How to Successfully Install a Street Sign

Posted by Jeffery Dornbos on 4th Mar 2015

Keeping roads safe for drivers, bikers and pedestrians is an ongoing job that requires signage. When street signs are damaged, stolen, inoperable or vandalized, or when traffic changes require modified signage getting the signs properly installed is key.

It may seem straightforward, but we get a lot of questions regarding how to install a new traffic sign. When you follow the steps below you’ll have your street sign installed in no time and can rest assured that it will stay that way.

How to Install a Street Sign

Before you break out the posthole diggers safety measures should be taken. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2011, 122 workers were killed in roadway work zones. Protect yourself by:

Parking vehicles as far off the road as possible in the direction of traffic

Wearing a reflective safety vest and apparel

Putting out warning signs that drivers can see before they reach you

Now that the sign installer is properly safeguarded, let’s turn the focus to the installation.

Step 1. Determine the location of the street sign.

The purpose of the street sign will influence where it should be located. Most often street signs should be located on the right-hand side of the road several feet from the road shoulder and far enough ahead that people have adequate time to respond.

Before making the final decision check to make sure there are no cables or lines below the surface that can be damaged during the installation.

Step 2. Determine the pole you need and the surface type where you are installing the sign.

The surface where you’ll be installing the sign is most likely to be soil or concrete. This will impact the type of pole needed for the installation. Another factor that influences which pole you’ll use is the street sign being installed.

Safety should be the number one concern for choosing a pole. In most instances a base bending metal pole such as a steel u-post is an economical, safe option that will last for years.

Step 3. Measure the pole so that it sits 1.5 to 3 feet below the surface of the soil.

This will give the pole adequate support. The exact depth depends on the size of the sign being installed. Also keep in mind that signs on rural roads should be around 5’ from the ground, and in business, residential and urban areas signs should be around 7’ off the ground.

Step 4. Drill a hole on top of the sign to fit your pole.

Unless the sign comes pre-drilled you’ll need to drill a hole in the top and bottom of the sign to affix it to the post. Keep sign height in mind when determining where to drill the holes.

Step 5. Apply the proper bolts to secure the sign on the pole.

Now that the sign has been drilled and the holes are aligned with the pole the two can be affixed using bolts. There are a variety bolts that can be used to install a street sign such as head bolts and corner bolts. For the best protection opt for vandal resistant bolts that are designed to work with specialty nuts that cannot be removed without a specialized wrench.

Safety precautions and the right equipment make installing a new traffic sign simple and straightforward. If you have questions about proper signage and poles give us a call at 1-800-922-0029 and we’ll be happy to help.