Area cities plugging in to illuminated street signs

08/25/2014 9:07 PM

08/25/2014 9:08 PM

Southlake is plugging in with its first illuminated street signs, joining Keller, Grapevine and other cities across the country.

Earlier this week, the city began installing illuminated street name signs (ILSN) at all major intersections along Southlake Boulevard.

The ILSN installation is part of a two-fold project, along with battery backups for traffic signals.

The ILSNs make the street names much more visible at night,” said Steven Anderson, Southlake public works civil engineer. “At busy intersections, of which Southlake Boulevard has many, being able to clearly see street names is an enormous benefit to night-time drivers, as well as visitors to our city who may be unfamiliar with traveling up and down Southlake Boulevard.

“The battery backups allow the traffic signals to operate during a power outage, ensuring continued safety should those events occur.”

Anderson said the backup batteries will be similar to what a person might have on a computer.

Anderson said the signs will consist of a metal cabinet with a transparent proof of the sign face. It will look like a standard street name sign with white lettering and green background, also containing the city’s logo.

The new signs will be slightly larger than the current metal reflective signs. They will stand 2 feet tall and 8-10 inches in length, with 12-inch high lettering.

In going forward with the project, Southlake is becoming the latest among several cities in North Texas to have illuminated street signs, including nearby Grapevine. Others are Keller, North Richland Hills and Hurst, according to Kelly Parma, P.E., senior project manager with Lee Engineering, a consulting firm working with Southlake.

“These have increased in popularity throughout the D-FW area with a growing number of suburbs installing illuminated street name signs on their signals,” Parma said.

Parma echoed Anderson in touting one of the greatest benefits of the illuminated signs, saying they add “safety in the form of improved visibility and legibility, especially at night time, which can help provide direction/information to drivers at these intersections.”

The street name signs in Southlake are being installed this week, with the battery backups going in next week.

“Both projects are being done simultaneously in order to utilize the contractors in an efficient manner and to reduce the impact to traffic compared to doing these separately,” Anderson said.

Durable Specialities has contracted to do the work, which will cost around $470,000, said Anderson, adding the funding is part of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

“The ILSNs and battery backup projects aim to address a key issue of traffic management, as identified by our citizens in the last few citizen surveys,” Anderson said. “The ILSNs and battery backup are one piece of a bigger traffic management push aimed at helping improve mobility and traffic in the city for residents and visitors.”

Grapevine has been enjoying the lights at several locations, stemming from a Nov. 6, 2012, City Council meeting when a presentation was made for a possible illuminated street name sign program.

The Council was told that other cities, including Coppell, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Hurst and Plano, employed the illuminated signs.

Councilman Chris Coy said he liked the concept, saying that illuminated signs would “be a lot more legible, especially with the number of visitors we have to the city.”

The Council asked city officials to look further into the program, including projected purchase, installation and other costs, possible initial locations and various mockups of how the signs would look.

The issue was further explored at a special City Council meeting workshop and then approved.

To date, projects haven been completed at Texan Trail at SH114/121; Main Street at SH114/121; William D. Tate Avenue at SH 114; Ira E. Woods Avenue at Baylor Parkway/SH 114; Ira E Woods Avenue at Ernest Dean Parkway; Ira E. Woods Avenue at Kimball Road/Heritage Avenue; and Ira E. Woods Avenue at Mustang Drive. Other projects are pending.

Keller also has signs along Rufe Snow Drive and North Tarrant Parkway. City officials said Keller will address adding new signs on a case-by-case basis as new intersections are added or when replacing non-lit signage at existing locations.

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