Driv­ers may be see­ing dou­ble on I-77 in York County

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY STEPHANIE JADRNICEK

Spe­cial to The Her­ald

Driv­ers on In­ter­state 77 in York County may think they’re see­ing dou­ble, but their eyes aren’t play­ing any tricks.

The du­pli­cate road sig­nage is part of a S.C. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion in­ter­state sign up­grade re­place­ment project.

The Fed­eral High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­quires states to have re­place­ment plans for sig­nage. South Carolina uses the ac­cepted use­ful life of the re­flec­tive prop­erty of the signs’ sheet­ing as a base for its re­place­ment pro­grams, said SCDOT Dis­trict 4 con­struc­tion en­gi­neer Melanie Mob­ley.

“The time span is 12 to 15 years,” she said. “Even though they look good dur­ing the day, if you look at them at night you’ll see a re­mark­able dif­fer­ence in the re­flec­tiv­ity of the signs. It’s a man­date by the Fed­eral High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion that we re­place them on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

The project is spe­cific to York County. Each county is on a dif­fer­ent cy­cle to cause less traf­fic dis­rup­tions within the same year.

Mob­ley said once the new sign has been in­stalled, tech­ni­cally, the old sign can be re­moved. But the process is a bit more com­pli­cated be­cause the signs are bar­coded and Ge­olo­cated with GPS co­or­di­nates.

“A pri­vate con­trac­tor is do­ing the work, but they have to co­or­di­nate with our main­te­nance of­fice so they can get the new signs bar­coded and GPS lo­cated,” she said. “That’s how the main­te­nance depart­ment keeps up with the signs all over the county.”

In­stal­la­tion be­gan in July. Al­though Mob­ley hopes the project is com­pleted by spring, she’s un­cer­tain due to a util­ity con­flict with the lo­ca­tions of two over­head signs. She said she doesn’t know how long it will take for the util­i­ties to be re­lo­cated be­cause SCDOT has no author­ity over the util­ity com­pa­nies.

“Usu­ally when we have a util­ity con­flict we can move the sign 10 feet fur­ther in one way or the other,” she said.

SHERRY CHISENHALL schisen­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

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