Madison Township is ahead of schedule and is saving money on a project to replace its road and street signs.
In 2012, the Federal Highway Administration issued an update to its manual on uniform traffic-control devices, which added a requirement targeted at improving low-light and nighttime driving safety by upgrading the reflectivity of road signs.
According to the FHA website, about half of all traffic fatalities occur at night, although only about one-quarter of overall travel occurs after dark. The agency attributes this, in part, to decreased visibility -- which led to the new guidelines.
Madison Township is ahead of the 2018 deadline for completing the upgrades, and according to township road foreman Dave Weaver, employees are using an inexpensive method for completing the work as well.
"By 2018, all of our signs have to be of the high-reflectivity type that meets the federal guidelines," Weaver said. "If we were buying the whole sign, you're talking, on average, $50 each, but we found a decal you can use, and by doing that, we save about 50 percent."
According to Weaver, township road crews use a simple process that quickly sands off the paint on the signs. They then affix the decal.
He estimated the township has about 500 signs to replace, meaning the overall savings could be nearly $12,000.
"We're about 80-percent done with upgrading all of our speed limit and stop signs, then we'll move onto our warning signs and finally, we'll finish with the street name signs, which will include changing to the new standard of using a combination uppercase and lowercase lettering," he said. "Every year we'll get a few more ordered and keep the cost to a minimum doing it this way."
So far, Weaver said he thinks more than 200 of the 500 signs in the township have been replaced.