What is a Wedge Barrier, and When is it Used?

BBRSS vehicle wedge barrier for maximum security

What is a wedge barrier?

A wedge vehicle barrier is one type of active vehicle barrier. They pivot from the surface of the pavement, forming a wedge shape to block the flow of traffic. This blocking fingers or plate, gets raised and lowered by electric or hydraulic systems and is done in a matter of seconds.

Wedge barriers often get used for anti-ram or counter-terrorism applications specified under their crash rating standards. The barriers protect restricted areas and high-security targets like military and government facilities, data centers, stadiums, nuclear plants, and embassies.

Other wedge barriers get used to stop regular traffic and are used in places like parking lots and car rental stores.

There are different options for vehicle wedge barriers; they can get installed on the surface, underground, or can be transportable.

Related: Why Invest in Vehicle Barriers?

When are they used?

Vehicle wedge barriers from BBRSS give you maximum security against all sizes of unauthorized vehicles for sensitive points of entry. Wedge barriers are used for various operations, and their use depends on their different crash ratings and the application in which they will be installed.

Vehicle wedge barriers are an effective way to prevent unauthorized vehicle entry for any number of facilities. They are popularly used by the Department of Defense to provide security for high-risk areas like manufacturing plants, corporate facilities, military bases, and utility installations.

Any property that has a security risk can benefit from wedge barriers, and they can be combined with other security features like barriers, gates, and bollards.

Do you need increased security measures for your property? Don’t forget about vehicle wedge barriers!

Types of finger wedge and plate barriers

Finger Wedge and plate barriers and highly regarded in the security industry and come in various styles:

Shallow mount:

Shallow mount wedge barriers are the most common ones found today, and they require minimum excavation to help avoid underground utilities.

Surface mount:

Excavation for surface mount barriers is typically limited or unavailable. These barriers can get integrated with gate arms and traffic lights.


Portable wedge barriers get used to increase security during special events; they are temporary and can easily get moved around.


Hydraulic wedge barriers are a proven success in the security industry, and they offer years of service as long as they get properly maintained. Most use environmentally friendly fluids.

  • Electric:  
  • Electric wedge barriers have a higher upfront equipment cost, which gets offset by the reduced installation, operational and maintenance costs.  There are no hydraulic lines to bury or HPU concrete pads to install with electric barriers.  Electric barriers have a reduced environmental impact.

Related: Technology to Prevent Crashes

Wedge barrier functions

BBRSS vehicle wedge barrier

Source: BBRSS Facebook:

Vehicle wedge barriers offer maximum protection for high-security, sensitive points of entry against all sizes of unauthorized vehicles.

Wedge barriers can get installed as a standalone unit or in combination with other security products to form an effective sluice arrangement for a vehicle checkpoint. The blocking segment gets raised either automatically or by a controller and blocks vehicle entrance in seconds. Many vehicle wedge barriers also have an emergency function to raise deploy even faster.

Wedge barriers sit flush to the road surface and are unobtrusive. Their eye-catching colors and optional lights ensure that vehicles notice them and stop in time. The barriers are available in different widths, and they typically have shallow foundations for easy install in inner cities.

Advantages of wedge barriers

There are many advantages of using vehicle wedge barriers, including:

  • High vehicle impact ratings.
  • Swift operation times.
  • Very shallow foundations.
  • Warning lights can be installed directly to the barrier.
  • They are rigidly constructed to withstand even the highest impacts.
  • Fast and easy installation.
  • Preassembled units are easy to deliver.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Long-term protection from the elements.
  • Installed in all types of climate zones.
  • Heavy vehicles with high wheel loads can pass through the closed wedge.
  • Emergency operations are available with accumulators, hand pumps and battery backup systems.

Types of wedge barriers: Hydraulic vs. electric

When you decide to use a wedge barrier to prevent unauthorized vehicles from accessing your property, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is whether you go with an electric or hydraulic system. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages; let’s take a look:

Hydraulic wedge barriers

Hydraulic pumping units  (HPU) for wedge barriers are mounted remotely and attached to the unit with hoses or underground steel pipes. Power is provided from local single or three-phase power sources.

  • Buried lines: In hydraulic wedge barriers, the lines are buried while the motor is above ground in a protected enclosure.  
  • Stronger force: Hydraulic power units are more potent and generate significant amounts of pressure. 
  • Reliable: HPU’s are known to be reliable and have few maintenance issues. Many hydraulic controllers can get run manually or off of different vegetable oils, negating the environmental concern.
  • Temperature: Cold weather can cause problems in hydraulic power units. This issue gets easily solved by installing heating units to maintain the proper viscosity of the oil.

Electric wedge barriers

Electric wedge barriers work great for unique locations that don’t allow the use of hydraulic units.

  • Variable speed: With electrical wedge barriers, you can produce variable speeds and gain more control over how quickly the unit rises. The variable speed allows you to raise the ramp quickly but set it down more slowly, which is easier on the system.
  • Maintenance: Electronic units are slightly easier to maintain.
  • Temperature: Unlike hydraulic units, electronic ones can handle any temperature without an issue.
  • Below ground: Actuators used to drive the barrier should be properly rated to ensure water intrusion into the actuator is prohibited.  Adequate drainage is required to ensure continued operation. 

BBRSS vehicle wedge barrierSource: BBRSS Facebook:

Are you ready to increase your security with a vehicle wedge barrier? See why BBRSS barriers are the best!

Related: Passive Vs. Active Barriers


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