Local News

Roadway Directional Signs Are Sometimes Not Clear To Motorists

Posted December 10, 2003

— Signs are supposed to give you direction, but some signs along Interstates 40 and 85 can be confusing.

At one point in Durham, officials say there is a place where many drivers make a big mistake.

"You run up on a sign that says Durham this way, Chapel Hill, Greensboro this way when, in fact, it's Durham both ways," said Reyn Bowman, of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau. "You either get confused and slow down and cause all kinds of problems or you take the wrong turn and go an hour and a half out of your way."

The situation is not much better in another part of Durham. As people come from the Greensboro side, it says Durham is Interstate 85 North and Raleigh is I-40 East, but there are also parts of Durham on eastbound I-40.

From Raleigh, I-40 cuts through southern Durham before you get to Chapel Hill and long before Greensboro. I-85 takes you across northern Durham. U.S. Highway 147 leads right to downtown.

People mislead by the current interstate signs have complained loudly to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"You know the out-of-towners get pretty dialed up that their time, which was precious because there's only so much of it on a trip, was spent going out of the way. Newcomers, they think our roads are zany," Bowman said.

The state Department of Transportation now says it will make changes in interstate signs to clear the confusion. There is no set timetable, and financing has to be worked out. Over the next few months, the state promises more specific signs at crucial points on the interstate.

The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau is not stopping with help from the DOT. They plan to survey people in the next few months, asking people what other signs may need some adjustments.

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