ADOT is in the process of replacing 225 large Interstate 17 signs, as well as smaller signs between Camp Verde and Flagstaff, before taking down the old signs. This photograph was taken southbound on I-17 approaching exit 287 in Camp Verde, showing the new, larger sign in front of the old sign. VVN/Bill Helm
The project, which began in early June, will cover highway along I-17 north of Cordes Junction toward Flagstaff, between the State Route 169 junction and Rocky Park Road (mileposts 278-315), said Dustin Krugel, Public Information Officer for ADOT.
"This project is part of ADOT's plans to phase in the new signs as new roadways are constructed or as existing signs wear out," Krugel said.
According to Krugel, this project is one of several designed to improve the state's highway signage.
"Crews are now completing another project along I-40 between Kingman and Seligman," Krugel said. "Next up within the current fiscal year are projects along I-10 in the Tucson area, I-15 in northwestern Arizona and a smaller project along I-10 between Wild Horse Pass Boulevard and Riggs Road in the Phoenix area."
Some of the new signs are larger than the old signs. For instance, the minimum size of stop sign on a conventional road is now 30 by 30 inches instead of 24 by 24 inches. Officials said that bigger signs should also help older drivers, especially at night.
"Newer highway signs are much improved thanks to advancements in the materials that are used," Krugel said. "Background sheeting and the lettering are much more reflective at night, making them easier to read. In addition, under updated national standards, ADOT recently began using a new lettering style known as Clearview, which is considered easier for drivers to read from a distance, particularly when you are traveling at faster speeds."
Krugel also said that, from a safety standpoint, "you want drivers to see the signs and to know where they are going. This is all about safety, moving traffic efficiently because we want people to make the right decision," Krugel added. "Updated and improved signs provide safety benefits. Larger letters are easier to read. The improved "retro-reflectivity' means they can be seen from farther away at night. You might have signs that look good during daylight hours, but they no longer do a good job reflecting headlights at night.
"This is especially important in Arizona because highway signs take a beating from bright sunshine and hot temperatures across the state. Some can fade faster depending on their location and how much sunlight is hitting them on a daily basis."
The project, scheduled to be completed by the end of October, will cost $1.3 million, and will be funded primarily through federal funds specifically dedicated for highway signage.