In the past, winds in West Texas have been recorded gusting up to 70 miles an hour, but it's the lesser, constant daily winds that can cause big problems, especially to traffic poles. This Thursday, the city council will discuss a resolution to allow the city to work with Texas Tech Researchers to find a solution to the problem. If approved, researchers will actually install detecting equipment at this intersection that will help the city take preventative measures.
"We'll be able to reduce the failures and also be able to inspect things that have started to fail and identify them sooner and we can actually go in and re-weld where it's starting to fail," explains City of Lubbock Traffic Engineer Jere Hart. These are just some of the tools the city would be equipped with if they team up with Texas tech researchers studying wind effect on traffic poles.
"We have significant need of knowing what we can do to reduce the wind fatigue," says Hart. There are more than 800 traffic poles in the city and all are at risk of being damaged. Two poles have actually snapped due to wind over the past ten years. "Since we get those lower 15 to 25 mph wind real often in Lubbock you can see where we would tend to have a bigger problem with that versus other cities that don't have the 15 to 20 mph winds on a regular basis," explains Hart.
Researchers will actually train city workers on how to inspect traffic poles for cracks. "To the naked eye you could ride up in a bucket truck and look right there and you wouldn't see it," adds Hart.
Early detection will be the key to saving the city thousands a year and most importantly lives. "The bigger concern on our part is that when something like that fails it doesn't do any damage to the public, that nobody gets hurt," he says. The city is also providing some poles to be used at the Reese Research Facility. If the resolution is given the green light, studies will begin as early as next week.