Inside look into how Austin’s street signs are made

Street signs at the COA Signs and Marking warehouse. (Mandy Dugan/KXAN News)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Most of us don’t think twice about the sign indicating what street you live on or the signs indicating when you need to exit for a particular street, but in one warehouse, that is all the employees think about.

Many of the signs you see around Austin are made in-house, at a location in South Austin.

The process begins with a request for a new sign to 3-1-1. A new street sign is then developed by creating graphics and then they print the labels, resulting in the final product. The signs are made with aluminum and are all recyclable. A bin full of old, damaged and tagged signs sit in a recycling bin waiting for their next life.

Acting Division Manager of Signs and Markings, Anthony Forcier, says that because of high turnover, some more standard signs are kept on hand. “It’s critical to know the signs and markings guide the people and make the traffic flow smoothly. So we try to keep that up to date, clean and looking in good order.”

The cost to repair a standard ‘no parking’ sign is around $50, not including labor.

Since January 2014 there has been 1,500 requests for emergency related stop signs. And if those requests aren’t enough, there are 14,000 intersections in Austin, which means the job never ends. The staff in this department is available at all hours of the day, 365 days a year, in case of emergencies.

“It’s critical to get out there, get the signs that are knocked down or not there,” explains Forcier. “And we respond to them within two hours so the public has that sign where it needs to be at that intersection.”

 

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