CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This patent application is a continuation of Provisional Application No. 60/557,506, filed Mar. 30, 2004, and incorporates elements of the inventor's currently pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/001,105, filed Dec. 1, 2004, and its parent U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/641,452, filed Aug. 16, 2003, all of which are by the same inventors hereof.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to the field of collapsible below-grade barriers which may be employed as a barrier to vehicle movement. In particular, the present invention provides a simple below-grade mounted bollard and cable system providing a collapsible barrier protecting a wide spatial area.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to an automatic collapsible self-contained, below-grade traffic barrier bollard and cable system which may be installed with a minimum amount of excavation and minimum on-site construction. The system may be installed into a foundation perimeter and features a novel and unique rapid deployment system.
2. Description of the Prior Art
With the recent terrorists' attacks and threats of further attacks, security has become of utmost concern to businesses, local, state and federal governments and especially the military. Many security devices are currently available, such as traffic barricades. These traffic barricades come in a wide variety of types adapted for general and specific purposes. However, the present invention relates specifically to collapsible road traffic barriers and barricades.
Collapsible road traffic barriers and barricades are well known in the prior art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,861,185, which issued to Eikelenboon on Aug. 29, 1989, discloses a collapsible road traffic barrier comprised of a foundation pit, a frame located in the foundation pit, an expandable traffic barrier element mounted in the frame, at least one energy absorption element extending from a rear wall of the foundation pit to a rear side of the frame, and at least one stretching element connected between the front side of the frame and the front wall of the foundation pit. A large disadvantage of this prior art device is that once a vehicle crashes into the device it is difficult and time consuming to repair afterwards.
Another example is seen in U.S. Pat. No. 4,850,737, which issued to Nasatka, et al, on Jul. 25, 1989, discloses a vehicle barricade comprised of a frame to which a traffic barrier plate is pivotally mounted for being moved between a passage and a blocking position. Here again, this prior art device is difficult and time consuming to repair after a crash. Moreover, the hydraulic actuator is slow in activation.
Still another example is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,158,696, which issued to Brodski, provides a system that prevents motorists from crossing railroad tracks such that when the warning gates are down during the approach of a train, this invention provides for a plurality of piercing cogs that retract from the ground when the railroad crossing gates are closed. The device of this invention pierces the tires of vehicles crossing thereover but does not stop the vehicles from passing therethrough. Moreover, this prior art device has a similar problem of being difficult and time consuming to repair following a crash.
Yet another example is seen in U.S. Pat. No. 4,705,426, which issued to Perea on Nov. 10, 1987. The traffic barrier disclosed in this patent comprises a vault buried within and transverse to the roadway. The vault has within a latched plurality of traffic barrier arms that may be raised by any powered means, or manually, and the raised traffic barrier arms being positioned within the vault so that impact forces are transmitted directly to the vault, and to a foundation, and little or no load is supported by a pivoting mechanism disposed therein. This device has a similar problem of being difficult and time consuming to repair following a crash.
Accordingly, it is seen that there exists a need for an automatic self-contained collapsible traffic barrier bollard and cable system, which can be installed with minimum excavation and on-site construction into a foundation perimeter and features a novel and unique rapid deployment system, and which is capable of being repaired in a brief amount of time. Ideally, the device of the present invention should encompass rapid deployment, portability, and ease of replacement.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The prior art collapsible road traffic barriers, as identified above, fail to provide the benefits intended with the present invention, such as providing an automatic self-contained collapsible traffic barrier bollard and cable system that is easy to repair after a crash. Additionally, prior art techniques do not suggest the present inventive combination of component elements as disclosed and claimed herein. The present invention achieves its intended purposes, objectives and advantages over the prior art device through a new, useful and unobvious combination of component elements, which are simple to use, are reasonably simple and inexpensive to manufacture, assemble, test and may be manufactured of readily available materials.
