UNL Midwest Roadside Safety Facility launches fifth project for DOD

Midwest Roadside Safety Facility

Dan Moser, February 14, 2023

UNL Midwest Roadside Safety Facility launches fifth project for DOD

Researchers from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) College of Engineering are continuing development of a modified guardrail system for U.S. Transportation Command through a new $800,000 contract award.

Facilitated through the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska, the project leverages the one-of-a-kind installation and full-scale testing capabilities of the UNL Midwest Roadside Safety Facility (MwRSF). The new contract builds upon four previous projects, bringing the total funding for this work to $5 million since 2015.

“We are pleased to contribute to the DOD using our specialized skills and facilities,” said Dr. Cody Stolle, assistant director for MwRSF. “This is a tremendous opportunity to protect warfighters domestically and internationally. What we learn here can not only help keep our military bases safe but also enhance our research for civilian safety as well. Our research will contribute to life-saving, cost-effective protection systems to shield critical facilities.”


In 2016 and 2017, the MwRSF team designed and full-scale tested a non-proprietary version of an anti-ram barrier based on its Midwest Guardrail System (MGS), the most widely used roadside barrier in the U.S. The anti-ram barrier successfully captured a flatbed single-unit truck as well as a low-profile, heavy sedan, when impacting at 30 mph and at a perpendicular angle. The tested barrier was accepted by the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Transportation Engineering Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Protective Design Center.

Through this new award, the research team will further develop the anti-ram barrier to resist harder, more difficult and more strenuous impacts while maintaining the non-proprietary design requirement. The culmination of the project will be the ability of the new barrier to absorb a 15,000-pound truck impacting at 50 miles per hour at a perpendicular angle. Only a limited number of laboratories in the country can perform this kind of work and UNL is one of them, Dr. Stolle said.

In addition to Dr. Stolle, the project team includes:

  • Dr. Ronald Faller, Director and co-founder of the MwRSF team
  • Dr. Joshua Steelman, who specializes in structural engineering and bridge design
  • Weston Kelly, a graduate student in mechanical engineering
  • Andrew Loken, a graduate student in civil engineering

“This work highlights what we prioritize here at NSRI — protecting those who protect us all,” said Maj. Gen., USAF (Ret.) Rick Evans, NSRI executive director. “It also showcases the use of Nebraska’s unique, leading facilities and the opportunities these projects can provide to students. I appreciate Dr. Stolle’s leadership, and I look forward to seeing how the work progresses over the next several months.”


About the National Strategic Research Institute

Through the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska leading scientists deliver innovative national security research, technology, product and strategy development, training and exercises, and subject matter expertise to the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. One of only 14 DOD-designated University Affiliated Research Centers in the country, NSRI is sponsored by U.S. Strategic Command and works to ensure the United States’ safety and preparedness against increasingly sophisticated threats. Read about our mission

Midwest Roadside Safety Facility National Strategic Research Institute