This IM covers beam and cable guardrail, wood posts, steel posts and end terminals.


·        Steel beam guardrail components, steel beam guardrail end terminal and flared end terminal for cable connection shall meet the requirements Section 4155 of the Standard Specifications and the Standard Road Plan BA-200, BA-202, BA- 203, BA-204, BA-205 and BA-206.

·        Cable rail, Section 4155.03 A of the Standard Specifications.

·        Anchor cable, Section 4155.03 B of the Standard Specifications.

·        Wood posts, Section 4155.04 A of the Standard Specifications.

·        Steel posts, Section 4155.04 B of the Standard Specifications.

·        Wood spacer blocks shall meet the requirements for wood posts.

·        Spacer blocks of other materials may be used if they have been approved by the FHWA.


Approved sources of beam rail, steel posts, and end terminals are listed in the Materials Approved Products Listing Enterprise (MAPLE).



Submit the following to be considered for approval:


1.     Samples of each rail component

2.     Detailed drawings.

3.     Brand registration and guarantee.

4.     End terminals must be accepted as a crash worthy device by the FHWA.

5.     Documentation stating that the steel items are melted and manufacture in the U.S.A.

6.     The FHWA approval letter stating compliance to NCHRP 350 or AASHTO MASH shall be submitted for items covered by the FHWA hardware review process.

7.     Procedures used for repairs and for welding (Where the galvanizing on guardrail or fittings has been damaged, the coating shall be repaired by re-galvanizing or the surface repaired by painting with separate coats of zinc dust/zinc oxide paint conforming to the requirements of IM 410. If welding is employed, the Flux Cored Arc Welding process shall be used and welding shall be performed by a certified welder. All welds shall be ground smooth and mechanically cleaned before galvanizing repair).



Usually, guardrail materials are stocked at a supplier’s warehouse. Sampling and inspecting will be done at the supplier on each shipment of guardrail material. Test reports will be on file at the warehouse and at the District Materials office.  The sample size should be at least 1 in. by 12 in. secured from the edge of beam railing. Sample one set per size of nuts, bolts, and washers. 

In the event that guardrail materials are shipped directly from a fabricator, the District Materials Office will secure monitor samples. A minimum of one sample should be secured annually for each fabricator with an approved Brand Registration & Guarantee. The samples are the same as noted above.



Material shall be accepted on the basis of manufacturer certification, and approved brand registration. Approved Fabricator Brand Registrations and Guarantees are listed in Appendix A.


Check the markings on the beam element end sections and backup plates prior to incorporation into a project and document in the project records. Markings for end sections and back-up plates may be accepted on durable tags securely attached to each section or bundle in lieu of the above on the individual pieces.


The beam elements shall be identified as follows:


1.     Name & Brand of Manufacturer

2.     Identification Symbols or Code for Heat Number

3.     Coating Lot

4.     AASHTO Specification Designation Number

5.     Class & Type



Material from a supplier may be incorporated in a project provided each shipment is accompanied by a bill of lading containing a Certification Statement as outlined below. An authorized representative of the supplier shall sign the certification statement.


The following information and certification shall appear on the above documents.


1.   Supplier name

2.   Project number

3.   Itemized materials list

4.   Materials lab numbers

5.   An inspection report for wood posts

6.   A mill test report for steel posts, not part of end terminal section.


The material itemized in this shipment is certified to meet the specification requirements of the Iowa Department of Transportation. All products of steel or iron meet the requirements of IM 107, Buy America.


All Beam Guardrail, bolts, nuts, and washers were tested and approved under Materials Lab Numbers:



Acceptance of steel posts will be on the basis of approved source along with a Certified Mill Test Analysis of the steel and a statement that the steel meets IM 107, Buy America.