Highway road sign graffiti causing headaches, costing money to fix


Several highway signs in Kansas were recently victim to graffiti and it's going to cost the department of transportation a lot of money to clean it up.

Rush hour is just about the busiest time of day for Interstate 35 and a lot of drivers depend on the big green signs to get them to their destination. But the Kansas Highway Patrol said that vandals are making it tougher to use the key markers.

"Driving down the highway it would be pretty hard to read that, especially if you didn't know, have some idea where you were at and where you were going," said Oscar Hamilton, a Kansas Department of Transportation Highway maintenance superintendent.

Some determined people with a spray can and a willingness to climb out over traffic are painting over road signs, like the sign on the ramp for Southwest Boulevard/Mission Road/37th Avenue off Interstate 35 South.

"People get weird places weird ways," Hamilton said.

It's confusing drivers and racking up taxpayer dollars to fix the signs. KDOT estimates it'll cost $6,500 for just that one sign, to give it a new overlay.

"It's a lot of additional, unnecessary cost to all of the taxpayers of Kansas," Hamilton said.

KC Metro KDOT said they dealt with 10 incidents involving people marking up signs, on Interstate 70 in 2012, at a total cost of $18,400.

There's also the added annoyance of having to close some lanes while crews are working, and putting those workers at risk.

"You're exposed to traffic and working overhead, so there's some safety issues," Hamilton said.

As soon as they're done with the repairs, KDOT will be removing the ladders and catwalks at the I-35 South and Southwest Boulevard/Mission Road exit that give easier access to the sign. But they said that's about all they can do to try to prevent the vandalism.

They're also encouraging people with a graffiti impulse to try something different.

"Well I tell you, some of them are pretty artistic, they ought to go check with Hallmark or something, they could probably go work there," Hamilton said with a chuckle.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.


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