Portable water-filled barriers (PWFBs) are roadside appurtenances that are used to prevent errant vehicles from penetrating into temporary construction zones on roadways. A numerical model of the composite PWFB, consisting of a plastic shell, steel frame, water and foam was developed and validated against results from full scale experimental tests. This model can be extended to larger scale impact cases, specifically ones that include actual vehicle models. The cost-benefit of having a validated numerical model is significant and this allows the road barrier designer to conduct extensive tests via numerical simulations prior to standard impact tests Effects of foam cladding as additional energy absorption material in the PWFB was investigated. Different types of foam were treated and it was found that XPS foam was the most suitable foam type. Results from this study will aid PWFB designers in developing new generation of roadside structures which will provide enhanced road safety.