Traffic signs are a vital element of the massive transportation network that crisscrosses the country. Whether posted on highways or back roads, in suburban neighborhoods or city streets, these signs communicate rules, warnings, directions and other information that is essential for drivers and pedestrians.
Ensuring that these signs are well maintained is a major safety concern, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issues detailed guidelines for the local maintenance of signs and sign supports. In the wake of damage caused by winter weather and snowplowing operations, maintenance crews will be making it a priority to repair and replace signs now that spring has arrived.
There are several categories of signs covered under the FHWA guidelines:
Regulatory signs such as STOP, YIELD, ONE WAY, and DO NOT ENTER, must be replaced or repaired within hours of when a local maintenance agency receives notice that they are missing or damaged.
Warning signs provide drivers with advance notice of potentially hazardous situations or conditions on the road ahead. As a general rule, damaged or missing warning signs should be repaired or replaced within three days of notice.
Guide signs display route designations, street names, directions, distances, services, points of interest, and other information. Any issues related to these signs should be addressed within about seven working days, depending on how critical the sign is.
The Benefits of U-Channel Sign Posts
When it comes to installing or replacing road signs, using the right support is critical. Sign post design and materials are important from both a long-term maintenance and driver safety perspective. Typically there are no barriers to shield road signs from vehicle traffic, and a sign support post can become a deadly hazard when struck by a vehicle, even on local roads.
U-channel posts are the most common posts used throughout the United States to support various traffic, roadway, directional, street name and official signs. U-channel posts are specifically designed to withstand rough use and weathering, and they are one of the most economical choices for a sign mounting post.
At Traffic Safety Direct, our durable U-Channel Sign Posts are available in galvanized steel, which offers the best protection against rust corrosion, or green with a powder coating that outlasts regular paint. Posts range in size from 3 to 12 feet and are pre-drilled to match standard sign sizes. All of our u-channel posts have tapered ends that dig easily into the ground and can be installed using conventional tools.
Breakaway Devices Increase Safety
The term “breakaway” describes crash-tested sign supports that break or bend when struck by a vehicle. It includes sign supports that separate from the base and are knocked ahead of or up and over the vehicle.
The FHWA stipulates that sign supports within a designated distance of the highway be either the breakaway type or shielded by a guardrail or barrier. U-channel steel posts that weigh 3 pounds per foot or less automatically meet breakaway requirements, since they will bend, break or pull out of the ground on impact.
However, when heavier posts are used, a breakaway device or system must be installed. These systems are designed to increase safety by separating if a vehicle hits the sign. The top of the post breaks away on impact, reducing damage and making repairs easier and less expensive.
Traffic Safety Direct’s Lap Splice Hardware is an economical breakaway system that is FHWA and AASHTD approved. Lap Splice is a ground level spliced system with two special bolts and spacers that join the base post to the top post. Installation is quick and easy: the base post is driven from ground level, and once the sign panel is attached to the top post it is connected to the base post. This breakaway system works with any size SP-80 U-Channel Post and is well suited for areas where signs experience repeated impact.
Regular traffic sign maintenance is a must, and Traffic Safety Direct has the materials and expertise you need to keep your streets safe. Contact us anytime and let us know how we can help.