Business info signs on Highway 16 lying flat


The in basket: Bob Cairns of Olalla e-mailed to ask, “Do merchants pay to have their businesses advertised, as an example, (on) Highway 16 signs carrying the names of multiple restaurants or service stations etc.? Or does the county/state provide this signage as a service to the community?”

And John Moore asked on April 28 about three of those signs that were lying flat on Highway 16, one near the Tremont interchange  in South Kitsap and two in the Gig Harbor area.

The out basket: The businesses named on the Food-Gas-Lodging signs, as I call them (the state calls them Motorist Information Signs), do pay for having their establishment listed on those signs. 

Inclusion on the signs is available to tourist activities, camping, recreation and 24-hour pharmacies as well as eateries, lodging and gas stations. The business must be open to the public, so private clubs aren’t eligible. 

The annual cost varies with the amount of traffic on the highway. Freeways with more than 80,000 vehicles per day require a payment of $910 each year to be mentioned in both directions, $455 for just one. Four-lane highways with fewer than 80,000 cars per day charge $683 and $342. Two-lane highway rates are $364 and $182. There are no 80,000-plus VPD highways in Kitsap County.

The state Department of Transportation collects the money and puts up the signs. 

No more than four such signs, with not more than six businesses each, are permitted at any interchange or intersection. There is a waiting list where demand exceeds that.

Lots of information about what business are eligible and limitations on what can be put on the signs can be found online at

Gerald Nelson, long-time head of the Motorist Information Signs program, says two of the three flattened signs on Highway 16 are testimony to the force of the spring windstorms in our area. They got a 77 mph wind gust in Tumwater, he said, but didn’t have a reading from where the two signs blew over.

The fallen sign near Wollochet was hit by a vehicle, he said.

The other two are to be replaced Wednesday (May 12), he said, and the third also will be put back up. They will be put on steel posts in place of the wood ones, he said, in keeping with a state program to replace all wooden highway sign posts with breakaway steel ones. They minimize damage and injury to motorists when hit.

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