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* News Release *
 
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
For Immediate Release

COUNTY ROAD SIGNS TO BE UPGRADED

A major project to upgrade road signs throughout Butler County's western townships will be fully under way by early July, according to County Engineer Greg Wilkens. Motorists will see crews from the Butler County Engineer's Office pulling up older signs and replacing them with all new "retroreflectivity" signs that meet updated national standards.

"Retroreflectivity" refers to the property of a traffic sign to reflect light back to the driver. Retroreflective traffic signs are used to increase sign visibility at night. Maintaining traffic sign reflectivity is important since nighttime fatal crashes occur approximately three times as often as daytime fatal crashes.

Traffic signs use technology with small glass beads or prismatic reflectors that reflect light from vehicle headlamps back to the driver's eyes, thus making the sign appear more bright and visible. But over time these reflective properties break down. In addition to the higher reflectivity of the new signs, the average life span is longer than the previous grade of reflective signs -- about 10-12 years versus seven.

While all agencies must have a replacement program in place by 2012 and comply with new federal requirements by 2015, the BCEO has already gotten a jump on the retroreflective signs, gradually integrating them onto its roadways since 2005. "A formal sign replacement program this year will involve all County roads in the six western townships," said BCEO Traffic Engineer Matt Loeffler. "Affected signs are those with red, yellow, and white backgrounds such as stop signs, stop ahead, yield, curve warning, and speed limit signs -- in other words, all regulatory and warning signs. This does not include orange construction signs, guide signs, or street name signs."

The BCEO applied for and has received a federal grant to fund 80 percent of the $62,500 project. The remaining 20 percent local match will be paid for with BCEO funds. All work is scheduled for completion by September 30, 2010. Signs in the northeastern and southeastern townships are tentatively scheduled to be upgraded in 2012.

# # #

For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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