That’s because of a federal rule calling for the gradual replacement of old-style markings with new, retroreflective signs. The thermoplastic signs catch light from headlights and bounce it back, making them brighter and more visible.
“You’ve got an aging population and there’s a need for higher reflectivity for road safety,” Floyd County Manager Blaine Williams explained.
Rome and Floyd County already have replaced some of their signs — starting with regulatory and warning markers.And both governments have received state and federal money toward the project.
“It’s a mandate, but it’s not completely unfunded,” Williams said.
The Floyd County Commission signed off last week on an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation to put new thermoplastic road stripe markings and signs on 63.1 miles of county roads. The project is estimated at $443,366.61.
There’s no local match required, although there’s a standard clause that the county would pay for any right of way or utility relocation that may be needed. Williams said that’s unlikely with replacements.
“There’s not a lot of cost involved,” he told the board.
The project area covers 14 roads: Barker Road, Booze Mountain Road, Burnett Ferry Road, Calhoun Road, Callier Springs Road, Eden Valley Road, Horseleg Creek Road. Huffaker Road, Maple Road, Mathis Road, Old Dalton Road, Old Rockmart Road, Park Avenue and Wax Road.
The city of Rome also is preparing for a new round of installations.
Bids are being accepted through Jan. 17 to replace the striping, pavement markers and street signs on approximately 24 miles of road within the city limits.
The project area covers 32 streets, including Calhoun Avenue, Division Street, Lavender Drive, Redmond Road, Pennington Avenue and Old Airport Road.
About half of traffic fatalities occur at night, although only about one quarter of travel occurs after dark, according to the FHWA. The agency notes that intoxication and fatigue contribute to the high rate of nighttime crashes but decreased visibility is a constant factor.