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U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration

400 Seventh St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590


February 8, 2005

Refer to: HSA-10/WZ-189

Mr. Felipe Almanza
TrafFix Devices
220 Calle Pintoresco
San Clemente, California 92672

Dear Mr. Almanza:

Thank you for your letter of May 20, 2004, requesting Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) acceptance of four of your company's products as crashworthy traffic control devices for use in work zones on the National Highway System (NHS):

Accompanying your letter were reports of crash testing conducted by Karco Engineering and video of the tests. You requested that we find these devices acceptable for use on the NHS under the provisions of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350 "Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features." We initially responded on August 4, 2004, and additional information was provided by Karco on November 29, 2004.


The FHWA guidance on crash testing of work zone traffic control devices is contained in two memoranda. The first, dated July 25, 1997, titled "INFORMATION: Identifying Acceptable Highway Safety Features," established four categories of work zone devices: Category I devices are those lightweight devices which are to be self-certified by the vendor, Category II devices are other lightweight devices which need individual crash testing but with reduced instrumentation, Category III devices are barriers and other fixed or heavy devices also needing crash testing with normal instrumentation, and Category IV devices are trailer mounted lighted signs, arrow panels, etc. for which crash testing requirements have not yet been established. The second guidance memorandum was issued on August 28, 1998, and is titled "INFORMATION: Crash Tested Work Zone Traffic Control Devices." This later memorandum lists devices that are acceptable under Categories I, II, and III.

A brief description of the devices follows:

Looper Cone with 30 pound base and standard barricade light

This 42 inch tall cone tapers from a bottom diameter of 7 3/4 inches to 4 inches at the top. It is made of low density polyethylene with a nominal wall thickness of 3/16 inches, and is ballasted with a 30 pound (recycled crumb rubber) base. A conventional Type A or C warning light, weighing 3 pounds, including batteries, was attached to the top using a 4 1/8 inch long, 1/2 inch diameter bolt and nut, (along with a vandal resistant washer.)

Metro A Cade with Phoenix Extruded Rail and standard barricade light

This Type II barricade consists of two A-Frame legs, which support, and are perpendicular to, the two 8.25 inch wide Itasca Plastics striped rails. The 96-inch long rails weigh 5.9 pounds each, and the 39.36 inch tall A-Frame legs weigh 6.2 pounds apiece. The rails are extruded high density polyethylene plastic (HDPE) and the legs are injection molded HDPE. A con- ventional Type A or C warning light, weighing 3 pounds, including batteries, was attached to the top using a 4 1/8 inch long, 1/2 inch diameter bolt and nut, (along with a vandal resistant washer.)

Big Buster Sign Stand with dual springs, Aluminum inner mast and .080 Aluminum sign

This "X-footprint" portable sign stand has an aluminum upright mast measuring 1 1/2 inches square, out of which telescopes the 1 1/4 inch square aluminum inner mast. The total height of the extended mast is 131 inches, which supports a 48x48 inch diamond sign approximately 60 inches above the pavement. The mast is supported on dual springs mounted on 1 1/4 inch square folding legs which measure 125 inches each when extended. The signs are held in place with a set of TrafFix Devices rigid sign brackets.

Phoenix Sign Stand with 12 gage, 1.75"PSST upright, .080 Aluminum sign and standard light

The 102 inch tall mast of this stand is 12 gage, 1.75 inch square perforated square steel tubing simply supported by a recycled rubber and steel base. The bottom of the sign is mounted 13 inches above the pavement. A 48x48 inch diamond, 0.080 inch thick aluminum sign was bolted to the mast. A conventional Type A or C warning light, weighing 3 pounds, including batteries, was attached to the top using a 4 1/8 inch long, 1/2 inch diameter bolt and nut, (along with a vandal resistant washer.)


Full-scale automobile testing was conducted on your company's devices. Two stand-alone examples of the device were tested in tandem, one head-on and the next placed six meters downstream turned at 90 degrees, as called for in our guidance memoranda.

The tests are summarized in the table below.


Test Numbers TR-P23163-

Test Number





Device Tested

Looper Cone

Metro A Cade

Big Buster


Weight of Device

35.3 pounds

24.2 pounds

65 pounds

72 pounds

Mounting heights



60 in

12 in

Flags? Lights?

1 Light



1 Light

Mass of Vehicle

1819 #


1819 #

1819 #

Impact Speed

101.4 km/hr

101.1 km/hr

100.4 km/hr

102.0 km/hr

Velocity Change

0.8 m/s

0.4 m/s

0.6 m/s

1.6 m/s

Extent of contact

Light hit windshield

Rail hit wind.

Dents in hood

Dents in hood

Windshield Damage

Minor cracking


Glass shattered

Glass shattered

Other notes


No damage

No holes

No holes


Damage was limited to the bumper, sheet metal damage to the hood and roof, and minor to modest cracking to the windshield. The results of the testing met the FHWA requirements and, therefore, the devices described in the various requests above and detailed in the enclosed drawings are acceptable for use on the NHS under the range of conditions tested, when proposed by a State.

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

Sincerely yours,

/Original Signed by Harry W. Taylor/

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

4 Enclosures

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