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Section 4: Support Hardware



Support hardware includes anything that physically supports the luminaire. Highway lighting hardware described in this section is covered in the Standard Specifications for Construction of Highways, Streets and Bridges under the following items:

  • Item 610, “Roadway Illumination Assemblies”
  • Item 611, “Removing Roadway Illumination Assemblies”
  • Item 612, “Relocating Roadway Illumination Assemblies”
  • Item 656, “Foundations for Signs, Traffic Signals, and Roadway Illumination Assemblies.”

Further information is also contained in the Traffic Operations Standard Plans, Roadway Illumination Details (RID).

See References in Chapter 1, Section 1, for information on obtaining these publications.

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Roadway Illumination Assembly

The roadway illumination assembly is the complete assemblage of parts including the pole (or lighting standard), mast arms, fixtures, pole base, fuses, and connectors as specified by Item 610 as adopted by the Texas Department of Transportation.

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Non-Breakaway Support

A non-breakaway support is a light pole that is rigidly mounted, usually remaining upright when hit by a vehicle. (See the discussions on the Protection of Non-breakaway Poles and Placement of Non-breakaway Poles of non-breakaway poles in Chapter 6, Section 7.)


Breakaway Support

A breakaway support is a light pole designed to shear easily under vehicular impact. The breakaway feature can be an aluminum transformer base, a frangible insert between pole base and foundation, a slip base, or other device. The breakaway support must meet current AASHTO and FHWA requirements. (See the discussions on use of breakaway poles in Pole Placement Guidelines, Chapter 6, Section 7. See the discussion of Frangibility Requirement in Chapter 9, Section 3.)

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Transformer Base

The transformer base, made of cast aluminum, is bolted to a concrete foundation. The bottom flange of the pole is bolted to the top of the transformer base.

The aluminum is heat treated to make it “frangible,” so that the pole can break away from the base when struck by a vehicle.

Important: The structural strength of a breakaway luminaire pole depends on the pole and base combination. Bolt circle diameter, base plate thickness, and pole shaft diameter are key factors in determining the soundness of a breakaway luminaire pole. Refer to Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires and Traffic Signals (available from AASHTO — see References in Chapter 1, Section 1, for information on obtaining this publication.

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Breakaway Connectors

Breakaway connectors are fused or unfused connectors in the base of light poles. Fuses are required in the “line” conductor (hot wire) of all light poles for circuit protection. When breakaway poles are used, the electrical conductors must also be breakaway. This is accomplished by using special pull apart fuse holders (breakaway connectors). In the case of breakaway poles, the neutral must also have this breakaway connector but should be unfused.

NOTE: When installing a breakaway connector, attach the female connector to the energized end of the wire. Leave the male connector with the wires traveling up the pole. This eliminates the possibility of someone coming into contact with the energized circuit.

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