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Educational Resources for Signs, Hardware, and Installation


Brackets 1. What are the benefits of a Universal Post Cap? Universal Caps meet the requirements of both Square and Round Post users, thus offering increased flexibility.
One can stock Universal Caps for multiple applications. There is no need to carry both Round and Square Caps in limited storage space. Thus, the reduced inventory results in better cash flow. No paying a premium for these additional benefits.
2. Why mounting a Street Name Sign with Brackets is better than mounting with standard nuts and bolts? Using standard nuts and bolts to mount Street Signs is a temporary cheap way to mount signs. Over time this method shortens the life of the signs. This method can cause premature bending and damage to the signs.
Whereas Sign Brackets are:

  • A superior solution
  • Better support to the signs
  • A deterrent to theft
  • Significant in extending a signs’ life span.
  • Noteworthy in installing a two sided sign with a single sign blank (whereas with nuts and bolts one has to use two sign blanks to display a two faced sign)

3. How do I decide the size of the Bracket?


Blade Holder Length Recommended for Blade Length
5 ½” 18”-30”
12” 30”-42”
18” 42”-54”
24” 54” and above

4. Why use Vandal Proof Hardware? Vandal Proof Hardware deters vandalism and theft as it requires a special tool that is not easily available in hardware stores. These are great for areas where theft may be an issue.
Back to Top ⇑ Strapping 1. Why Strapping is a better solution than standard nuts and bolts? When mounting Wing Brackets or Banners, there are 2 methods to use:

  • Strap it to the pole or
  • Bolt it into the pole.

Strapping allows you to mount without causing permanent physical damage to the pole. Also, it offers more support to the application. Whereas, nuts and bolts may cause permanent damage to the pole and do not support heavier weights or higher winds very well.

2. What grade of Stainless Steel Strapping do you provide? The Stainless Steel Strapping products distributed by MDSolutions are typically manufactured from three types of Stainless Steel: Type 201, Type 304 and Type 316. The tables below describe the chemical composition and mechanical properties of each of these types. Chemical Composition


% C Mn P S Si Cr Ni N Mo
201 0.15 5.5/7.5 0.06 0.03 1.0 16/18 3.5/5.5 0.25 -
304 0.08 2.0 0.05 0.03 0.75 18/20 8/10 0.10 -
316 0.08 2.0 0.45 0.03 0.75 16/18 10/14 0.10 2.0/3.0

Mechanical Properties

KSI 0.2% Yield Strength Tensile Strength Elongation (% - 2%)
201 46 99 56
304 30 75 40
316 30 75 40

General Usage Guide Stainless Steel Type 201- Municipal, Construction, Automotive, Utilities
Stainless Steel Type 304- Municipal, Marine, Automotive, Utilities, Chemical
Stainless Steel Type 316- Marine, Paper/Textile, Chemical

Back to Top ⇑ Signs & Materials 1. What is the purpose of Traffic Signs? The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) published by the U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration, sets forth basic principles of Traffic Signs: namely to promote safety and efficiency on our public roads. Traffic Signs notify motorists of regulations, provide warning to potential hazards on or near the roadway, and provide needed guidance to destinations. 2. What is the importance of maintaining Traffic Signs? Public agencies who have installed Traffic Signs also have the responsibility to maintain them through the life of the sign. Public agency should devote resources to retain the visibility and legibility of Traffic Signs, as well as ensuring that signs remain properly mounted and in good working condition. 3. What is the thickness of Traffic Signs? The thickness of Traffic Signs varies. Most standard Signs are 0.080” thick. However, Signs also come in 0.040”, 0.063”, 0.100” and 0.125” thickness. 4. What is the difference between a Flat Sign and an Extruded Sign? A Flat Street Sign is completely flat as the name says, whereas an Extruded Street Sign has a thicker portion at the top and bottom of the sign giving it shape as well as extra support. In areas with extreme weather conditions, Extruded Street Signs are recommended over Flat Signs. 5. Why Extruded Blades can be more beneficial than Flat Blades? Extruded Blades are made so that bending them is very difficult. These are great for locations that have high winds or high climate changes, whereas Flat Blades have been known to bend over time due to weather conditions. Also, Extruded Blades offer enhanced look and extra support to the signs.
Back to Top ⇑ Posts & Accessories 1. Why use Slip Base Assemblies for Round and Square Post? Slip Base Assemblies are designed for the driver’s safety in case of an accident. They are designed to break away on impact, thereby minimizing damage to the car and the passengers. They are also easily restored with a new Retainer Plate without extended delay.
Back to Top ⇑ Sheeting 1. What is retro-reflectivity? Retro-reflectivity is a term used to describe how light is reflected off of a surface and return to its original source (“retro”-reflector). Traffic Sign Sheeting materials now use technology with small glass beads or prismatic reflectors that allow light from vehicle headlights to be reflected by to the vehicle and the driver’s eyes, thus making the Sign appear more bright and visible to the driver.
For retro-reflectivity to work properly, there needs to be a light source (vehicle headlights), a target (traffic sign), and a receptor (driver’s eyes).
2. What is Reflective Sheeting? Reflective Sheeting is the material placed over the bare aluminum on Traffic Signs to make them reflective. Sheeting comes in Engineer Grade, High Intensity Grade, and Diamond Grade (see below for details.) Most people think that Highway Signs are painted, but the finish is actually the Reflective Sheeting. 3. What is Engineer Grade Reflective Sheeting? Engineer Grade Reflective Sheeting is the minimum reflective finish put on Traffic Signs. This is also the cheapest and least reflective option. The life span is about 5-7 years. This application is primarily used for Handicap and Parking Signs. 4. What is High Intensity Grade Reflective Sheeting? High Intensity Grade Reflective Sheeting is more reflective than the standard reflective finish. It is 10 times more reflective than Engineer Grade. The average life span is 10 years. High Intensity Sheeting is now the minimum required sheeting for all MUTCD Traffic Signs.
Additional Benefits of High Intensity Prismatic Sheeting:

