Semester of Graduation

Fall 2023


Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Light poles are critical secondary structural components that support the functionality and safety of transportation systems. However, they are tall slender structures vulnerable to wind load. This research attempts to analyze the mechanism of the widespread failure (69 poles failed) of light poles on an elevated highway bridge exposed to Category 4 Hurricane Laura (2020). To understand the mechanism of the failure, a comprehensive analysis is conducted. A nonlinear finite element model is created to simulate the structural responses. Wind pressures are obtained and applied to the FEM to perform nonlinear static and transient analysis. Research results indicate that, when considering the presence of the bridge superstructure, stresses at the pole bottom exceed the yielding strength and significant inelastic strains are developed, which is the main cause of the widespread pole failure. Furthermore, additional analysis is conducted to evaluate the performance of the new light poles. The outcomes of this study have important implications for evaluating the current design standards for luminaire pole structures on elevated bridges. It is worth noting that this study serves as an initial step in understanding the failure of light poles on elevated bridges. Further research, including experimental testing and validation, is recommended to validate the findings and further enhance the understanding of the structural behavior of light poles under extreme wind conditions.



Committee Chair

Sun, Chao

Available for download on Thursday, August 20, 2026