And finally… sign of the times

And finally... sign of the times

The operators of a bridge in New Orleans are crossing their fingers that new federal guidance for electronic road signs doesn’t apply to their amusing road signs.

The Federal Highway Administration’s new rule for the road manual says highway signs should be simple, direct and avoid wording “intended to be humorous”.

States have two years to comply.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Commission, which was established to construct, operate, maintain and set policies for the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge, is well known for using its sign to keep drivers entertained during their commutes. From telling Jim Cantore to stay away to proclaiming “We were robbed” after the no-call Saints game, the signs are a hit with drivers.

Causeway general manager Carlton Dufrechou said while the Causeway is incorporated into the federal highway system, it doesn’t receive federal funds.

“We know the Causeway commuter better than the federal government. The idea of making this one rule to fit all is not necessarily the best idea,” he added.

The Causeway also allows residents to submit their ideas and features them on “What’s Up Wednesdays.”

Popular Causeway messages include:

  • “Texting and driving? Oh cell no.”
  • “Seatbelts give the best hugs.”
  • “Steering wheels are not handsfree devices.”
  • “Use dat blinkah”

What he’s saying: “We think they’re positive and enforce safety awareness,” Dufrechou said. “When you can put a little bit of lightness in the messages on the board, they seem to go a lot further.”

Meanwhile, Rodney Mallett, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, said that nothing will change for DOTD’s sign strategy under the new rules.

“We are very much in line with what they are saying,” he said, adding that DOTD’s messages are road- and safety-related, even if they are clever.

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