New York State Local Technical Assistance Program

Does the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) require the use of diamond grade vinyl for stop signs, stop ahead signs, and/or double arrow signs?

There is no requirement in the MUTCD to use any specific type of sign sheeting. However, the ASTM Type IX Class E (also known by one brand name as “Diamond grade”) sign material is a microprismatic sheeting, which is much brighter than engineering grades or high intensity sheeting materials. Microprismatic sheeting is typically higher in cost but since it is brighter in intensity, it tends to last longer by maintaining retroreflectivity above the minimum longer. In the long run, the higher-grade sheeting may be more cost effective however, it can sometimes be excessively bright on rural roads due to glare.

It should be noted that the NYSDOT Standard Specifications do require using Type IX (Class E) sheeting for these signs. As such, if you are doing any projects that include federal or state aid, they may require compliance with the DOT specifications. Below is part of Section 645-2.02 Sign Panels of the NYSDOT Standard Specifications:

645-2.02 Sign Panels. Fabrication of all components shall produce a finished sign panel. Holes may be punched or drilled. Edges shall be smooth and true and free from burrs or ragged breaks. Sign panels shall be fabricated as shown on the standard sheets. Details for signs that are not shown on the standard sheets shall be similar to the closest shown sign blank size. All sign panels shall be clearly marked in the lower right corner on the back of the sign panel to show the Contract Number and the installation date (month/year). Markings shall be a minimum of 1 inch high and shall be permanently engraved, labels attached with pressure-sensitive adhesives, marked with an indelible ink or paint, or established by another method approved by the Engineer. U-Bolts used to attach sign panels to overhead sign structures shall be Type II galvanized in accordance with '719-01 Galvanized Coatings and Repair Methods.

A. Ground-Mounted Sign Panels.
1. Ground-Mounted Sign Panels without Z-bars. Ground-Mounted signs without Z-bars shall be 10 gauge thick, meeting the requirements of '730-01 Aluminum Sign Panels. Or 0.135 inch thick, meeting the requirements of '730-23 Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Sign Panels for sign panels up to 4 feet x 4 feet.

2. Ground-Mounted Sign Panels less than or equal to 30 square feet (with Z-bars). Ground Mounted signs with Z-bars less than or equal to 30 square feet shall be 10 gauge thick meeting the requirements of '730-01 Aluminum Sign Panels. Or 0.135 inch thick, meeting the requirements of '730-23 Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Sign Panels for sign panels up to 4 feet x 4 feet.

3. Ground-Mounted Sign Panels greater than 30 square feet (with Z-bars). Sign panels for Ground-Mounted Sign Panels greater than 30 square feet shall be 8 gauge thick meeting the requirements of '730-01 Aluminum Sign Panels.

B. Overhead-Mounted Sign Panels. Sign panels for Overhead-Mounted Sign Panels shall be 8 gauge thick meeting the requirements of '730-01 Aluminum Sign Panels.

C. Sign Panels with Multiple Sheeting types. The panel thickness for sign panels with multiple types of sheeting types shall be determined using the total area of the sign panel, and meet the materials requirements above.

D. Reflective Sheeting. Reflective sheeting materials used on sign panels shall conform to the requirements of '730-05 Reflective Sheeting. Type I (Class A) sheeting may be used on tourist and motorist services signs. Type III (Class B) sheeting shall be used on regulatory, warning, route marker, and guidance signs unless specified otherwise below. Type I (Class A) sheeting shall be used whenever brown reflective sheeting is specified, and may be processed by a sign fabricator in its shop. The legend for a sign with brown background shall be made by applying cut-out letters or symbols of Type I (Class A) yellow sheeting.

1. High-Visibility Sheeting. Signs with the following MUTCD codes shall be fabricated using Type IX (Class E) sheeting: R1-1, R1-2, R1-4, R1-5, R3-1, R3-2, R3-4, R3-18, R5-1, and R5-1a.

2. High-Visibility Fluorescent Yellow Sheeting. Signs with the following MUTCD codes shall be fabricated using Type IX (Class E) fluorescent yellow sheeting for the yellow portion of the sign face, and the appropriate nonfluorescent Type IX (Class E) color for the remainder of the sign face: E11-1, E11-1a, E11-1b, E11-1c W1-6, W1-7, and W1-8.

3. High-Visibility Fluorescent Yellow-Green Sheeting. Signs with the following MUTCD codes shall also be fabricated using Type IX (Class E) fluorescent yellow-green sheeting for the yellow portion of the sign face, and the appropriate nonfluorescent Type IX (Class E) color for the remainder of the sign face: NYR2-7, NYR2-8, S1-1, S3-1, S4-3, S4-5, W11-1, W11-2, W11-9, W15-1, W16-1, and W16-7p. In addition, signs with the following MUTCD codes mounted on the same support system shall also be fabricated using Type IX (Class E) fluorescent yellowgreen sheeting for the yellow portion of the sign face, and the appropriate nonfluorescent Type IX (Class E) color for the remainder of the sign face: W16-2, W16-2a, W16-3, W16-3a, W16-4, and W16-9p.

The signs mentioned in the question are in red.

Resources:
Cornell Local Roads Program Manual “Traffic Signs and Pavement Markings”
https://cornell.app.box.com/v/clrp-ws-tspm

NYSDOT Standard Specifications:
https://www.dot.ny.gov/main/business-center/engineering/specifications/updated-standard-specifications-us

Specific Section Referred to:
https://www.dot.ny.gov/main/business-center/engineering/specifications/english-spec-repository/2021_1_specs_usc_tc_vol3.pdf

 

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