The in basket: Margaret Gibbard e-mailed to say “The signs at the Bucklin Hill Road/Tracyton Boulevard are misleading. At that intersection, Tracyton Boulevard is south of Bucklin and Myhre is north of Bucklin. The signs only name Tracyton Boulevard, both north and south on Bucklin.”
The out basket: When Margaret first wrote, I figured it was a small matter of changing one of the small signs on a sign pole. But when I visited the site, I saw that she was talking about the large overhead signs installed on the signal cross-arms. And that’s just the start.
“This intersection should have signs that indicate both roads,” says Jeff Shea, the county traffic engineer, ” and we are working to correct that.”
The county sign shop isn’t equipped to make those signs, so the county contracts with Zumar of Tacoma for them. “The cost of each sign at that size is $2,741,” he said. “They use light-emitting capacitor lighting and their average life span is 10-15 years.”
This new generation of street signs actually lights up. You can see the wire leading into them on the four or five Silverdale intersections that have them, including this one.
“The light is actually in the sign film itself,” Jeff said. “LEC illumination increases visibility for motorists as they do not rely on a vehicle’s headlights or street lighting for visibility. LEC technology increases the distance from which they can be seen.”
That can increase safety, I would imagine, as the drivers aren’t looking away from traffic as long to identify where they want to turn.
“An additional benefit of LEC technology,” Jeff said, “is smaller signs. Because the signs are illuminated internally the (guidelines) allows smaller letter sizes. This reduces the size and reduces the associated stress on poles.
“We do not plan to retrofit all street name signs, but will consider LEC illumination for any major intersection modification.” As for the omission at the new Bucklin Hill/Tracyton Boulevard intersection, “when the signs are replaced, the manufacturer will remove the film from the old signs, allowing us to use the sign on a future project,” Jeff said.
Though expensive, LEC signs are just half the cost of the alternative to have lighted street signs, those that are backlit, he said.