Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

Right now cities across the country are scrambling. New Federal Highway Administration rules were ratified this week, changing the standard for street signs.

The new rules are part of a more than 800 page book called The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Some of the changes have to deal with reflectivity and font capitalization. For example, a street sign can no longer be in all capital letters.

But, According to Traffic Superintendent Mark Beauchamp, Wichita Falls has been meeting the new rules for nearly 20 years.

The new rules say that all signs must be in upper and lower case letters.  Studies have shown they are easier to read that way.

"We're ahead of the curve, we've been on this process for a little over 20 years. We've pretty much always used the upper-lower case letters, but for the last 20 years we've used only the upper lower case," said Beauchamp.

Also, signs must meet reflectivity standards.

"Looking at a diamond grade sign, you can take the sign into a dark room, turn a flashlight on, not even shine it at the sign, and it will light up," said Beauchamp.

The signs fade over time, but the city has a program to stay on top of that, too.

"Each year 1/15th of all the signs get replaced and at that time each year we deal with the code and bring it all up exactly to code.  It's a pretty expensive proposition when you're looking at between 30 and 70 per sign depending on how you manufacture. Its expensive for us to do what we do, but it ensures the city is always under compliance," said Beauchamp.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6