Pole selection

Hi, Just wondering what people are now doing in 2020 with regards to Traffic signal poles? are people still using passively safe poles, in urban areas? in any area? do people use the traditional steel poles anymore? are people using low access?
Sorry lots of questions, but just want to get a feel for what is best practice.


  • Hi Neil,

    Personally I’ve been using wide based galvanised powder coated steel posts for the past 12 years with no issues. Certainly even the oldest of those I’ve installed have no noticeable decay or aging.

    Have dabbled with Ali poles on a couple of high speed sites but to be honest, in terms of post-collision results, vehicle damage et al, the steel posts have for the most part not presented any less favourable results than the “passive” products.

    I suppose in certain circumstances Ali posts may pose a lesser risk of injury, but experience here is that it’s fairly rare for a signal post to be hit in such a way that’s likely to injure vehicle occupants therefore on balance is the additional cost really worth it? I remain to be convinced... for my own sites at least.

    The WB post is my standard pole so always have them in stock and thus RTC replacements are quick. Decent steel post spec (full galv plus powder coat) is as good as Ali for longevity I’d say.

    Biggest issue I’ve come across so far is actually D Brackets heavily corroding earlier than expected.
  • Thanks Chris for your reply.
    I have been using coated steel posts on all my schemes barring a couple which i have used sapa poles with low level access. I cant find a definitive guide. should i be using low level access poles, ali or Steel? i guess its just personal preference.
  • Hi Neil,
    It's all personal preference really and what your maintenance contractor has in stock and costs.

    Our asset is mix of black or grey steel posts with a few specials and a mix of shapes over time as design tastes change or for site specific reasons.

    For all new sites & refurbishments - Black 4m steel posts as standard, often using the Low Level Access pole that fits 115mm socket frequently to reduce working at height risks.
    Swan Neck Poles used if necessary to get clearances.

    For tall poles or where difficult/unsafe to place ladders e.g. Narrow Footways / Narrow Verges / Traffic Islands - Wide Base 168mm socket or the Low Level Access pole to fit 115mm socket.

    If Passive Safety required after Risk Assessment then I prefer Sapa 115-145 aluminium with access door but we also have some Jerol composite poles. None of these passive poles have been hit (unlike everything else non-passive that is hit regularly).
  • Thanks Mark for your comments. Like you say it's personal preference. I have not been using passive safe poles on anything apart from High speed roads, which we don't have many. i have also refrained from using low level access poles as the installers in the area don,t like working on them.
  • I’ve personally settled on using 168 WB black poles as a standard, with electrical connections in the pole base.

    Installers and maintainers do NOT like the NAL housings understandably as they are horribly fiddly and take up a lot of space if more than one cable.

    Some maintenance issues are appearing on some sites installed by the red corner about 6 years ago with corroded terminations in the pole base, but for the most part I try and design everything to avoid ladder work for day to day maintenance activities.

    Plus, the 168s prove to be fairly sturdy against collisions. A fortunate side effect of this is that the errant vehicles tend not to be leaving the scene as often as they oft do on 114 fitted sites - which is obviously good news for one’s revenue budget as much as anything else.
  • Chris, what do you use instead of the NAL termination enclosure?
  • It’s a mixture. Depending on what’s on the pole, usually just a timber backboard, with the terminals set off the board and a clear plastic cover to protect from running water down the inside of the pole.

    If it’s a busy pole, the maintenance guys prefer it to be pole top terminals.

    Seems counter intuitive I know, but it makes it easier for them, so that’s what they get!
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome to the forum

Please sign in or register. You don't need to be an IHE member to take part.