It’s all in the signPublished 10:40am Thursday, April 4, 2013
MANCHESTER — Manchester Township has to spend $13,000 to $16,000 to replace road signs because of an unfunded federal mandate, said Manchester Township Clerk Neal Gjersvik.
The township is fortunate to have revenue from the Bent Tree Wind Farm to offset the expense; however, he said many townships have to deal with the cost without the extra revenue.
“Some have done it. Some have yet to do it. Some are replacing the signs little by little,” Gjersvik said.
The mandate requires retroreflective signs. A retroreflector is a surface that reflects light toward the source without much scattering. Cat eyes often are seen as an example. Motorists probably have noticed the difference in signs with better reflectivity.
The reflectivity standards came into being in 2009, with a target time for compliance of 2015 for most posted signs, but with a rules update in May 2012, the compliance target was left open.
Gjersvik said normally townships just order new signs after storms or after drivers strike them. Manchester Township, he said, opted to replace all its signs to meet the standards.
The mandate requires government agencies that own the roads to purchase a gun that measures reflectivity. However, that gun can cost $12,000. The National Association of Towns and Townships, Gjersvik said, helped with getting alternatives into the measure.
Instead, agencies can have a plan to replace signs over 12 to 18 years or they can get a driver who is 65 or older — who also meets other specifications — to drive a pickup at night and declare whether he can read the signs from a certain number of feet away.
Freeborn County Engineer Sue Miller said the county maintains an inventory with a replacement plan. She said the county meets the mandates requirements because as the signs have been changed out, the new retroreflective ones have been installed.
She said the county used to have its own sign shop, but with modern technology found in signs, it now is more feasible to purchase signs through contractors.