Over the past 20 years there has been a significant growth in the deployment of plastic water filled barriers in urban and arterial road construction sites. Water filled barriers have become the de-facto choice because “this is the way we’ve always done it”.  For today’s site project teams this is what they know.

These barriers have some positives for their choice on sites, when unfilled they are easy to move generally have good turning radius for deployment and they have integrated end terminals.

Road Safety-waterfilled


However, Water Filled Barriers have many more problems for deployment. The primary issue in the use of water filled barriers is that the water is rarely filled. Without the water, a water filled barrier is no longer a barrier. Without water, Water Filled Barriers are very expensive traffic cones. Deployment of waterfilled barriers without filling is a too-common, dangerous practice that gives road workers a false sense of security.

When deployed correctly a Water Filled Barrier has a large dynamic deflection, and while appearing large and heavy, offer little protection to a worker. These barriers are down rated in speed from 70kph to 50kph work zones as a way to limit their use in an attempt to reduce the risk of worker injury either through speed or the failure to fill with water. A water filled barrier without water does not provide protection at any speed.



In addition to deployment issues, the water filled barrier has several operational failings. The life cycle is 5 years or less. When the barriers are being moved the water must be drained, which can cause safety issues on the road. After deployment the water filled barriers must be returned to the depot, leak tested, possibly plastic welded for repair, before they can be redeployed.

The leak testing and repair infrastructure for a large fleet of plastic water willed barriers is a large investment. Water filled barriers appear as an inexpensive option, however cost of ownership through maintenance and repair are high and time taken onsite to fill adds to safety concerns.

water filled barrier are cost and time inefficient
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Today’s lower speed (50-70kph, 30-45mph) road construction sites use a variety of solutions to improve the safety for construction workers and motorists travelling through these traffic disruptions. These sites can be inner city urban roads, arterial roads, building construction sites and urban and suburban surface rail project construction.

Some of the safety ‘solutions’ deployed are simply traffic cones and barrels. They are very low cost solutions, but do not provide positive protection for anyone involved in the construction sites.



If you are a contractor and you are not planning to put water in your water filled barriers, you should simply use traffic cones.

Traffic cones will not give your workers or passing motorists the false impression that there is a safety barrier between the traffic and the work site. The use of traffic cones is limited to 40kph. An errant vehicle at 40kph will still cause serious injury to a worker and afford only deliberation without real safety.

If you are a contractor who is serious about safety the newly introduced Defender 70™ Temporary Steel Barrier offers a new alternative to water filled barriers.


THE DEFENDER 70/100 Free Standing

The Defender 70/100 Free Standing is a MASH Test Level 2 & 3, free standing temporary steel barrier that is 3.9m in length. The Defender 70/100 FS includes a removable concrete-filled, steel ballast box that improves deflection performance over plastic water filled barriers by 67%. Just like water filled they are free standing. Unlike water filled they are a barrier from the time of deployment.

The Defender 70/100 FS barrier system is fully compliant with upcoming national standard that require terminal transitions to be tested, and as proven on the test track, the Defender 70/100 FS redirects from barrier 1. This means that when a Defender 70/100 FS system is designed and deployed as part of your roadworks you are using a system that is fully tested and compliant from the beginning to the end.


THE DEFENDER 70/100 Free Standing

With Defender 70/100 FS the ballast is easily identifiable with our Orange mounting washers on the outside skin of the barrier.

It features a patented ‘E’ joint to allow up to 5° of radius between each barrier and has a uniquely designed universal hinge to allow construction site traffic control planners the ability to provide positive protection throughout their work sites.

Defender 70/100 FS achieves a radius of 230 metres when deployed in the standard manner, however the innovative E joint allows for a varied barrier connection that achieves a tighter installed radius, and the Defender Hinge can assist with creating turns at 90° or better radius. Unlike plastic waterfilled barriers which have to be separated on tight corners, Defender 70/100 FS can be installed as a continuous unbroken run adding greatly to safety.

defender 70 - alternative solution to water filled barrier
defender 70 - alternative solution to water filled barrier


It is true that you cannot carry as many Defender 70/100 FS on a truck as you can empty waterfilled barriers; however Defender 70/100 FS offers significant ongoing site savings and are much faster to move as your work site moves because it is not necessary to wait for the water to be emptied and then to be refilled. When you move Defender 70/100 FS you can be back at work almost immediately.

Any traffic switch or site move, when using water filled requires the decanting of all of the water, moveing the barriers, redeploying and refilling. This is a huge cost in site time and safety. A traffic switch or site move is much simpler when using Defender 70/100 FS. All you have to do is move the barriers to the desired location. The Defender 70/100 FS is simple. On return to the depot, there is no requirement for refill, leak check or repair. Defender 70/100 FS can be stacked, ready to go the next site.

Every contractor on an every job site is under budgetary and time constraints. There is a need to save time and money without compromising safety. The Defender 70/100 FS is the only fully tested free standing barrier system available today that removes ongoing cost for maintenance, and reduces the cost associated with the wasted time and wages on site while you wait for barrier to be filled.

The Defender 70/100 FS offers long term affordable safety.