Pharos-Tribune

March 20, 2013

Signs of Change

Signs will meet updated requirements for reflectivity

by Mitchell Kirk
Pharos-Tribune

— The Cass County Highway Department will be replacing signs along county roads in order to meet updated federal requirements for sign reflectivity.

Cass County Highway Department Superintendent Jeff Smith said about 1,400 signs will be replaced, which is around half the county’s inventory.

“We’re focusing primarily on regulatory signs, signs that are really important to safety.” Smith said, adding stop, yield, speed limit and curve signs would be among those being replaced.

The new signs meet updated requirements for sign reflectivity set by the Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA.

“Adequately maintained retro-reflective signs and pavement markings improve highway safety and prevent roadway departure crashes by bouncing light from vehicle headlights back toward the vehicle and the driver’s eyes, making the signs and markings appear brighter and easier to see and read,” states the FHWA on its website.

Smith said the new signs are sheeted with a material containing small glass beads and prisms designed to reflect light back to drivers at night.

“It will improve night visibility of the signs,” Smith said.

Smith said the project will cost around $226,000, with about 90 percent of the funding coming from the FHWA’s Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Smith said the initial amount awarded by the FHWA was cut back, which was why the county highway department was only able to replace half the county’s signs.

“We felt we were lucky to be able to get what we got and decided to do as many as we could with what money was allowed,” Smith said.

According to the FHWA, all regulatory, warning and ground-mounted guide signs will have to meet these reflectivity standards by January 2015.

Smith said the county highway department has addressed the initiative in the past by making sure signs meet the reflectivity standards when replacing them. He plans to continue to replace signs in the future and pursue funding when possible.

Dan Williams, superintendent of Logansport Public Works, said the city has already replaced its signs in order to meet the updated reflectivity standards.

“We completed it all last year,” Williams said. “We were a couple steps ahead of them, got it done and had the funds to do it.”

Smith said workers from MAS Markers, Inc. started replacing signs earlier this month, adding that two crews would be working all over the county installing around 35 signs per crew per day. He estimated the project will be completed by May.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.

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