Falling signs worry drivers; VDOT talks inspections

Posted at 1:13 PM, Feb 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-15 13:39:07-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Some drivers are worried after two signs collapsed on Virginia interstates over the past 30 days.

Last month, a road sign fell onto I-95 in Prince George County and then another collapsed on I-66 in Fairfax over the weekend.

"Since the other day, when the first one fell, I really thought about it more," said John Grant.

Raven Lee said she had never worried about the signs until the one fell in Prince George.

It turns out the state does have a schedule to inspect the Commonwealth's more than 30,000 signs.

VDOT spokesperson Tamara Rollison said each of the structures that hold up the signs is inspected, at least one time every five years. Others are inspected more than once every two years.

"We want to find out exactly what happened with the signs, why they collapsed, the way they did," said Rollison. "Was there an issue with the bolts that held the signs together?  Was it an issue with the materials, there's a lot of things we will be looking into?"

In fact, Rollison said the state uses ultrasonic testing methods to inspect bolts on the signs. That way workers can get a close look without having to drill into the structures. This allows them to detect if a fracture is likely to take place.

VDOT officials said safety and sign inspections will not be compromised, even though they are facing budget cuts like many state agencies. In addition, after the two recent sign collapses, said they may re-inspect some similar signs.