Friday, engineers at Texas A&M began crash testing a new barrier designed for the Causeway’s southbound span, which has seen more than a dozen overboard accidents in the last two decades.

Friday’s test featured a large panel truck ramming into a replica of the south bound Causeway’s 25-inch high barriers, surmounted by a metal rail designed by the team from Texas A&M. Further tests, featuring a large pickup truck and a passenger sedan, are scheduled for next week.

A second design, similar to the first but with two additional rails instead of one, is scheduled to be tested late next week and the following week.

The south bound span’s concrete rail is 25 inches high, six inches lower than those on the north bound bridge. Causeway officials have become alarmed by the increasing number of overboard accidents in the past few years, and commissioned the Texas A&M study to see what could be done.

Once a design is selected, funding for the new railings must be obtained, either through grants or a raise in tolls, something Causeway Commission members have floated as a possibility.