Traffic Sign Policy

Policy Purpose/Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to establish uniformity and consistency in the application, installation, and maintenance of traffic signs on the City of Ham Lake’s roadway system.

This policy recognizes that the MN MUTCD (Minnesota Uniform Traffic Control Devices) is the standard for all traffic control devices on all public roads in Minnesota, and therefore all traffic control devices on the City of Ham Lake’s roadway system must conform to its standards and specifications as specified in Minnesota Statute 169.06.

This policy officially recognizes the rule in the MN MUTCD that establishes minimum retroreflectivity levels for traffic signs and describes how the City of Ham Lake achieves compliance.

It is in the interest of the City of Ham Lake and the public to prevent the excessive use of traffic signs on the city roadway system.  A conservative use of traffic signs reduces maintenance costs and improves the effectiveness of the remaining signs.  Limiting the excessive use of traffic signs achieves the following:

  • Fulfills demonstrated needs
  • Champions a command of attention
  • Reduces clutter that impedes the conveyance of a clear and simple meaning
  • Fosters respect by road users, and reduces conflicts that may restrict time for a proper response that cumulatively improves traffic safety for all users

Policy

All traffic signs on the City of Ham Lake’s roadway system must conform to the MN MUTCD. Traffic signs not explicitly required to be installed by the MN MUTCD should not be installed on the City of Ham Lake’s roadway system unless otherwise specified in this policy, or authorized by the city engineer.

Policy Criteria

Installation of Signs
The City of Ham Lake will develop and maintain a sign inventory of all signs on the roadway system. Based on the inventory and level of funding available for sign maintenance, City of Ham Lake will determine the amount of inventory that can be supported by the current funding structure.

The City of Ham Lake will maintain the determined amount of traffic control devices (signs, traffic signals, and pavement markings) to ensure safe and efficient operations.  Based on the inventory and policy considerations, signs that are not consistent with policy, and signs that are not required or are determined by an engineering study to be unnecessary will be removed.  The following best practices will be implemented to assist in determining the need for all traffic signs:

  • Signs that are required will be installed.  Signs that require engineering judgment will undergo an engineering study, the results of which will be on file documenting reason for installation.
  • No STOP signs on low volume intersections (fewer than 400 vehicles per day).
  • Sign requested to be placed in the right of way, along city roadways, must meet the requirements of MN MUTCD and have the city engineer approval. 
  • Traffic signs will not be used as a reactive response to traffic crashes.
  • The application of warning signs will be based on system considerations; locations with similar characteristics will be proactively signed.
  • Application of curve warning signs will be consistent with MN MUTCD requirements along roadways.

Maintenance Method
It shall be the City of Ham Lake Public Works Superintendent’s responsibility to decide which signs should be replaced by maintenance personnel or by contract.  Compliance with MN MUTCD retroreflectivity requirements will be achieved using a management method using the expected sign life.  The City of Ham Lake adopts a minimum 10 years for the life of signs with ASTM Type XI sheeting material.  Applicable sign life may be revisited to determine appropriate length based on the latest research.

Maintenance personnel should replace signs according to the following guidelines:

  • All signs are inspected annually for normal daytime visibility and legibility.  Nighttime surveys may also be completed every few years to discover locations of vandalism or other issues.  All signs not performing their function shall be repaired or scheduled for replacement.
  • Before each year’s replacement program, the sign crew should review all signs.  Additional signing, relocation of signing, or removal of needless signing can be incorporated into the program at this time.  The available sign budget and the current inventory will be reviewed to determine feasibility of maintaining the current inventory.
  • The replacement program includes the use of the latest standards for sign design, dimensioning, mounting, and roadway location.
  • As each new sign is installed, the mounting should be checked for deterioration.  Bent or excessively rusted posts should be replaced.  All posts will comply with the AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware for crashworthiness.

Adopted by City Council-January 2012