with the post members;
    • (i) at least partially emptying the filler material from the foundation barrier units to expose lower portions of the post members;
    • (j) removing the post members from engagement with the wall panels of the foundation barrier units; and,
    • (k) disassembling the wall panels of the foundation barrier units;

all of steps (a) through (k) being performed with little or no damage to the component parts of the assembly such that those component parts can be reused.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of an assembled redeployable barrier fence system in accordance with this invention having a motorized vehicle-resistant lower barrier portion and a continuous scaling-resistant upper fence portion.

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of three contiguous foundation barrier units according to this invention in combination with a post-and-rail framework supporting a continuous expanded metal fencing upper portion.

FIG. 3 illustrates a first view of metal fencing secured to a post of a post-and-rail framework using a U-shaped fastener system in accordance with this invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates another view of a U-shaped fastener system according to this invention illustrating its use in securing an object to a wall of a structure.

FIG. 5 is a schematic fence elevation design drawing illustrating fence details for a representative invention embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a schematic fence and foundation unit section design drawing illustrating construction details for a representative invention embodiment and, particularly, illustrating the multiple applications of a U-shaped fastener system according to the invention in securely but removably fastening together different components of the barrier fence system.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged schematic section design drawing of a portion of FIG. 6 showing a post member secured to a tie wall of a foundation barrier unit with a U-shaped fastener system according to this invention for a representative invention embodiment.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged schematic design drawing of a portion of FIG. 6 showing a fence panel secured to a notched tie wall of a foundation barrier unit with a U-shaped fastener system according to this invention for a representative invention embodiment.

FIG. 9 is an enlarged schematic sectional view of a portion of FIG. 6 illustrating a U-shaped fastener system in accordance with this invention used to secure expanded metal mesh fencing to a post member of a post-and-rail fence support system.

FIG. 10 (which is comparable to FIG. 9) is an enlarged schematic sectional view of a portion of FIG. 6 illustrating a U-shaped fastener system in accordance with this invention used to secure expanded metal mesh fencing to a rail member of a post-and-rail fence support system.

FIG. 11 is an enlarged schematic sectional view illustrating a back strap fastening system in accordance with this invention used to secure two adjacent, overlapping sections of expanded metal mesh to one another along junctures where one fencing panel ends and another fencing panel begins.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

A redeployable barrier fence system 10 in accordance with this invention, as schematically illustrated in FIG. 1, comprises two integrated and cooperating portions: (1) a vehicle-impact resistant foundation or lower structure 12; and (2) a scaling-resistant, substantially visually-transparent upper fencing portion 14, preferably comprising expanded metal mesh 16 secured to a post-and-rail support system 18 comprising post members 24 and rail members 26. The foundation structures of this system serve as the vehicle crash barrier as well as providing a foundation for and a means of securing the post members of the post-and-rail system. The foundation structures also afford tunneling resistance. The expanded metal mesh upper fence portion of this system provides personnel penetration resistance as well as affording good visibility between the protected side of the security barrier and the attack side.

The Foundation Structures

In a preferred embodiment, the foundation structures 12 that comprise the lower or base portion of the security barrier are constructed or designed to be constructed in about 20 to 50-foot long sections (preferably about 30 to 40-foot long sections), each being about 3 to 10 feet wide (preferably about 5 feet wide) and about 3 to 8 feet high (preferably about 4 feet high) as schematically illustrated in FIG. 2. The foundation structures 12 are typically open-top, generally rectangular box-like structures, typically made of four side or wall panels of steel or comparable material, which may be prefabricated and transported assembled to the desired site or, alternatively, may comprise pre-cut wall panels designed to be assembled on site. The foundation elements typically do not include top or bottom panels, although such embodiments are considered within the scope of this invention.

If the foundation structure 12 comprises pre-cut wall panels, e.g., 12a, 12b, 12c and 12d, for assembly on site, in a preferred embodiment the wall panels may be connected together with tie rods (not shown) for quick assembly and disassembly. In addition, crosstie panels (or tie walls) may be located every five feet or so in the interior of a foundation structure to add rigidity for the assembled structure and to provide an additional wall section that can be used to help support an adjacent post member. For example, FIG. 5 shows a design plan drawing for a portion of a barrier fence system comprising two foundation structures 12, each 40 feet in length with three tie walls, one located at every ten feet of interior space. There is a 6 inch gap between adjacent sidewalls of the two foundation structures 12. A continuous length of metal mesh fencing comprising overlapping sheets of metal mesh spans the entire top portions of the two foundation structures 12. Fastener systems in accordance with this invention are used to secure the various component parts to one another.

