GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — About 20,000 road signs are spread across Greene County, each made and maintained by the Highway Department Sign Shop.
“We try to lay eyes on signs at least every sign, every two weeks,” said Traffic Control Supervisor Leroy Gott. “We do road signs, speed limit signs, all the warning signs, which always get priority.”
Gott monitors what signs need to be replaced, while Justin Keith makes them.
“We’ll get calls all the time, they write it down and I’ll make it up for them,” explained Keith. “[The letters] go onto a retro-flective background, that way it’ll reflect through.”
Highway crews inspect the quality and reflectivity of signs, each one expected to last a decade.
“The warning signs and stuff, they won’t make the 10 year mark because [people] shoot holes in them or they take them for their walls,” said Gott.
Orders for $100 replacement signs are placed after signs have been damaged, vandalized or stolen.
“It’s just more taxpayer money that we’ve got to spend,” said Gott.
Stolen signs can cost more than cash, however, missing signs could delay emergency services when they’re needed the most.
“We get some calls where somebody will have an emergency over the weekend and the sign’s been stolen, and [EMS] couldn’t find the address. So, that’s a problem,” said Gott.
The Greene County Highway Department also operates a sign recycling program, where signs can be re-faced for only $15 dollars rather than $100 for a replacement road sign.