JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following a monthslong I-TEAM investigation into a guardrail that multiple families have blamed for their loved ones’ deaths, the Florida Department of Transportation is removing X-LITE guardrails from Northeast Florida highways.
On Monday, X-LITE guardrails were removed in Putnam County and two guardrails along Interstate 295 between the Buckman Bridge and Interstate 95 were removed. FDOT officials said their contractors will return Tuesday and remove two more guardrails near San Jose Boulevard.
After the I-TEAM started asking questions, FDOT committed to removing all 146 X-LITE Guardrails in the state by the end of the year.
“There were some questions regarding the X-LITE guardrail end terminal. We have not had any issues here, but we had some questions and concerns, and we decided to take a proactive approach to removing those,” said Troy Roberts, a communications specialist with FDOT.
The manufacturer of the X-LITE guardrail, Lindsay Transportation Solutions, insists its guardrail meets all federal safety guidelines and performs as designed. At the time of the I-TEAM’s original report in November, the company released the following statement:
“Florida has confirmed that they have had no negative experiences with the X-LITE. Further, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has examined and re-examined the X-LITE and its in-service performance and has gathered input from state departments of transportation across the country. In FHWA’s evaluations, the X-LITE has performed consistently with other end terminals on U.S. roads and highways.”
The removal of one terminal cost anywhere between $3,500 and $5,000, so removing all 146 in Florida will cost taxpayers around $730,000, with a targeted completion date at the end of the year.