There's no denying that there always could be a time when a precise distance would be important. But how precise do motorists need or want?
On a recent trip to Missouri on both Interstate 44 and state highways, (I noticed) they have mile markers every .2 mile. This seems like such a waste of resources, clutter and contamination of the landscape. I hope this is not federal mandate that will trickle into Oklahoma. Any insight into this?
Missouri went to that setup five or six years ago, Alan. Missouri safety and transportation officials said the signs help travelers instantly determine their exact location and direction of travel.
The thought there is that stranded motorists can pinpoint their location for quicker help.
In making the announcement of the new signs in 2006, Missouri's Transportation Department director, Pete Rahn, said, “These new roadway markers will be a big help to travelers, and we're pleased to put them up along all our busy interstates.
“About 50 million miles a day are traveled on Missouri interstates, many of them by people unfamiliar with the area. If they get lost or stranded, it can create a very dangerous situation. They need to know where they are when they ask for help. These signs give them that vital information.”
So, Missouri became one of the first states in the nation to use the markers to that extent.
The signs were approved for interstates by the federal government, but don't expect to see them anytime soon in Oklahoma.
“There is not a new federal mandate on placement of mile markers every 0.2 miles like described in Missouri,” says Brenda Perry of the state Transportation Department.
“The federal guidelines from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices give departments of transportation options when it comes to the frequency of placement of mile markers.
“Oklahoma continues to place a mile marker signs at every-mile increments, as described (in the manual) for Reference Location Signs.
“Mile markers are used to assist road users in estimating their progress, to provide a means for identifying the location of emergency incidents and traffic crashes and to aid in highway maintenance and servicing.”
By the way ...
Brenda's people have a nifty little tool for those who want to know the distance between cities and towns in Oklahoma.
The Transportation Department staff ought to know these numbers. They work with them every day.
Now, you can look them up quickly too, if you have the right browser, and you don't even have to try to read the numbers on the map.
Just go to www.okladot.state.ok.us/hqdiv/p-r-div/howfar/okmile.htm and enter the starting and ending points.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.