Once the foundation structures are assembled (if not pre-assembled), they are placed at a desired site more or less in alignment, typically with the short sides of one foundation structure abutting or in close proximity to the short sides of adjacent foundation structures to form a ground-level wall or barrier (see FIG. 1). In one invention embodiment, the short side walls of one foundation structure abut, or substantially abut, the short side walls of the adjacent foundation structure(s). In an alternative embodiment, at least some of the foundation structures may be spaced a short distance, for example up to about 6 inches, from the next foundation structure(s) to create passages for water and/or small animal migration past the barrier walls, but not large enough for human penetration. As seen in FIG. 2, an attempt to breach a barrier wall in accordance with this invention by tunneling under the wall would require digging a tunnel longer than the width of the wall structure (five feet in FIG. 2).

After one or more of the foundation structures have been properly sited, and the post members have been secured to the walls of the foundation structures, as described below, the interiors of the foundation structures are filled with soil, sand or another barrier filler material, preferably with a material available immediately adjacent to, or in close proximity to, the structure. The soil or other barrier material used should preferably need only minor compaction. In this respect, dry sand is a particularly preferred barrier filler material.

The High-Strength Post and Rail Members

The upper fence portion 14 of the security barrier system 10 of this invention comprises a post-and-rail support frame 18 in combination with the expanded metal mesh fencing 16. In one illustrative embodiment, the post members 24 and rail members 26 may be made from HS-83K steel, and such members are commercially available from Wheatland Tube. For example, the post members 24 may be 2½ inch HS-83K pipe, and the rail members 26 may be 2 inch HS-83K pipe.

The post members 24 are preferably secured to the outer walls or to the crosstie panels of the foundation structures 12 before those structures are filled with soil or sand. In a preferred embodiment, the post members 24 are fastened to the side walls or tie walls of a foundation structure using a U-shaped fastener system (as illustrated and described hereinafter) comprising U-shaped bolts, backer straps and associated hardware such as threaded nuts. This type of fastener system has been found to securely fasten the post members in place while minimizing any damage (e.g., crushing) of the crosstie panels, thus facilitating reuse of these components. In a preferred embodiment, the fastening bolts of the fastening system used in the structures of this invention have bolt heads that cannot be grabbed or turned from at least one side, e.g., the attack side, of the barrier wall.

At least two lines of rail members 26 are used for the post-and-rail flame that supports the expanded metal mesh fencing. A lower line 26a (as seen in FIG. 2) of rail members 26 should extend generally orthogonally to the post members just above the tops of the foundation structures. An upper line 26b of rail members 26 should extend generally orthogonally to the post members at or near the tops of the post members. For added structural support, a third line 26c of rail members 26 could be added at an intermediate level between the lower and upper rail lines. The rail members 26 may be secured to the post members at points of intersection using conventional fence line rail clamps or other pipe fastening devices.

The Expanded Metal Sheets

The expanded metal mesh 16 that serves as the barrier fence of the upper fence portion 14 of the security barrier system 10 of this invention may, in a representative embodiment, comprise expanded metal sheets that are 13 Gauge and 12 feet long by 7 feet, 6 inches wide with ½ inch openings, commercially available from AMICO. These metal sheets may be attached to the post-and-rail frame constructed above the tops of the foundation structures, as described above, without any cutting to form a continuous fence structure. The metal sheets are typically attached to the post-and-rail frame such that the 7 feet, 6 inch metal sheet width dimension runs vertically from the top of the foundation structures to the tops of the post members, and the 12 feet metal sheet length dimension runs horizontally. Based on these illustrative dimensions, the barrier fence system as shown in FIG. 2 would provide a barrier wall extending about 11½ feet (4 feet base+7½ feet fence) above the ground.

At sheet end junction locations where one panel of metal sheet ends and another begins, it is preferred to overlap the two panels by about 6 inches and to fasten the overlapped ends together using a fence-end fastening system in accordance with this invention. In one embodiment, as schematically illustrated in FIG. 11, the fence-end fastening system may comprise a clamp member with two straps or arms using two threaded bolts and mating threaded nuts to securely sandwich the two sheet ends between the straps of the clamp.

The expanded metal sheets are securely attached to the post and rail members at a plurality of locations as needed using a post/rail-to-fence fastening system in accordance with this invention. In one embodiment, as schematically illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10, the metal sheets can be effectively fastened to post members and to rail members utilizing a combination of a U-shaped clamp member, a strap or backplate member, and two threaded bolts with mating threaded nuts. Such a U-shaped fastening system is available commercially as the Secura Fence System™, as earlier discussed. In a representative embodiment, such a fastening system is used to fasten the metal mesh to the post members at approximately 12 inch on center spacing, and to the rail members at approximately 18 inch on center spacing.

