Olentangy Valley News

Grant will help update Liberty Township's signs

More-reflective signs, required by federal law, will be installed in the spring


Liberty Township's application for a grant to replace warning and regulatory signs must have reflected well on the township.

The Ohio Department of Transportation announced in late January that the township would receive almost $38,000 in funding to upgrade its signs to meet new federal reflectivity standards.

Townships and cities in Ohio have until January 2015 to replace all warning and regulatory signs and until January 2018 to replace all street name and overhead guide signs that fail to meet the standards.

Township Administrator Dave Anderson said the results of the grant funding, which will cover the replacement of 870 signs, will be noticeable to residents.

"I've seen the (new) signs at conferences," he said. "When your headlights hit them at night, you notice them quite distinctly."

Randy Leib, road superintendent for the township, said the new signs would arrive sometime in the spring.

"We'll start (installing them) as soon as they come," he said.

Leib said the grant would cover the replacement of every regulatory and warning sign in the township and pay for 500 new signposts with reflective red stripes.

Anderson said signs in high-traffic areas with safety concerns will be replaced first.

The new U.S. Department of Transportation "retroreflectivity" standards are meant to make driving at night safer. According to the department, about 25 percent of all roadway travel occurs at night, but about 50 percent of fatal traffic crashes occur at night.

By replacing signs with poor reflectivity, the department hopes to prevent crashes and save lives.

The standards came down to local governments as an unfunded mandate, meaning any communities not receiving grant funding will have to pay to replace any signs that do not meet the new standards. Liberty Township will pay to replace street signs not covered by the grant by 2018.

Of the unfunded nature of the mandate, Anderson said he was "not thrilled with that aspect of it at all." Still, he said he was glad the township received a grant to offset the financial burdens of the first part of the mandate.