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Phase IB Crash Testing of Single, U-Channel Sign Supports and Surrogate, Reusable, Test Vehicle Development




Ryan Bickhaus, Cody Stolle, Jennifer Rasmussen (Schmidt), Ronald Faller, Bob Bielenberg, Karla Lechtenberg (Polivka), Jim Holloway




Single-post, U-channel sign supports are used across the country for small signs, chevrons, and mile delineators. Despite their wide use, many U-channel sign supports have not been fully evaluated to current American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) Test Level 3 (TL-3) criteria. The objective of this research effort was to evaluate the crashworthiness of various breakaway sign systems mounted on single U-channel sign supports that were identified as critical during the Phase Ia report. A surrogate, reusable, 1100C test vehicle, which replicated the stiffness, dynamics, and geometry of a MASH 1100C small car test vehicle and consisting of a modified 2012 Kia Rio small car with reinforced undercarriage and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) bumper cover, bumper cartridge, hood, and windshield piece, was used to evaluate the performance of the sign supports. Three component tests were conducted to verify the behavior of the surrogate, reusable, 1100C test vehicle with the fullscale crash test results from test nos. UCSS-1a, UCSS-1b, and UCSS-1c. Seven subsequent component tests were conducted on breakaway sign support systems mounted on single, U-channel posts using the surrogate, reusable, 1100C test vehicle. Five of the seven test installations performed acceptably, and two tests (test nos. UCSS-8 and UCSS-11) failed due to rear window penetration. Surrogate, reusable, 1100C test vehicle performance and further testing recommendations were made for Phase II of the research project.


Highway Safety, Component Test, Roadside Appurtenances, Compliance Test, MASH 2016, U-Channel Sign Supports, Surrogate Vehicle, Breakaway Supports

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