Confusing Ramp Closure Signs

A couple of weekends ago, the ramp from Westbound Highway 40/I-64 to Northbound I-170 was closed while steel girders were put into place. I drove the route that Saturday to see how well the closure was working. During the drive from Kingshighway to I-170 on Highway 40, I saw three electronic message boards announcing the ramp closure. So far so good. But then I arrived at I-170 and saw this sign.

I-170 Ramp Sign

If the ramp to I-170 is really closed, then why is there a giant sign pointing that way? Is it that difficult to put a “CLOSED” sign over top of these signs? I can only imagine how out-of-town visitors handled this…

“Hmm, the electronic signs say this ramp is closed ahead, but I don’t know Big Bend, so let’s keep going”

“Oh look, a giant I-170 sign, this must be the detour.”

“Wait, where’s the ramp?”

In fact, as I was driving eastbound at I-170 on that Saturday, I saw a car that appeared to be having that exact thought. They’d slowed down right where the sign was, looking for the exit ramp. The only indication it was closed was this small road closed sign, easily missed among all the construction gear.

Road closed sign

Let’s face it. Drivers don’t always pay attention. They’re particularly confused when things change from their normal patterns. Yes, there were 3 electronic signs saying the ramp was closed, but when you leave the major ramp sign as-is, you’re just inviting confusion. These closures need to be marked better.

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By the way, I timed how long it took to drive the official detour and the two suggested alternates in my previous post. Times are from McCausland and 40 to Ladue and I-170:

Blue route (official detour): 7:38
Red route: 7:17
Green route: 6:27

There was little traffic on any route, and the times were pretty close to one another. In other words, the ramp closure seemed to be a non-event. However, I wouldn’t expect the same this weekend when the entire highway is shutdown.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2007 at 4:42 pm and is filed under I-170. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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