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Type 31 Beam Guardrail Terminals and Anchors

General Information
Buried terminals and non-flared terminals are available for use with Type 31 beam guardrail. The Buried terminal is the preferred terminal. A non-flared terminal can be used where a buried terminal cannot be installed. 

On January 6, 2017, an amendment was issued requiring that Type 31 non-flared guardrail terminals be MASH-compliant. 

Identifying the different guardrail terminals 
Check below for a graphic that shows terminals used by WSDOT over the years. Some are no longer used, and some new terminals are not shown.

Common Energy Absorbing Guardrail Terminals

Type 31 Buried Terminal
Buried terminal is the preferred terminal for Type 31 beam guardrail because it eliminates the exposed end of the guardrail. The guardrail is anchored in a backslope that is 1V:3H or steeper and at least 4 feet in height.

Buried Terminal Type 2 is used when the foreslope is as steep as 1V:4H. A more abrupt flare is acceptable after the rail passed the bottom of the ditch. The height of the guardrail is maintained relative to the roadway and a rubrail is used along the exposed portion of the posts.  Standard Plan C-22.16

Buried Terminal Type 2        

Type 31 Non-flared Terminal
As of January 6, 2017, Type 31 beam guardrail non-flared terminals are required to be MASH compliant.  The following MASH compliant Type 31 beam guardrail terminals are currently listed on the Qualified Products List (QPL):

  • MSKT-SP-MGS (TL-3) - Use for all posted speeds
  • MSKT-SP-MGS (TL-2) - Use when posted speed is 45mph or less
  • SoftStop (TL-3) - Use for all posted speeds
  • Softstop (TL-2) - Use when posted speed is 45 mph or less

The Standard Plans identify proprietary non-flared terminal designs.  The Standard Plans do not show all of the details needed to construct these terminals. The Standard Plans supplement the manufacturers drawings which can be downloaded below. 

Manufacturer's Drawings
For use with 31 inch systems:

The SoftStop and the MSKT-SP-MGS are only supplied with steel posts, but can be used with wood post or steel post guardrail runs.

Older Type 31 guardrail non-flared terminals – NCHRP 350 compliant
The table below is provided for projects let prior to the amendment. These projects would generally require NCHRP 350 compliant non-flared Type 31 terminals.





Non-flared Terminals

(TL-3) (Road Systems Inc.)

SKT-SP-MGS (TL-3) (pdf, 118 kb)

Acceptable for use for all posted speeds. Steel post system

(TL-2) (Road Systems Inc.)

SKT-SP-MGS(TL-2) (pdf, 77 kb)

Use for posted speeds of 45 mph or below. Steel post system

(TL-3) (Road Systems Inc.)

SKT-MGS (TL-3) (pdf, 78 kb)

Acceptable for use for all posted speeds. Wood post system

Type 31 Anchors
A guardrail anchor is needed at the end of a run of guardrail to develop tensile strength throughout its length.


Roadside Safety Contact
Jeff Petterson, PE
Roadside Safety Engineer
Phone: 360-705-7246
Fax: 360-705-6815