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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Feasibility of Using Steel "Auger In" Pole Foundations for Light Poles and Signs by SDDOT
Project Researcher: Daris Ormesher, SDDOT
Project Manager: Daris Ormesher
Research Period: 3/1/1997 - 6/30/1998
Cost: $4,000.00

Problem Statement: Some South Dakota cities are currently using steel "auger in" pole foundations for luminaire and sign supports. At selected locations, the bases have been used to replace the traditional concrete footings for light poles on city streets. Research is needed to determine if the "auger in" pole foundations are acceptable for use by the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT).

The steel "auger in" foundations are not currently approved by SDDOT because of the uncertainty of the foundation design in accordance with AASHTO design guidelines. AASHTO does not have specific design guidelines relative to "auger in" foundations. The responsibility should lie with the manufacturers of these foundations to provide SDDOT sufficient design detail to verify that the design is consistent with current AASHTO design specifications.

The use of these anchors in highly corrosive soils has not been proven and would probably require long term testing. It is necessary for SDDOT to develop corrosion specifications using current ASTM and AASHTO specifications that would allow the anchors to be used in South Dakota soils.

Crash tests have already been conducted on light poles and signs attached to steel "auger in" foundations. The tests have proven that "auger in" foundations supporting breakaway devices performed acceptably with respect to the breakaway feature.

The foundations have been crash, corrosion, and load tested by various states and agencies. There is no doubt that the foundations can perform satisfactorily as a luminaire or sign support. However, the design of the foundations must be in accordance with current AASHTO design guidelines and consistent with SDDOT criteria.


Research Objectives:
1  To develop specifications to allow "auger in" foundations to be used in South Dakota.
2  To determine the acceptability of using auger-in foundations for luminaire and sign supports with regard to AASHTO and SDDOT design procedures.

Research Tasks:
1  Offices of Research and Materials and Surfacing prepare a letter asking companies fabricating "auger-in" foundations to:

  • submitted to SDDOT design methodology that indicates the "auger in" foundations meet cur
    2  Develop specifications in accordance with AASHTO and SDDOT design procedures to allow the use of steel "auger in" foundations.
    3  Draft a letter to city and county engineers explaining SDDOT’s current policy concerning auger-in foundations for luminaire and sign supports.
    4  The Office of Bridge Design and Materials and Surfacing review submitted design methodology to compare to current AASHTO and SDDOT design procedures.
    5  Develop a policy to allow the use of steel "auger in" foundations if the design procedures from tasks four and five prove to be satisfactory.
    6  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the literature review, research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
    7  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at conclusion of the project.

    Documents Available:

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