The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

March 21, 2014

Street signs have become sign of budgetary times

Feds ease deadline on reflective ones

HERMITAGE — If you’ve seen the street signs the city of Hermitage has been putting up when officials pave a street in recent years, you’ve seen a sign of the times – one that meets federal standards for visibility at night.

Many other municipalities also have been putting up signs that meet the new reflectivity standards but, because of the cost, no local municipality has replaced all of its signs.

Mercer County Regional Council of Governments Transit Operations Manager Michael Nashtock, a former South Pymatuning supervisor, said there once was a firm date set when municipalities had to have their signs replaced, but the federal government has backed off on any deadlines – as long as city fathers are taking the regulations seriously.

“If you have a plan of action, you have more time,” he said.

Once the signs go up, however, the town is on the hook to make sure they continue to meet reflectivity standards.

Delaware Township Supervisor Dan Micsky, the newly minted president of COG, thinks COG should help municipalities meet their requirements by buying the piece of machine that tests whether a sign is reflective enough.

“I don’t think I want to own one by myself,” Micsky said. “You’re only going to need it for a week a year.”

Another supervisor said he has seen one sell for $11,000.

“That’s a great idea, Dan,” said South Pymatuning Township Supervisor Mark Presley.

Greene Township Supervisor Ken Cowher said there will be no “sign police” coming to municipalities to test whether their signs are reflective at night.

However, Cowher added, defense attorneys could be examining signs in the case of lawsuits, and expert testimony challenging the adequacy of signs could hurt a municipality’s case.

“It’s one of those save-your-fanny deals,” Cowher said.

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