Finishes/Corrosion Protection

The surfaces of the various metal components as used in this invention may be galvanized or otherwise treated for corrosion protection for use in climates or under conditions where metal corrosion would be expected to occur. Typically, no such metal treatment would be needed for use of this invention in the desert southwest of the United States. Although the redeployable barrier fence system of this invention was specifically designed for application along the southern border of the United States, the system and methods of this invention can readily by adapted for use along other borders or for other security applications as necessary without departing from the scope of this invention teaching.

The U-Shaped Fastening System

In preferred embodiments of this invention, a U-shaped fastening system can be used for various fastening needs. Such a U-shaped fastening system can be used to secure the lower (foot) portions of the post members to a side wall or a tie wall of a foundation barrier unit. Such a U-shaped fastening system can also be advantageously used in securing the expanded metal mesh fence panels to the post and rail members.

FIG. 3 illustrates one view of a U-shaped fastening system according to this invention securing mesh metal fencing 16 to a post member 24. The fastening system illustrated comprises a U-shaped member 30 (only a small portion of which is visible in this Figure), a cross-member 32, and nut caps 34. As illustrated, the nut caps 34 cannot be accessed from the opposite (attack) side of the fence.

FIG. 4 illustrates another view of a U-shaped fastener system. Here, a U-shaped member 40 is used to fasten an object to a wall 42 of a structure. Threaded nuts 44 and cross-member 46 are used to tighten the connection.

FIG. 6 is a schematic fence and foundation unit section drawing illustrating multiple assembly uses of the U-shaped fastener system. FIG. 6 shows a cross-section of a barrier foundation unit 12 filled with soil. U-shaped fastening systems are used to secure the post members 24 to a tie wall 20 and also to secure the expanded mesh metal fence 16 both to post members 24 and to rail members 26. The cross-section of FIG. 6 is taken adjacent to a tie wall 20 located inside unit 12. The metal fence 16 is comprised of overlapping metal panels which, as illustrated, are embedded to a depth of about 1½ inches into the soil at the top of unit 12.

FIG. 7 is a schematic section drawing showing an enlarged side view of one of the U-shaped fastener systems in FIG. 6 securing a post member 24 to a tie wall 10. As seen in FIG. 7, the U-shaped fastener system comprises a ½ inch U-bolt 70, a ⅜ inch mounting plate 72, 9/16 inch holes pre-drilled in tie wall 20 to accommodate the two arms of the U-bolt, and threaded nuts 74 at each of the two ends of U-bolt 70.

FIG. 8 is a schematic section drawing showing an enlarged end view of one of the U-shaped fastener systems in FIG. 6 securing a fence panel 16 to a tie wall 20. Tie wall 20 includes a notch 21 to accommodate the lower edge of the fence panel, which is embedded in the soil in the foundation unit to a depth of about 1½ inches (FIG. 6). As seen in FIG. 8, the U-shaped fastener system comprises a ½ inch U-bolt 80 together with a ⅜ inch mounting plate 82 and threaded nuts 84.

FIG. 9 is a schematic section drawing showing an enlarged side view of one of the U-shaped fastener systems in FIG. 6 securing a post member 24 to a section of expanded metal mesh fencing 16. As seen in FIG. 9, the U-shaped fastener system comprises a U-shaped clamp 90, a backplate 92, two ⅜ inch threaded bolts 94, and two mating nuts 96. The heads of the bolts 94, which are positioned on the potential “attack” side of the barrier fence, are designed so they cannot be grabbed or turned from that side.

FIG. 10 is a schematic section drawing showing an enlarged side view of one of the U-shaped fastener systems in FIG. 6 securing a rail member 26 to a section of expanded metal mesh fencing 16. As seen in FIG. 10, the U-shaped fastener system comprises a U-shaped clamp 100, a backplate 102, two ⅜ inch threaded bolts 104, and two mating nuts 106. The heads of the bolts 104, which are positioned on the potential “attack” side of the barrier fence, are designed so they cannot be grabbed or turned from that side.

FIG. 11 is a schematic section drawing showing an enlarged side view of an overlapping juncture between two adjacent sheets 16a and 16b of expanded metal mesh fencing with the two sheets being secured to one another with a fastener system comprising bolts and back straps. As seen in FIG. 11, bolt holes predrilled in the metal mesh sheets 16a and 16b are aligned to accommodate the pair of threaded bolts 114 (only one seen in FIG. 11). The fastener system shown further comprises two backstraps 112, and two nuts 116 (only one seen in FIG. 11) adapted to mate with bolts 114. The backstraps 112, one on each side of the overlapped portions of metal mesh sheets 16a and 16b, span the distance between the two bolt holes. The heads of the bolts 114, which are positioned on the potential “attack” side of the barrier fence, are designed so they cannot be grabbed or turned from that side.

Although this invention has been described by reference to specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in this art that various changes and modifications may be made in the apparatus components, configuration of the components, and other invention details without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.