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New Retroreflectivity Requirements

MUTCD Compliance Date Rulemaking

As of May, 2012, the FHWA completed its review of nationwide public comments relative to certain deadlines for sign reflectivity for all types of roadway signs.  Their review is detailed in a Federal Register dated May 14, 2012 and can be found here:   http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/. The effective date of their ruling was June 13, 2012.

Essentially, they changed the target dates for certain traffic control devices, including street name signs, and reduced the impacts of these dates on state and local agencies.  They eliminated compliance dates for 46 items and extended or revised 4 more items.  A couple of the eliminated dates related to sign reflectivity and deadlines to meet those conditions.  More details can be found here:    http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/night_visib/signreg.cfm.

Even more info can be found here, especially on nighttime visibility of different devices:  http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/night_visib/

Prior to this 2012 ruling, the National MUTCD, which is the standard for all roads open to public travel in Maine and every state, had some important dates of January 2012, 2015, and 2018 that spoke about having a state or local sign management plan plus some replacement dates for specific signs.  That has now been simplified and replaced with this May 2012 information.  The details are now incorporated in the online version of the 2009 MUTCD http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/kno_2009r1r2.htm  and specific details can be found in Table I-2 in the Introduction, and Table 2A-3 in Section 2A.08.

For Maine towns and cities, it’s important to understand that compliance with this standard is achieved by having an assessment or management method in place by June 14, 2014 even though some individual signs do not meet the minimum levels at a certain point in time. The Center is now working on some sign inventory software for municipal use to help towns/cities meet this requirement.


The MaineDOT Traffic Division has chosen the Management Method entitled “expected sign life”. Typically this means that individual signs are labelled to mark the date of fabrication or installation.

This page last updated on 1/9/13

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