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Sign project part of citywide effort

The new stop signs the Friends of Ironton erected Tuesday evening are intended to help motorists and beautify the city.

But there’s another beneficiary.

The project is part of a citywide effort to upgrade street signs that has been ongoing for about a year and a half. Mike Pemberton, the city’s street, sanitation and flood superintendent, said about 200 signs have been replaced during that span.

“Visibility is a lot better. We’ve also added a reflective strip on some of the posts, especially around schools and heavily traveled intersections,” he said. “The Friends of Ironton are motivated to make our town look nice and I really appreciate that.”

FOI replaced about 30 stop signs that have had better days. Rick Jansen, FOI president, estimates the cost of the signs and the manpower have saved taxpayers about $6,000 during the three years the group has focused on replacing stop signs.

He commended Pemberton for his department’s work and said it has been a good partnership.

“Mike and his crew have been great. They have really sped up the process and finished it years before we thought we’d be done with it,” he said. “That’s really exciting.”

Pemberton said the city used to replace worn signs with “engineering grade” signs, but in the last year and a half has moved to “high performance” signs, which last about 10-14 years, or as much as three times longer.

He said the city has also been replacing other traffic signs, such as one way signs, school zone signs and children playing signs. He estimates about 200 signs have been replaced since the roughly 18-month effort began.

“We’ve found that it’s worth just going ahead and paying a little extra to replace the signs with the good, high performance sign,” Pemberton said. “We also try to follow ODOT’s standard for sign size. It used to be 24 by 24-inch signs, but now they’re 30 by 30-inch signs.”

Pemberton said it is also a goal to improve the entire area where new signs are posted. He said replacing street blades (signs) and making other improvements to the affected intersection will occur as they go along.

“We kind of do it all together,” Pemberton said. “If you’re going to upgrade stop signs at an intersection, you might as well make the whole thing look good.”