As will be amplified in greater detail hereinbelow, the present invention solves one of the prior art problems by providing a below-grade collapsible bollard and cable vehicle barrier system in a vehicle pathway. The system comprises one or more bollard devices that include a vault located in the vehicle pathway, a rod rotatably mounted inside the vault, a bollard having a first end coupled to the rod, whereby rotation of the rod rotates the bollard to extend the second end thereof above the vehicle pathway. An actuator is secured within the vault for rotating the rod and thus raising the bollard. A cable is disposed perpendicular to the vehicle pathway with each end thereof affixed to anchors on either side of the pathway. The middle of the cable is affixed to the second end of the bollard. When the bollard is raised the cable is stretched across the pathway forming a barrier to traffic.
The present invention is a barrier formed by one or more cables, or other similar flexible elongated barrier elements, that have a ground level condition when in storage and have a raised condition when active as a barrier. The ground level condition allows movement of vehicles over the barrier element due to the small size of the barrier element. The raised condition is enabled by one or more flush below-surface mounted bollards to which the barrier element is secured and retained. The bollards are each rotated from a flush down condition to an upright orientation to elevate the barrier element.
In a preferred embodiment, a barrier element of at least two steel cables is secured at opposite ends to deadweights, or other permanent anchors, located at bounding sides of a vehicle path across which a collapsible barrier is to be found. A single flush-mounted rotatable bollard, secured to the cables, is mounted within the vehicle path surface between the deadweights.
One object of the invention is a simple and inexpensive collapsible vehicle barrier capable of protecting an extensive path width.
Another object of the invention is a collapsible vehicle barrier configured to be installed across commercial aircraft runways without impeding aircraft taxi traffic.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Still other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, wherein is shown and described only the preferred embodiment of the invention, simply by way of illustration of the best mode contemplated of carrying out the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details are capable of modifications in various obvious respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive, and what is intended to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims. The present invention will become apparent when taken in conjunction with the following description and attached drawings, wherein like characters indicate like parts, and which drawings form a part of this application.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a collapsible barrier according to the invention, which barrier is formed by multiple flush-mounted bollards retaining and raising multiple cables as barrier elements.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a barrier formed by a single flush-mounted bollard with a cable barrier secured at its ends by deadweight.
FIG. 3 is the embodiment of FIG. 2 in an inactive stored condition where the barrier element cable is lying on the ground across the vehicle path.
FIG. 4 is an alternative embodiment of the invention in which a barrier element cable is secured at its ends by buried anchors.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT
FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view illustrating pertinent parts of an exemplary bollard for supporting the cable of the barrier, which view includes the rotation rod and bushings for rotatably securing the rotating rod.
Referring now to the drawings and to FIG. 1 in particular, multiple bollards 10 are shown retaining and elevating barrier elements that have the form of two flexible steel cables 20. The condition shown is a raised condition, wherein cables 20 are elevated by the bollards 10 above respective bollard vaults 12. The vaults 12, in use, are buried into, and flush with, the surface of a vehicle path. In most cases, the vehicle path is formed of pavement directly on the ground.
In a stored or down condition, the bollards 10 are each received within, and flush to, the top of its respective bollard vault 12. In this condition, the cables 20 are flush to the vehicle path.
In operation, as a vehicle barrier, the bollards 10 are raised to place the cables 20 in the path of a vehicle. The cables 20 intercept the vehicle and prevent continued motion of the vehicle past the cables 20. The vehicle's energy is absorbed by the cables 20, bollards 10 and vaults 12. The vehicle force is resisted by the vault mounting in the ground and any cable end anchoring.
The cables are designed to provide sufficient strength and toughness to absorb the vehicle energy and force. Preferably, the cable is wound or braided multi-strand steel cable.
Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, an alternative embodiment of the present invention is shown. As shown in these figures, a single bollard 10 and vault 12 are flush mounted in a vehicle path, such as a roadway 30. The cable 20 is secured to the distal end of the bollard 10 to be moved, alternatively, into a raised and down positions as described hereinabove. The cable ends are secured to deadweights 40 located adjacent the sides of the roadway 30. The deadweights 40 are designed and constructed to provide resistance to cable forces during impact by a vehicle. The deadweight 40 may be formed of concrete blocks. The cable 20 crosses, and is elevated above, the roadway 30, in order to intercept vehicles traveling on the roadway when it is undesired, such as when the cable is in the raised condition as shown. In FIG. 2, the vehicle path 30 is depicted as transparent around the vault 12 in order to provide viewing of the buried vault 12.
