The Owensboro Street Department is in charge of more than 10,000 signs across the city, with nearly 2,000 repairs per year. And all of those signs are made in a small building next to the Owensboro Public Works building called the Owensboro Sign Shop.
With changes made to state regulations regarding the size of street markers, the street department is slowing converting all signs from 9-in. width to 12-in. width as they need to be replaced, with one third of all signs updated across Owensboro.
The entire process, production to installation, takes less than an hour.
The crew first cuts out the street name on green vinyl using a GraphTec plotter. The vinyl is then adhered to a metal blank, pre-cut to the new required size. The street department then removes the post, in this case an old U-channel post, and replaces it with a new square post that meets new regulations and will break away if struck by a car. The new signs are attached to the square post and the street crew is done, ready to move on to the next sign.
“When I started working here, I was amazed how big the signs actually are,” said Tisha Beckem, a crew member of the street department. “They don’t look that big when you are in your car driving.”
On Wednesday, Billy Tyler, a street department crew leader, and road workers Tom Johnson and Beckem replaced a sign at the corner of Old Hartford Road and Rosehill Drive.
The length of the sign depends on the road name, but Old Hartford Road required a 48-in. sign.
The street department completed a two-year reflectivity test about six months ago and any sign that failed is on the list for replacement — about 100 per week. In six months, the street department has replaced all stop signs that failed the reflectivity test and has almost replaced any failed regulatory signs.