Brighter street, road signs coming

Published 12:28 pm Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More reflective road signs will be costlier for Warren County but could be phased in with Warren County’s stock of a “couple of thousand” highway markers by next year, Road Manager Richard Winans said.

By 2018, higher federal standards will kick in and require high-intensity signs on subdivision streets and major interstates nationwide. Prices for street signs, stop signs and other directional markers have increased about 25 percent, according to bid sheets accepted in some Mississippi counties.

Some Mississippi counties are preparing for the change this year, grudgingly, due to uncertainty about revenues across the board.

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“It costs about $17,000 a year in replacements,” Winans said, adding expected higher costs for more reflective signs should be worked into his department’s budget request for the coming year and new signs could be ordered next year. “We’ll get the engineers’ recommendations.”

Prices for road signs and posts vary by size and shape. Prices paid to Warren County’s contract sign vendor, Jackson-based Custom Products, for stop and yield signs range from $5.54 for small, 12-by-18 inch markers to $48.62 for 48-inch stop signs.

Street signs in Warren County are ordered separately from the road sign contract, usually by obtaining quotes as needed, Purchasing Agent Tonga Vinson said.

In 2008, the Federal Highway Administration mandated state and local agencies plan to upgrade all road signs by January 2012 to comply with new design standards to make signs easier to see at night. Signs that regulate or warn drivers — such as stop, yield, no parking, speed limit and do not enter, among others — must comply by 2015 for better night driving. Markers for county and state routes must comply by 2018.