ASHEBORO, N.C. — The city council is expected to approve a plan Thursday to make sure the 4,000 plus traffic signs throughout the city have the right amount of retro-reflectivity, meaning how well light is reflected back off of traffic signs.
The plan is required by the Federal Highway Administration to ensure that traffic signs are more visible at night.
“One-fourth of traffic travels at night,” said David Hutchins, director of public works. “We want to make sure people can see them.”
Starting late July, street crews will use a portable machine to test each sign throughout the city, measuring how well each one reflects light back.
“If one of them is off, then we’re going to change the sign,” Hutchins said.
It’s a job taken seriously by workers in the city’s traffic division who make each of the city’s traffic signs.
Officials say years of wear and tear can cause a traffic sign to go dull, losing its ability to reflect light.
“It only takes one sign like that out there hiding somewhere,” said Jimmy Cox, foreman for the city’s traffic division. “Somebody runs it, and it’s a lawsuit.”
Signs that if missed can have serious consequences for drivers.
“Half of the accidents that happen, happen at night,” Hutchins said.
Hutchins say about 70 percent of the city’s signs are in good shape and doesn’t expect to have to replace too many of them.