Where should Dead End Road signs be placed?

  1. A Dead End sign SHALL be placed on the right side of the dead end roadway just beyond the intersection. The Dead End sign shall be posted to permit the road user to avoid the dead end by turning off, if possible, at the nearest intersecting street.
  2. Dead end sign
    red diamond Object Marker OM-4
  3. One or more Dead End sign MAY be placed before the end of the road.

Dead End sign are required on all dead end roads due to section 125a of the NYS General Municipal Law. To mark the end of the road itself, use a red diamond Object Marker OM-4 (MUTCD Section 2C.66).

Details

Prior to adoption of the national MUTCD in 2007, the NYS MUTCD (and Traffic Sign Handbooks) required Dead End signs to be posted at two locations. The first location was derived from the NYS General Municipal Law and the second from good signage concepts in the MUTCD, whether National or New York State.

Outdated locations for Dead End signs.

  1. A Dead End sign SHALL be placed either immediately beyond the end of the dead end roadway, or on the right side of the roadway within 100 feet of the end.
  2. If the dead end section is more than 300" long, a dead end sign SHALL be placed on the right side of the dead end roadway just beyond the intersection. The Dead End sign shall be posted to permit the road user to avoid the dead end by turning off, if possible, at the nearest intersecting street.

One problem with this approach is that the Dead End sign had two different meanings depending on where it was located. No other states were installing a Dead End sign beyond the end of the road, so when New York State adopted the national MUTCD in September 2007, NYSDOT discontinued installing the sign at this location.

The requirement that a Dead End sign be located within 100' of the end of the road had been in the text of GML 125-a, but this requirement was removed when that section of law was revised in 1992.

With the newest release of the National MUTCD and NYS Supplement, Dead End signs are to be posted according to the National MUTCD which places them along the right side of the road. Red Type 4 Object Marker are placed beyond the end of the road to mark the actual end.

Standard from MUTCD Section 2C.26

When the W14-1 or W14-2 sign is used, the sign shall be posted as near as practical to the entry point or at a sufficient advance distance to permit the road user to avoid the dead end or no outlet condition by turning at the nearest intersecting street.

Good engineering practice (and a MAY statement in the NYS Supplement) dictates that additional dead end signs can be put up before the end of the road to alert drivers on longer highways. Therefore, the same two locations are still in play for the locations of Dead End Signs.

  1. A Dead End sign SHALL be placed on the right side of the dead end roadway just beyond the intersection. The Dead End sign shall be posted to permit the road user to avoid the dead end by turning off, if possible, at the nearest intersecting street.
  2. One or more Dead End sign MAY be placed before the end of the road.

If you have a Dead End sign at or near the end of the road, don't remove it unless you do an engineering study showing why the sign is not needed. If you have a DEAD END sign beyond the end of a road, it should be removed and replaced with a red Type 4 Object Marker.

References

National MUTCD Section 2C.26 DEAD END/NO OUTLET Signs

NYSDOT MUTCD Page (with a link to the NYS Supplement to the National MUTCD)

NYS State Law

NYS General Municipal Law - Section 125a

Cover of the Traffic Sign Handbook

Traffic Sign Handbook for Local Roads (pdf)

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This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.