With reference to FIG. 3, the bollard 10 is in the down condition, allowing the cable 20 to rest on the roadway 30, thereby allowing vehicles to cross (over the cable). The cable length should be sufficient to provide slack for this configuration and function. The cable 20, or alternative barrier element, must have sufficient flexibility, also, to passively move between the raised and down conditions as described. In FIG. 3, the roadway 30 is opaque such that only flush top of the vault is visible.
Referring now to FIG. 4, al alternative configuration is shown secured at its ends to ground anchors 45. The ground anchors 45 may be flush-buried deadweights or other similar securing means. Note that due to ground level securing of the cable 20, the cable in the raised condition is not horizontal, but rather sloped to the ends.
The protected vehicle path may be a roadway for automobiles or an airplane runway. The width of the barrier may be increased by increasing the length of the cable 20, and increasing the number of bollards 10 as necessary to provide a sufficiently supported and elevated barrier. The number and size of the cables 20 may be increased in order to absorb the energy of larger vehicles as expected in any particular application. Similarly, the size of the vault 12 and height of the bollard 10 may be adjusted to accommodate particular application parameters.
The invention includes methods of protecting a protected border or area from entry by vehicles wherein at least on thin flexible elongated barrier element is disposed substantially on the ground such as to allow passage by vehicles during unprotected conditions; and during protected conditions, raising the barrier element and restraining it on bollards in order to created a vehicle stopping barrier.
An exemplary individual vault 12 and bollard 10 design and construction is illustrated the exploded perspective view of FIG. 5. Each bushing 32 is broken down into a top half 32 a and a bottom half 32 b, which are bolted together by means of bolts 32 c. The bushing 32 is then attached to one of several I-beams (not shown) within the vault 12 by means of bolts 32 d. Thereafter, a rotating rod 26 is located therein and the bushings are secured together by means of the bolts 32 c. A sleeve 27 has attached thereto brackets 35, which are threaded onto the rotating rod 26 through openings 35 a formed therein.
A pivot arm 37 is likewise threaded onto the rotating arm through openings 37 a formed therein. A base plate 55 is welded onto the end of the pivot arm 37 opposite the ended threaded onto the rod 26. Thereafter, a clevis 52 is bolted onto the base plate 55 by means of bolts 52 a. The bollard 10 is inserted into the sleeve 27 and a pin 36 is inserted into mating openings 27 a in the sleeve 27 and 34 a of the bollard 10. The keys 50 are then inserted into openings 36 a and 36 b on respective ends of the pin 36 for securing it in place.
Once all the components are assembled and aligned and an actuator 38 is installed, the operating end thereof is inserted in the clevis 52. A pin 57 is then inserted into openings 52 a and 52 b of the clevis 52 as well as opening 38 a of the actuator 38. The pin 57 is held in place by means of keys 58 inserted into openings 57 a and 57 b formed in each end thereof.
When the system 10 of the present invention is activated or deployed, the traffic barrier bollards 10 are raised in a fashion so that they are tilted toward the oncoming vehicular traffic. During this process, the traffic barrier arms are raised to the point where they stop against a solid steel plate 42 which limits and controls the travel of the base of the each respective bollard 10. Typical deployment time for raising the bollards is approximately 3 to 18 seconds.
As stated hereinabove, when the bollards 10 are in the raised or upright position, and the cable 20 is likewise hoisted, the bollards form an angle (e.g., 900 or less) with the road surface toward the oncoming traffic. When a vehicle makes contact with the cable the cable ultimately stops the vehicle.
Although the invention has been described with reference to a specific embodiment, this description is not meant to be construed in a limiting sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiment as well as alternative embodiments of the invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art upon reference to the description of the invention. It is therefore contemplated that the appended claims will cover any such modifications of embodiments that fall within the true scope of the invention.