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PennDOT developing a plan for replacement signs

September 17, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Communities across the nation are getting a reprieve on requirements that they replace most of their street signs.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Aug. 30 that his agency would eliminate deadlines to replace street signs with more reflective ones. Previously, there was a 2018 deadline requiring signs meet a reflectivity level and have larger lettering.

A few types of signs still will require replacement. Those include "safety-critical" ones such as railroad crossings and "one-way" signs at intersections with divided highways, according to a news release.

Washington Township, Pa., officials did an inventory of signs in their municipality. They found they had 304 stop signs, 480 street-name signs and 137 25-mph signs.

At an average of $100 per sign, overall replacement would have been a costly initiative for the municipality, Township Manager Mike Christopher told the township supervisors at a recent meeting.

The U.S. Department of Transportation now is asking communities to replace traffic signs when they are worn out.

"A specific deadline for replacing street signs makes no sense and would have cost communities across America millions of dollars in unnecessary expenses," LaHood said in a news release.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation replaces 80,000 to 90,000 of its 1.4 million signs every year, Mark Alexander, PennDOT's manager of sign standards, said in a 2010 interview.

PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters said the agency is continuing to inventory its signs and develop a plan for replacement.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's move must be formally amended in a Federal Highway Administration publication known as the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices," the news release said.

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