July 13, 1990
Refer to: HNG-14/SS-19
Mr. Dragan Stevanovic
Manager, New Markets
Allied Tube and conduit
16100 South Lathrop Avenue
Harvey, Illinois 60426
Dear Mr. Stevanovic:
This is in response to your July 10 letter to Mr. James H. Hatton, Jr., requesting acceptance by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of your company's Square-Fit signpost system for use on Federal-aid highway projects. The FHWA breakaway criteria reference the requirements of Section 7 of the AASHTO Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires and Traffic Signals, 1985. Square-Fit signposts are identical to your company's Qwik-Punch posts with the exception that the Square-Fit holes are punched through whereas the Qwik-Punch holes are die-punched and must be knocked out by the end-user. This office accepted the Qwik-Punch signpost system on October 3, 1986, and we concur that the breakaway performance of the Square-Fit signposts would be similar for posts of equivalent gauge, dimension, and material specifications.
Therefore, Square-Fit signposts are acceptable for use on Federal-aid highway projects within the range of conditions outlined in our letter of October 3, 1986, if proposed by a State. This acceptance is limited to breakaway characteristics of the supports and does not cover their structural features. Presumably, Allied Tube and Conduit will supply potential users with sufficient information on structural design limitations and on installation requirements to ensure proper performance. We anticipate that the States will require certification from Allied that the Square-Fit signposts furnished have essentially the same chemistry, mechanical properties, and geometry as those used in the Qwik-Punch tests, and that those supports will meet the FHWA breakaway requirements.
Since these breakaway supports designs are proprietary items to be used in a Federal-aid highway project they: (a) must be supplied through competitive bidding with equally suitable unpatented items; (b) the State highway agency certifies that they are essential for synchronization with existing highway facilities or that no equally suitable alternate exists; or (c) they must be used for research or for a distinctive type of construction on relatively short sections of road for experimental purposes. Our regulations concerning proprietary products are contained in Title 23, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 635.411, a copy of which is enclosed.
L.A. Staron, Chief
Federal-Aid and Design Division
Geometric and Roadside Design Acceptance Letter Number SS-19