  • Meets ASTM D4956 Type III and Type IV Specifications.
  • Tougher topcoat provides improved scuff, scratch and gouge resistance and increased durability for the demanding need of the work zone.
  • Vivid daytime colors provide 24 hour performance with increased daytime visibility.
  • The improved optical packages increase night time visibility.
  • Better for the environment.

5. What is Diamond Grade Reflective Sheeting? Diamond Grade Reflective Sheeting is the maximum reflective finish that is put on Traffic Signs. It is 10 times more reflective than Engineer Grade. It has an average life span of over 10 years.

Additional Benefits of Diamond Grade Sheeting:

  • State of the art technology.
  • 100 percent efficient optical elements, which return almost 60 percent of available light.
  • Exceeds ASTM Type XI Specifications.
  • Delivers optimal performance where and when drivers need it most.

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Hardware 1. Why use Vandal Proof Hardware? Vandal Proof Hardware deters vandalism and theft as it requires a special tool that is not easily available in hardware stores. These are great for areas where theft may be an issue.
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Federal Regulations 1. What is MUTCD? MUTCD, or the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, is a set of standards issued by the Federal Highway Administration. The MUTCD was developed to ensure all Traffic Signs to be uniform and to comply with the same standards. 2. What are the new required reflectivity levels?

  • For Parking Signs use Engineer Grade Reflective film
  • For any Traffic or Street Name Signs use High Intensity Prismatic or Diamond Grade Reflective film
  • Your traffic devices must conform to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
    • If public travels on private property that you own or manage
    • Includes shopping centers, offices and apartment complexes
    • Personal Injury or loss of life in an area where Traffic Signs fail to comply with new Federal standards will result in exposure to tort liability.
      Visit www.minimumreflectivity.org for more information regarding minimum reflectivity bylaws.


3. What are the new MUTCD requirements for Street Signs?

    • Minimum reflectivity of High Intensity
    • Combination of upper & lower case letters
    • Font style must be "Clearview"


4. What are the other MUTCD Street Sign recommendations?

  • Roads with Speed Limit of 40 mph or less: 6" initial letter height
  • Roads with Speed Limit of 25 mph or less: 4" initial letter height
  • Roads with Speed Limit of 40 mph of greater: 8" initial letter height for post mounted Signs; 12" letter height for overhead Street Name Signs


5. What are the key reasons for new retro-reflectivity requirements?

  • Signs more visible to night time drivers
  • More than 50% of fatal traffic accidents occur at night
  • Signs more visible to older drivers
  • 65 year old drivers require 4 times the amount of light to see a Sign at night vs. a 25 year old driver
  • Signs more visible in inclement weather


6. What is the timeline to implement new requirements?

    • January 22, 2012
  • Roadway owners must have a Sign management plan in place
  • Regulatory, Warning and Post-Mounted Signs must meet retro reflectivity requirements
  • Street Name Signs must meet retro-reflectivity requirements
  • If Signs meet retro-reflectivity requirements and are in all capital letters, they may remain in service for the remainder of their useful life
    • January 22, 2015
    • January 22, 2018
  1. After the end of their useful life, Signs should be replaced with a combination of upper & lower case letters

Back to Top ⇑ Helpful Links

  1. 1. Minimum reflectivity by laws: www.minimumreflectivity.org
  2. 2. Federal Highway Administration: www.fhwa.dot.gov/safetealu/factsheets/stp.htm
  3. 3. Highway Safety Improvement Program: safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/
  4. 4. MUTCD: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/kno_2009.htm
  5. 5. The Road Authority: http://www.roadauthority.com
  6. 6. Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators: http://www.ccmta.ca/english/

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