New road and 9-1-1 signs to aid county motorists

Haakon County residents will benefit from federal mandates that require counties to replace and upgrade road signs and to install 9-1-1 addressing signs.

Road signs include stop, yield, curve, along with any other signs normally seen along the county roads, all have to be upgraded by the year 2012. The federal mandate also stipulates the reflectibilty of the sign, as well as the sign's distance from the road.

"This means a complete overhaul by Haakon County," stated Kenny Neville, county highway superintendent. He noted that the sign project will not cost the county any money, as it is 100 percent funded through federal dollars. The money comes from the Federal Highway Safety Program, said Neville. The monies are distributed through the state of South Dakota.

The $397,000 project was bid through the state and awarded to Traffic Services, Rapid City. The first step for the contractor is to survey the location of each sign. That placement, Neville stated, is regulated by law. The contractor is also in charge of installation of each sign. Traffic Services started working in Haakon County in September of this year.

The second sign project that is happening in Haakon County is the installation of 9-1-1 signs. The installation of these signs are also mandated by law.

The 9-1-1 signs list the names of the county's roads. They will only be placed at the intersection of two roads.

Neville noted that the contractor for the other road sign project has been surveying placement of the 9-1-1 signs as well. The county highway department will be in charge of installing the 9-1-1 signs.

Haakon County Auditor Patricia Freeman was able to secure a $31,734 safety grant to pay for 80 percent of the 9-1-1 signs' cost. The county is responsible for the other 20 percent, which is about $8,000.

Both sign projects will take several months to complete. The road sign project is slated to end in late May of 2009. There are over 300 road signs and 150, 9-1-1 signs to be installed.