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Feasibility Study of Breakaway Stub Concept for Wooden Utility Poles




Edward Post, Patrick McCoy, Terry Wipf, Robert Bolton, Abbass Mohaddes




In the development of roadside safety improvement programs, many types of obstacles have been identified as being hazardous. In some cases these obstacles can be removed or relocated. The utility pole is an example of an obstacle that cannot be relocated easily. The severity of vehicle impacts with roadside obstacles can be reduced by making modifications to the obstacle in place. This study investigates the feasibility of a breakaway utility pole concept developed by the Transportation Research Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Pedulum and full-scale vehicle crash tests were conducted to determine the feasibility of the breakaway concept as well as to provide an understanding of the mechanics involved. A computer simulation model was developed and validated with data obtained from the tests in order to assist in the evaluation of the breakaway concept. A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed using severity index and probability of injury values calculated from results of full-scale tests and the computer simulations. Three full-scale vehicle crash tests were conducted using 40 ft. Class 4 Southern Pine utility poles. A large test vehicle (4450 lbs) was used for the first test and a small vehicle (2250 lbs) was used for the final two tests. The results of this study indicate that: (1) the breakaway concept is effective in reducing impact severities and therefore the probability of injury (2) the breakaway concept is cost-effective


Roadside Safety, Wooden Utility Pole, Computer Simulation, Full-Scale Vehicle Crash Test, Cost-Effectiveness

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