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New signs mean safer city streets
signs new
Examples of the difference in the reflectiveness of stop signs. The one on the left is an older example while the one on the far right employs the latest reflective technology.

The nights of having difficulty seeing traffic signs in Manteca are numbered.

The Manteca City Council Tuesday is expected to award a $1.6 million contract to change out thousands of street signs that lack modern surface coatings that make them significantly easier to see in darkness.

 As such, it could easily triple the night time visibility of the oldest signs being replaced and almost double the visibility of somewhat newer signs that don’t have cutting edge technology.

A stop sign put in place in the 1960s and 1970s, as an example, can be seen from 600 to 800 feet once a vehicle’s light strikes the surface.

The newest technology, by contrast, provides visibility from 1,300 to 1,600 feet.

The council when they meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. are being asked to award the $1.6 million contract to Chrisp Company.

An additional $282,000 contract is expected to be awarded to Dewberry Engineers to handle construction management needs.

The Federal Highway Administration and Caltrans awarded a $2,635,000 Highway Safety Improvement Program Grant to Manteca to replace street signs that are not in compliance with the California Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices in the amount of $2,635,000.

All traffic signs — stop signs, speed signs, warning signs, street signs, and such — that do not already meet the higher visibility standard will be replaced with ones that have a significantly higher retro-reflectively
Statistics complied by the Federal Highway Administration indicate half of traffic fatalities occur at night even though only a quarter of all travel takes place at night.

 And while intoxication and fatigue contribute to the high rate of nighttime crashes, the federal government contends nighttime driving is inherently hazardous because of decreased driver visibility.

The newer sign material improves highway safety and prevents roadway departure crashes by bouncing light from vehicle headlights back toward the vehicle and the driver’s eye, making the signs appear brighter and easier to see and read. At the same time, older signs lose their reflectivity over time.

Federal research also shows they are more visible, to a degree, during the daytime as well as in fog.

Reflective sheeting makes traffic signs more visible with a thin flexible retroreflective material that increases both daytime visibility and nighttime brightness of signs.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email