Office of Bridges and Structures

Research Project


Investigation of Bridge Mounted Light Poles Vibrations, Burlington Bridge


Bridge Engineering Center logo

Project status


About the research

Background: Construction on the Burlington cable-stayed bridge across the Mississippi River began in 1989 and the bridge was completed in 1994. From west to east the bridge consists of the
following: (1) composite steel plate girder approach spans with exit and entrance ramps
in Iowa, (2) 660-foot and 405-foot cable stayed spans, (3) a suspended span, and (4)
prestressed concrete beam approach spans in Illinois (Petzold 1995). Forty-two light
poles for roadway lighting were part of the bridge project and were installed in 1994 by a
subcontractor to the primary contractor, Edward Kraemer and Sons.

Scope and Objective: Recently, attention has been drawn to failing luminaires on the Burlington Cable Stayed Bridge. Many light bulbs have failed prior to reaching their expected life. It was
hypothesized that vibrations from vehicular traffic may have caused the premature
failures. On November 15, 2001, with 10 mph winds and a 60-degree Fahrenheit
temperature, several tests were conducted under different load conditions to study how
traffic affects the light poles. The primary purpose of these tests was to understand the
relationship between traffic induced vibrations and luminaire behavior and subsequent