NK’s VMS signs seem to be in perpetual test mode

The in basket: Four readers – Aaron Clark, Arch Wirth, Craig Smith of the Port Ludlow area,  and Wendy Jones of Bainbridge Island – have asked what’s up with the four pedestal style variable message signs in North Kitsap and Jefferson County.

“I drive Highway 3 to Poulsbo most every day,” Aaron said, “and have noticed that the message board sign on northbound 3 before Poulsbo has been displaying a test message since sometime in November.

“The only time I’ve noticed anything else was during the snowstorm when the sign said that the bridge was closed,” he said. “Otherwise it’s been ‘Test’ all different hours including late nights, seven days a week.

“I drove around and back from Seattle last weekend and didn’t see any signs on the other side displaying a message.

“Are the signs actually being tested?” Aaron asked. “Have they defaulted to a test mode instead of turning off when there is no active message? If they are really being tested, what are they actually testing?”

It’s been going on a while. Craig was the first to ask,  back on Nov. 17. The signs are at Discovery Bay, in Poulsbo and near the Hood Canal Bridge as well as the one Aaron mentions

The out basket: The signs are getting new LED lights to display their messages, and the state and vendor of the lights are having a hard time getting them to work the required number of days without a malfunction before they can be put into normal use, I’m told.

Tony Leingang of the state highway department says, “Yes, the signs have been in a process of being upgraded to new LED technology during the past few months. {Our) practice is to test them for an uninterrupted 20-day period. If any component fails during that time the 20-day clock restarts. This ensures we are handed a well functioning system and reduces ongoing maintenance costs on an item that might be out there for 15 to 20 more years before the next replacement cycle.

Tim Brenneis of the Olympic Region signal shop, who is directing the project, said insects often get into the signs and cause shutters that open and close the lights to stick, causing letters to be incomplete, or stray lights not needed for a given message. This will eliminate the shutters and the lights, and save enough money on electricity consumption that the $30,000 or so being spend on each sign will be recouped in perhaps a couple of years.

The “bridge closed” message that Aaron saw was in the new technology, Tim said.

The vendor is here this week and another 20 -day test will begin soon, he said.

One thought on “NK’s VMS signs seem to be in perpetual test mode

  1. Your tax money at work – perfectly working signs ‘upgraded’ into permanently broken signs. Pork is more important that public safety.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Please enter the word MILK here: