JEFFERSON CITY - Slippery when wet. Deer crossing. Falling rock.
Those are just a few of the warning messages carried by the yellow signs that dot state interstates and highways.
Now the signs that let you know about a sharp curve, a narrow bridge or a dead end up ahead are getting brighter. The Missouri Department of Transportation has changed the type of sheeting it uses on the diamond-shaped warning signs to a fluorescent yellow to make them more visible.
"These new signs will shout out at people a little louder than the old ones," said Don Hillis, director of system management. "We want motorists to be prepared for changing road conditions so they can adjust their driving accordingly and stay safe."
MoDOT won't be replacing good signs just to put up signs made with the new material. Instead, the new fluorescent signs will be put up whenever existing signs are replaced due to age, vandalism or wear and tear. There are thousands of warning signs on the state highway system, and the department estimates it could take up to 10 years to replace all of them.
"Motorists will see a gradual change in the signs," Hillis said. "It wouldn't be a good use of taxpayer dollars to replace signs that are in good shape and functioning properly, so we'll phase in the new signs as we replace old ones."
The new, brighter signs are a little more expensive than the old ones - about $12 more for a typical 36-inch warning sign. But Hillis says it's a small price to pay for the safety benefits that come with more visible signs.
MoDOT's sign shop, located in Jefferson City, makes the signs. Last year, the shop produced about 35,000 warning signs.
# # #Editor's note:
Audio soundbites from System Management Director Don Hillis are available at www.modot.org/newsroom
, as are photos showing the contrast between the old and new warning signs. The photos of the curve left signs were taken on Highway 54 in Callaway County just north of Fulton where Business 54 intersects with eastbound Highway 54. The sign on the left is made with the original yellow sheeting, while the sign on the right is made with the new fluorescent material.