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Section 2: Background Information

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Purpose of Field Book

The main purpose of this field book is to:

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  • provide field personnel with information that will help them install traffic signs on conventional highways in a more effective and consistent manner,
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  • increase uniformity in the placement of traffic signs on conventional highways for the benefit of the traveling public, and
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  • address guide signing situations that are not covered in the Texas MUTCD or other TxDOT documents.

This field book is intended for application mainly on rural, conventional (non-access controlled) highways.

The information in this field book is presented as guidance information for use by field personnel. This field book illustrates the use and/or placement of traffic signs, but does not establish any standards, specifications, warrants or regulations. This field book carries no legal authority, and does not replace or supersede the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

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Organization of the Sign Crew Field Book

The Sign Crew Field Book consists of the following chapters:

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  • Chapter 1 contains information regarding the use of the field book and its relationship to other TxDOT documents.
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  • Chapter 2 describes information about warning signs.
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  • Chapter 3 describes the different types of guide signs.
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  • Chapter 4 contains figures showing height and lateral placement for traffic signs.
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  • Chapter 5 contains illustrations for sign placement on approaches to intersections.
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  • Chapter 6 contains illustrations for sign placement on the departure from intersections.
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  • Chapter 7 addresses special signing situations.
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  • Chapter 8 provides information on the delineation of bridges and other objects.
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  • Chapter 9 provides information related to the installation of mailboxes.
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Relationship to Other TxDOT Documents

This field book presents guidance information that may support or supplement information contained in other TxDOT documents. The guidance contained in this field book does not supersede standards, recommended practices, or requirements established by other TxDOT documents.

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  • Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (Texas MUTCD) - The Texas MUTCD establishes practices for the selection, design, placement, operation, and maintenance of traffic control devices. Many of the figures in this field book contain cross-references to the Texas MUTCD to assist the user in determining the recommended practices for the use of a traffic control device. When a figure contains a cross-reference to the Texas MUTCD, the user should refer to the indicated section of the Texas MUTCD to determine the appropriate use of the sign. The 2011 Texas MUTCD Revision 2 was used in the preparation of this edition of the field book.
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  • Traffic Engineering Standard Sheets - The standard sheets developed by the Traffic Safety Division contain additional guidance for the design, placement, and mounting of traffic signs.
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  • Standard Highway Sign Designs for Texas (SHSD) - The signs shown in the figures are provided for illustrative purposes only. Every effort has been extended to ensure that the appearances of the signs in these figures are accurate representations of the actual sign design. However, the SHSD for Texas should be used to determine the design and/or layout of signs.

In the case of differences in the guidance provided by various signing documents, the Texas MUTCD establishes the minimum criteria that shall, should, or may be followed as appropriate. The Sign Crew Field Book criteria should be followed to the extent possible. Compliance for a sign installation is based on the minimum criteria in the Texas MUTCD.

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Relationship of Intersection Illustrations to Actual Intersections

The Sign Crew Field Book contains numerous illustrations of intersections that use route signs with various highway numbers. The intersections illustrated in this field book are NOT intended to represent actual intersections in the field. Any similarities between the highway routes illustrated in the field book and actual highways and/or intersections in the field are coincidental.

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History of the Sign Crew Field Book

The original edition of the Sign Crew Field Book was the product of a TxDOT research project on rural guide signing (Project 0-1373, Evaluation of Conventional Guide Signing). The initial field book was developed by researchers with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute working closely with TxDOT staff who provided significant input on the content. The researchers prepared a second edition as part of the same research project. This third edition was prepared as part of Project 0-4701, Traffic Control Device Evaluation and Development Program.

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Helpful Information for First Time Users

The following information in the field book may be of particular value to first time users:

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  • Chapter 3, Section 3 describes how to arrange route signs in an assembly.
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  • The distances shown in the figures in Chapters 5 and 6 are from the near edge of the intersecting road.
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  • A particular type of sign should always be the same distance from the intersection, even if other signs that would normally be closer to the intersection are not used.
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  • Table 5-2 provides an index for the approach placement illustrations.
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  • Signs on the approach should be spaced so that there is at least 325 ft between sign installations.
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  • Signs on the departure should be spaced so that there is at least 325 ft between sign installations.
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  • The “no sign zone” is defined as the first 200-300 ft from the intersection. Signs should not be placed in this zone unless the sign cannot be relocated beyond the no sign zone.
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  • The figures in the field book show placement of a sign, if the sign is used. In general, the Texas MUTCD section number is provided in the figure for signs that could be considered optional.
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  • Sign sizes are shown for warning and regulatory signs for ease in field installations. All sign sizes shown are minimums.
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Replacing Signs in the Field

TxDOT has standard sheets and policies regarding temporary traffic control (TTC) necessary for a variety of work operations. The TTC necessary for each situation depends on the type of highway, road user conditions, duration of operation, physical constraints, and the nearness of the work space to road users. The needs and control of all road users through a TTC zone shall be an essential part of highway maintenance operations. One of the fundamental principles of TTC in the Texas MUTCD is that the goal should be to route road users through such zones using devices as nearly as possible comparable to those for normal highway situations.

An activity such as replacing a small ground-mounted sign in the field is typically a short-term stationary TTC zone operation as defined in the Texas MUTCD and a plan for conducting the operation, including traffic control, should be determined before the work begins. When a STOP or YIELD sign is being replaced and is temporarily removed from the view of motorists, provisions should be in place to ensure motorists are provided with necessary information by utilizing a temporary roll-up STOP or YIELD sign or a flagger until the permanent sign is in place.

Requirements regarding existing signs in TTC zones are contained in Note 3 on standard sheet BC(4) as follows:

"When existing permanent signs are moved and relocated due to construction purposes, they shall be visible to motorists at all times." Additionally, guidance on the standard sheet states "Permanent signs are used to give notice of traffic laws or regulations, call attention to conditions that are potentially hazardous to traffic operations, show route designations, destinations, directions, distances, services, points of interest, and other geographical, recreational, or cultural information. Drivers proceeding through a work zone need the same, if not better route guidance as normally installed on a roadway without construction.”

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