August 17, 2004

Refer to: HSA-10/SS-125

Mr. Tom Friend
Friend Innovations
P.O. Box 636
Hibbing, Minnesota 55746

Dear Mr. Friend:

Thank you for your email correspondence of July 7, 2004, requesting Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) acceptance of modifications to your company's breakaway mailbox supports for use on National Highway System (NHS). Accompanying your letter were drawings of the new Model #037 mailbox support. You requested that we find it acceptable for use on the National Highway System under the provisions of National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350 "Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features."

Sign supports and mailbox installations should meet the guidelines contained in the NCHRP Report 350, "Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features". Requirements for breakaway supports are those in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' (AASHTO), "Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires and Traffic Signals".

The original Friend Town and Country Mailbox Support was found acceptable by the FHWA acceptance letter B-24 dated June 16, 1993. The acceptance was based on a comparison to the mailbox support designed and crash-tested by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. You also had an informal, live-driver test conducted at an impact speed of 62 mph.

The modifications to the Town and Country Mailbox are summarized below:

1) A single muffler clamp replaces the yoke clamps, used for height adjustments.
2) The extension U-post has been deleted.
3) Revised U-post driver, which is discarded upon installation.

We agree with your assertion that these modifications will have no significant affect on the breakaway performance of your company's mailbox support. Therefore, the modifications to your mailbox support described above and shown in the enclosed drawings for reference are acceptable for use as a Test Level 3 device on the NHS under the range of conditions as the similar mailbox support was tested, when proposed by a State.

Please note the following standard provisions that apply to FHWA letters of acceptance:

Sincerely yours,

/Original Signed by/

John R. Baxter, P.E.
Director, Office of Safety Design
Office of Safety