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County Road Signage Undergoing Replacement; Townships Struggle With It
Posted on: 07/24/2013
By  Mike Cullums
In a period from 1999 through 2001, the Washington county engineer's office erected about 3,200 street name signs, as the county went through a laborious road-naming and mapping project in preparation for physical addressing.
Rural physical addressing is often called "9-1-1 addressing" in Washington County, as this county's addressing project and E9-1-1 implementation were done nearly simultaneously. Most Ohio counties completed physical addressing 10 to 20 years before starting on 9-1-1.)
Those street name signs are aging and more than a few - especially on remote township roads where they're arguably needed most -  have been stolen.
WMOA News spoke with County Engineer Roger Wright about road signage. Wright says ODOT replaces signs only at state highway intersections, and the county tries to mirror that policy.
“If it’s a stop sign on a county-township intersection, we’ll replace the stop sign. We’ll also take of the street name sign at a county-township (intersection). So the townships are responsible for township-to-township intersections.”   

And that is an ongoing problem because, while some townships are very good about replacing street name signs, others are not, or they simply cannot afford the cost.

While the county highway department will replace signs at county road intersections, the federal Department of Transportation is requiring all local governments to phase in new signage with higher reflectivity and standard lettering.

Wright says the county has received some grant money to help meet those reflectivity standards.
“We have gotten a sign grant the last couple of years – in 2010 and 2011 – and it was to upgrade signs around the county. Stop signs, arrows, all of them upgraded to meet those new standards for minimum reflectivity.”
The grants totaled $26, 000 which, being an 80-20 match, cost the county about $5,000.
Wright says his office prioritized which signage to replace first.
“We basically looked at our inventory of signs and the first thing I replaced were the regulatory signs because those are the most important – stop, yield and arrow signs. The second year of the grant we tried to replace everything else – school bus stops, warning signs, things like that.”
Roger Wright says he has considered making signs in-house at the county garage but, so far, that has not happened for a familiar reason.
“We’ve had that discussion and there’s some benefit to being able to build them in-house because you don’t have that turnaround time of placing an order, waiting for it to be done, waiting for it to come back. But we always have plenty of maintenance to do, so we haven’t proceeded forward (on making signs) based on cost."

The county engineer says the most common reason for sign replacement is theft, and some street name signs are stolen more often than others because of their names, such as the Waterford Township road known as Lovers Lane.
Interview conducted by Jamey Styer; report written by Mike Cullums
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