June 22, 1998
Refer to: HNG-14/SS-48A
Mr. Gary R. Reinert
SAFE Installation Company
2200 Spring Garden Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212
Dear Mr. Reinert:
This is in response to your letter of May 5 to our Director, Office of Engineering, Mr. Henry H. Rentz requesting Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) acceptance for your company's modified SAFE foundation for supporting "Penn DOT Type A Two-Legged" highway signs as breakaway devices. You included specifications, drawings, and calculations supporting the ability of the modified design to serve as a firm foundation for breakaway sign supports.
We initially concurred in the use of SAFE foundations for use with breakaway couplings in our September 23, 1994, letter to Mr. Kenneth L. Williams. The modification you request is to support a dual-legged breakaway sign with a single SAFE foundation insert. Your propose to do this by welding a "cap" across the top of the SAFE foundation and supporting the two legs of the breakaway support on either end of that cap. The breakaway devices used are the "New Jersey Breakaway Couplings" which were the subject of our acceptance letter number SS-23 dated March 14, 1991. Drawings of the proposed support modification are enclosed.
We have reviewed the documentation you provided and conclude that the modification to the design would not adversely affect the breakaway characteristics of the sign support installation. Therefore, your company's modified SAFE foundation for supporting "Penn DOT Type A Two-Legged Highway Signs" is acceptable for use, if requested by a State.
Our acceptance is limited to the breakaway characteristics of the system and does not cover its structural features. Presumably, you will supply potential users with sufficient information on design and installation requirements to ensure proper performance. We anticipate that the States will require certification from SAFE that the hardware furnished has essentially the same chemistry, mechanical properties, and geometry as those used in the previous crash testing, and that they will meet the FHWA change in velocity requirements.
SAFE foundations are proprietary products. To be used in Federal-aid projects, except exempt, non-National Highway System projects, proprietary products: (a) must be supplied through competitive bidding with equally suitable unpatented items; (b) the highway agency must certify 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.
Dwight A. Horne, Chief
Federal-Aid and Design Division
Geometric and Safety Design Acceptance Letter SS-48A