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New signs catch eyes of drivers

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 29. 2014 7:05PM
One of the safety signs that comply to Federal reflectivity regulations and use a national standard for signage on Center Road in Lyndeborough was recently installed. (KATHLEEN BAGLIO HUMPHREYS)

Dangerous rural roads in the Monadnock and the south central Merrimack Valley have been getting highly reflective traffic signs as part of a $900,000 Department of Transportation project.

“The sign is not for the people who have been driving that road for 50 years, it’s for the new driver who has never been to this area before to alert them to dangers,” DOT Highway Design Project Manager Ron Grandmaison said.

New signs went up on Chestnut Hill Road in New Boston; Mansion and Concord State roads in Dunbarton; Center Road in Lyndeborough; Whiting Hill, North River, Mason and Federal Hill Roads in Milford and Hill; Forest and Crotched Mountain roads in Greenfield; South Bennington Road in Bennington; Bradford Springs Road in Washington; and Charlestown and River roads in Acworth,

“We can’t spend this money on paving or bridges; it has to be safety-related,” Grandmaison said of the federal dollars being used for the high-risk rural roads or “H Triple R” project.

Grandmaison said the DOT made its selection after reviewing state-maintained rural roads in its database.

“We went out and drove the roads to see if they needed additional signage and made modification as needed,” Grandmaison said.

Milford Department of Public Works Director Rick Riendeau said the improved signage meets the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devises (MUTCD) guidelines and reflectivity standards.

“The new signs help us comply with federal guidelines and it’s for safety, so it’s a good thing,” he said

The bright yellow reflective signs increase visibility, improve advance warning on curves by the use of arrows called chevrons.

“Chevrons delineate the curve a little better, so drivers can negotiate the natural curve of the roadway,” Grandmaison said.

He said the new reflectivity standards increase the signs’ visibility and may mean fewer signs will be needed.

The new national standard provides more information such as directional, upcoming roads and miles per hour or suggested miles per hour around curves, he said.

“We are trying to get the info out to be consistent across the state and also across the country for a national standard,” Grandmaison said.

Lyndeborough Police Chief Rance Deware said the new signs are eye-catching.

“I noticed a difference on vehicle speeds on Center Road because they put the sharp curve signs and reduced the speeds to 25 mph on curves so it gets people to slow down when they know it’s a curve, especially at night,” Deware said. “I’ve noticed myself even slow down because there is that visual stimulus there.”

Other projects earmarked for the $900,000 include improvements at railroad crossings, intersection improvements, rumble strips, lane markings, roadside delineation, road safety audits and pedestrian and bike safety.

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