Chapter 4: Sign Maintenance

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Section 1: Overview

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This chapter describes the methods, procedures, and materials used to maintain traffic signs to the standards of design, layout, installation, location, etc., as prescribed by the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD).

For general guidelines on maintenance practices related to signs, see Chapter 4, Section 2 of the Maintenance Operations Manual.

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Maintenance in Cities

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) enters into Municipal Maintenance Agreements with each incorporated city in the state, defining the responsibilities of the city and the state. Inside cities, the maintenance responsibility for traffic control devices is set forth in these agreements.

The latest standard Municipal Maintenance Agreement can be downloaded in Chapter 5, Section 2 of the Maintenance Management Manual, published by the Maintenance Division (MNT). Districts should periodically review existing Municipal Maintenance Agreements to ensure that maintenance responsibilities are being adhered to by both parties (TxDOT and city). In some cases, the agreement may need to be amended to reflect current maintenance practices.

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Importance of Sign Maintenance

To command the respect of motorists, all traffic signs and sign supports should be:

Damaged traffic signs should be replaced as soon as practicable if their effectiveness is impaired.

Well maintained signs:


Elements of Good Maintenance

Efficient sign maintenance requires:


Maintenance Level of Service Guidelines

The Maintenance Management Manual establishes guidelines for planning and performing various maintenance activities in accordance with available funds. Three possible funding levels are defined: desirable (the highest), acceptable, and tolerable (the lowest). Maintenance priorities are assigned based on the level of funding, and maintenance forces are directed to “substantially maintain” the various highway components accordingly. Chapter 3 of the Maintenance Management Manual explains the concept in detail, and Section 2 of Chapter 3 includes the maintenance level of service guidelines for signs.


Sign Maintenance Equipment

Specially designed trucks are useful for the field maintenance of signs, including the transportation of signs and to support replacement. These trucks should carry the necessary equipment, tools, and supplies for performing all the necessary maintenance tasks.


Department Stock Items

The Support Services Division (SSD) is responsible for maintaining sufficient stock of signing products. Quantities are stocked according to their historical use data. If a district anticipates the need for a large quantity of a particular item, SSD should be notified as soon as possible, so that the item can be ordered if stock is inadequate.

Overhead sign supports are not a stock item. They are normally built to fit each specific location, and the work is typically done by contract.


Replacement Costs of Traffic Control Devices

The Traffic Operations Division (TRF) maintains an illustrated guide that shows average costs for replacing various traffic control devices. The information is primarily used by the Department of Public Safety to estimate the cost of damage caused by motor vehicle crashes. If the district is called upon for an estimate, this guide can be used, or a more detailed estimate may be done. The costs shown in the guide include materials and labor.

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