DOT ANSWERS - Why did interstate signs change?
The Providence Journal – July 15, 2012
Dana Alexander Nolfe
Q: Back in the mid 1960s the interstate highway signs included the name of the state just above the highway number. Sometime around the 1970s this stopped. Can you tell us why the name of the state is no long part of the signs?
— Jim C.
A: Interstate highway signs display a designated interstate number on a red, white and blue shield. As a part of the original design, the state through which the highway ran through also was included on the shield.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), a federal publication put out by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), governs the uniform standardization of signing and pavement markings in every state.
Over time the interstate shield sign has changed simply as a result of several design modifications. The current MUTCD standard does not include state names on the interstate shield.
Dana Alexander Nolfe, chief public affairs officer for the state Department of Transportation, answers questions of general interest posed by Journal readers about state roads and other state transportation matters.
Questions are answered in the order they appear, and there may be a delay in responding.
The DOT is responsible for the state’s transportation infrastructure, which includes highways, bridges, traffic signals and bikeways.
To ask a question that would also be of interest to other readers, send a letter to Ask RIDOT, Features Department, The Providence Journal, 75 Fountain St., Providence, RI 02902.
You can also e-mail your question to cars@ providencejournal.com . Please put “Question for the DOT” in the subject field.
Questions or complaints of a specific nature should be posed to the DOT directly and will not be answered in this column.