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County must replace road signs by 2015

By Kate Prahlad
Assistant Editor
[email protected]
Washington County will have to spend around $200,000 on a federal unfunded mandate to replace the county’s 10,000 road signs by 2015.
The current signs will either have to be replaced, or refaced, in order to make them a higher reflectivity, said Johnny Deakins, superintendent of the Washington County Highway Department.
“I guess they got a panel of people together who decided since the population was getting older in the United States that signs needed to be seen better at night at a longer distance,” Deakins said.
By 2010, the majority of the U.S. population will be 45 years and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
All states that receive federal funding have to replace the road and street signs with higher-visibility ones by 2015, and all street-name signs must be replaced by 2017.
3M is the only company that makes the high-reflectivity signs, Deakins said.
“We can reface old signs,” Deakins said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of that.”
In November, the county transferred $76,000 to the County Highway Department to pay for the sign replacements in two county zones. There are five total zones in the county.
“We’ve got three zones left to do,” he said. “[For replacements in the next three zones], it’s going to cost us around $200,000 to $225,000.”
Replacement should start in early 2010, he said.