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Preparing Drivers With A Bridge Road Sign

July 13, 2018

Driving on a bridge can be an enjoyable experience because it elevates you above water or land, providing interesting scenery. But bridges can also be confusing and dangerous, especially for tourists. A bridge road sign can eliminate disasters by letting drivers know what to expect. Here’s a deeper look at how to maximize bridge signs to keep traffic under control.

How Bridges Create Danger

Bridges are a vital part of the infrastructure, but many are growing old and need refurbishing or replacing. Sometimes bridges collapse due to old age and neglect. For example, the Silver Bridge in West Virginia folded like a deck of cards within 20 seconds in the sixties, due to a fracture in the bridge. Bridges have also been known to collapse due to cold weather, weight overload, and improper construction.

Most bridge accidents are preventable through regulations. A shining example is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The accident rate on the bridge is three times lower now than in the 1980s. Accidents were reduced by lowering the speed limit, widening the roadway, stepping up law enforcement patrols and other factors. In the 21st century, the number of traffic fatalities on the bridge is near zero.

Data released by the Federal Highway Administration in 2012 revealed that 11% of America’s 607,000 bridges were found to be “structurally deficient.” Only a small percentage of federal funds set aside for highway projects have gone to repairing or building new bridges in recent decades.

Different Types of Bridge Signs

  • Draw Bridge Ahead
  • On Bridge
  • One Lane Bridge
  • Low Bridge Ahead
  • Watch For Ice On Bridge
  • Bridge Out
  • Bridge Closed 500 Feet

A bridge road sign is typically yellow or orange with a diamond shape, but can also take other forms. Some signs use symbols or images to depict changes in the roadway. Speed limit signs are also posted on bridges, particularly when speed is reduced.

Guiding Drivers with Bridge Signs

It’s important to let drivers know ahead of time that they are approaching a bridge, especially if the lanes narrow or there’s a toll. A “Narrow Bridge Ahead” sign gives drivers a chance to slow down and pay closer attention to opposing traffic. Drivers should be given some idea how long the bridge is, since some bridges just cross rivers and streams while others last for several miles.

If draw bridge activity follows a regular schedule, it’s helpful to post that information so that drivers are prepared in the future. Many bridges include signs that tell you the name of the bridge and the year it was built. Another helpful bridge road sign is one that indicates what to expect after getting off the bridge, such as widening lanes or an intersection. Bridge signs can be customized, but need to be MUTCD-compliant.

A bridge road sign is necessary since driving conditions often change on bridges. For more information about developing a bridge road sign or collection of signs, contact Zumar at our Arizona, California or Washington location.

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