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What Is a Barrier Board?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
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A barrier board is a physical device used to restrict access to an area. It may be used in place of or in addition to guards, tire spike strips, or other devices. Barrier boards can be used for both temporary and permanent applications, and different types are used to control access or pedestrians, cars, or other vehicles. Typically, a barrier board more closely resembles a fence than the concrete block barricades used in road construction. In different regions, these boards are also known as council barricades, work barricades, or safety barricades.

The material and design of a barrier board must be matched to the needs of each application. Many of made of heavy duty plastic, though metal barricades can be used for long-term or vehicle applications. Some simply consist of temporary frames and boards constructed out of wood lumber, while others are pre-manufactured. Barrier boards may be combined with traffic cones to make them more visible, or to more effectively reroute traffic. They are often equipped with weights or sandbags to hold them in place and prevent them from falling over due to weather or vandalism.

A barrier board is most effective when it is readily identifiable by its coloring or signage. Yellow and black stripes or red and white striped patterns are easily identified in many parts of the world as a signal that access is not permitted. Others may be equipped with signs, such as graphical or spelled out "Do Not Enter" signs. Barrier boards may be painted, lined with reflective materials or well-lit to ensure they are easy for pedestrians or drivers to see.

Barrier boards are used in permanent settings around official government buildings. In these applications, they are often accompanied by a security guard, who restricts access for those who fail to yield to the barrier board. These boards prevent people from entering restricted areas, such as those designed for officials working in the building, and make it easier for guards to keep the site secure.

These barricades are also used in temporary applications, such as redirecting traffic around construction or an emergency site. For example, police may position a barrier board at entrance ramps to a highway that has been closed due to extreme weather or a mudslide. These boards also serve as effective tools for redirecting traffic or people during a special event, such as a parade or street fair. An attendant may be positioned near the barricade to help indicate a safe path around the event, and to ensure that pedestrians or vehicles do not attempt to enter an unsafe area.

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Discussion Comments
By Oceana — On Apr 12, 2012

The city I work in is starved for parking spaces, so my office shares a parking lot with the church next to us. During certain church events, we are prohibited from parking there, because they really need all the space they can get.

They always warn us a day ahead of time that they will be closing off the parking lot for a funeral or ceremony of some sort, but sometimes, I forget. When I arrive to work the next morning, there is a barrier board of plain wood with the words “no parking” branded into it.

This is probably a cheap barrier board because it is so simple, but it serves its purpose. I suddenly remember that I have to park further away and walk to work.

By lighth0se33 — On Apr 12, 2012

It seems that barrier boards have different degrees of visibility, depending on where they have to be placed. The ones around buildings and on trails are more simple and not as flashy as those placed in the road.

I was driving along the Natchez Trace Parkway last month when I came across a big barrier board that ran all the way across the street. It had several orange reflectors glued to it, and orange paint covered the area behind the words, “road closed.”

I had to take the detour, and once I got to the bottom of the off ramp and looked back, I could see that a large section of the parkway was gone. If anyone had driven through the barrier, they would have fallen thirty feet or so to the road below. No wonder it the barrier board was so noticeable!

By wavy58 — On Apr 11, 2012

@kylee07drg – I totally understand that feeling of disappointment. I felt the same way when I decided to take my nephew skating at the rink where I had learned to rollerskate.

At the entrance to the parking lot of the skating rink, there was a big barrier board that read, “restricted area.” I saw caution tape lining the front door, and the other driveway had a barrier board, as well.

I had no idea what had happened there, but it appeared to be the scene of a crime. Since we had planned to rent skates there, we couldn't just go to the park and skate. It was a sad feeling.

By kylee07drg — On Apr 11, 2012

Certain areas of my favorite state park are blocked off by barrier boards in fall and winter. This is mostly because the majority of people only use those areas in the warm months, and having to maintain and patrol them in cold weather would be a waste of precious resources.

I love going to the primitive campground area, because it has plenty of shade, several charcoal grills, and a beautiful view of the lake. Personally, I would go there in the fall to walk on the sand and have a picnic, but I discovered that I cannot do that. The barrier board plainly says, “Closed.”

It is always a letdown to see this board. People like me would love to roam the area year round, but we are prohibited.

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