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Traffic Talk: Be alert for road sign changes

Don Gammill: Factors determine when, how change in road signage is handled
by Don Gammill Published: February 13, 2012

Ah, Valentine's Day is tomorrow. You can count on roadways (and restaurants) having heavy traffic as couples celebrate.

Here's hoping it will be a happy time for you as your journey out. Be careful and maybe all the signs will be good.

Now, speaking of signs ...

Recently, the yield sign at the intersection of Interstate 44 and SW 134 was changed to a stop sign. What is the procedure to alert people to this change? The yield sign was there over 20 years. There are no signs, markings, or anything else to alert you to this change. As you might have guessed, I received a ticket (last month) and when I was stopped, the patrolman said, “Didn't you see the stop sign?” My husband and I both told him we didn't as I was looking to the west to see if I needed to yield or not. We also stated the yield sign had been in place over 20 years and there was nothing to bring the change to our attention. Doesn't matter ... I received a ticket. In today's economy, this will be $172 I do not have to spare. Whatever happened to the indicators that a change has occurred? When they changed the intersection of SW 134 and S Meridian to a stop sign, there was a sign warning you before you got to the stop sign. Also, there was a white line across the road at the intersection. I enjoying reading your column and hope you can provide me the answers I need.

Linna, Newcastle

One of the best sources you could ever have to clarify this, Linna, is right here in the metro area. Stuart Chai, traffic engineer with the city of Oklahoma City, has the answers.

“It depends on location and the agency responsible,” he says. “In this case, the agency responsible is the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.”

Is notification a standard procedure, rule, or courtesy?

“It depends on location, Chai said. “At a high-volume or high-speed location, when the city installs new stop signs on arterial roadways, especially in rural areas where the intersection may only have been stop controlled on one street, we install advance warning signs indicating that a STOP sign is ahead and also attach ‘high level warning' devices such as orange flags to the stop of the stop signs.

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by Don Gammill
General Assignment Editor and Columnist
Don Gammill is general assignment editor and columnist. A native of Ponca City, he graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma). While in college, he was a sports stringer for The Oklahoma City Times....
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