I-395 Exit Re-Numbering Will Create Problems
The exit renumbering is a federal requirement as specified in the 2009 Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, MUTCD, edition. For signs that seem to be in good condition, it seems that $9 million could be spent elsewhere saving the state from an unnecessary exit renumbering.
The guidelines are not retroactive for interstates not receiving a sign replacement project which means Connecticut’s other interstates would still have sequential numbering.
The MUTCD says the change allows states to easily add new interchanges but that rarely happens.
WINY reports that the renumbering would make it easier for motorists to pinpoint their location to emergency responders but they would still have to remember what interchange they just passed.
GPS already does an excellent job in locating stranded motorists. According to Wikipedia, the exit renumbering would allow one to easily calculate how far they need to go to their destination.
However, most travel using GPS, mapping software, or traditional maps, not mileage markers.
The Norwich Bulletin reported that Montville Mayor Ron McDaniel is concerned businesses would have to spend more money to advertise its new exit numbers.
WINY also reports that State Representative Danny Rovero believes the change would be an unwise financial decision in a tough economic climate while Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams promises to express his opposition of the plan to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
If the DOT believes the sign replacement project is truly necessary, they should seek an exemption from the exit renumbering requirement.
Connecticut’s stretch of Interstate 395, which runs from East Lyme to Thompson, has exit numbers between 77 and 100 but the renumbering would create exits between 2 and 53, with the lowest number on the southern portion.
The exit number would correspond to the nearest mile marker, said Kevin Nursick, DOT spokesman, who did not have a list of the new exit numbers.
Nutmeg Roads shows that some interchanges are close to two mile markers making it difficult to predict how exits could be numbered.
For example, I-395‘s exit 79A in Montville is at milepost 9.29 northbound and milepost 9.87 southbound which means it could be exit 9 or 10.
Other interchanges are closer to mile markers making them easy to forecast. Exit 77 in Waterford would become exit 2, exit 78 in Waterford would be exit 5, exit 80 in Norwich is the new exit 11, and exit 84 in Lisbon will now be exit 21.
Connecticut planned to renumber I-91 in 1974 to follow FHWA standards but withdrew the plan after businesses expressed opposition.
Signing Project Details
Nursick said that the I-395 signing project “will relocate and replace all the existing overhead and side mounted highway signs, delineators, and mile markers along the entire length of I-395. These devices have exceeded their useful service life, have less than adequate retroreflectivity, and, in some cases, have evidence of damage. Replacement of the highway signing will consist of removing existing overhead, side mounted, and post mounted signs and installing new overhead, side mounted, and post mounted signs on both existing sign supports and new sign supports. On-ramp and off-ramp signing will also be included for removal and replacement. In most cases, the existing signs will be replaced with new signs meeting the latest federal requirements and engineering judgment. Excluded are signs that have been recently replaced.”
Nursick said that construction will begin in April 2014 and be completed by October 2015.
The former exit numbers will remain on signs for at least two years.
No Feedback Being Solicited
Nursick said that letters are going out to towns in the near future regarding the exit re-numbering. “We do not plan on holding any public information meetings due to the limited scope of the project. Put simply, the existing signs are nearing the end of their useful life. If we want to replace them we must re-number the exits to be in compliance with the new federal requirements,” Nursick explained.
The public should be given the right to give their opinion on this important matter.