New traffic sign poles provide major reduction in highway maintenance costs for UK council


New traffic sign poles have helped Gateshead council achieve a significant reduction in roadside maintenance in the past year, enabling precious engineering and maintenance resources to be used more effectively elsewhere on their highway network.

Following the introduction of the innovative and durable SignStr8 sign poles from SignPost Solutions, which is part of the Swarco Group, the Gateshead highways department has seen a huge reduction in call-outs and site visits to re-align signs after adverse weather conditions or acts of vandalism.

Since the introduction of SignStr8 last year, the council has not had to issue a single re-alignment call-out, with the associated reduction in costs. In 2017, the highways design and maintenance team within Gateshead council specified SignStr8 for all of its steel post sign installations where strength capacity allows.

As opposed to the ‘standard’ round poles, the 3in (76mm) diameter steel SignStr8 pole has a 1.2in (30mm) flat face to prevent the sign from being misaligned or rotated. The design avoids the need for costly call-outs to ensure signs are correctly orientated, and helps the council to correctly enforce highways and parking restrictions and prevent unnecessary and costly liability disputes, as the signs are always facing the right way.

The patented SignStr8 anti-rotational signs accept standard clips, base plates and external caps, and complies with the relevant safety standards, as the moment capacity is significantly lower than that of a standard 3.5in x 0.125in (89mm x 3.2mm) S355 grade steel post.

Designed to BS EN 12899 and Precision rolled to EN 10305-3, the posts are available as: galvanized (to ISO 1461); PVC coated in grey or black; painted; and more recently in aluminum 3in and 3.5in (76 and 89mm) diameters.

Trevor Waggett, engineering manager at Gateshead council, explained that the team previously used to purchase two different types of poles, tubular and square, for different applications. Waggett noted, “With Signstr8, however, multiple applications can be accommodated, thus simplifying and streamlining the procurement process, reducing order times and prevent stocking issues.

“The design of the posts is aesthetically pleasing, fitting in well with other highways furniture and equipment. They also prevent signs from being turned and rotated around, an issue that is expensive and time-consuming to address.”

Stephen Ferriday, assistant manager at Gateshead council, said, “The impact of SignStr8 sign poles has been significant. Before the signs were installed, we had to make over 350 re-alignment visits per year, at an average cost of £26 (US$33) per visit. The huge reduction in call-outs to re-fit or re-align the signs has led to a substantial saving, which crucially means we are able to prioritize maintenance resources in areas where they are needed most.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).