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State to pay for interstate signs
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Federal regulation changes from the U.S. Department of Transportation are saving Hall County some money.

An updated edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices — the DOT rule book — has changed some of the requirements for interstate signs. Changes include new font styles and sign size specifications.

The Georgia DOT will be responsible for getting the state’s interstate signs in compliance, and that’s good news for Hall County officials.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners decided in January to change the name of Holiday and Friendship roads — also known as Ga. 347 — to Lanier Islands Parkway, but road signs along I-985 do not reflect the change.

Originally, the $34,000 price tag for 12 new interstate signs would be the county’s responsibility, not the DOT’s, because the change was not a necessity.

"They were told before they made the decision that because it is their decision, they would be responsible for changing the signs on the interstate and paying those costs," said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for GDOT.

She said the county received an estimate of the costs before it finalized the name change.

GDOT would begin changing the signs when officials received money from the county, but the county struggled to find the funding.

Now, it’s not a problem.

"We talked with the county and told them if you can wait until we do all the signs on 985, then we’ll just do it as part of that project," Pope said. "It will be at no cost to you."

Pope said there is no definite time line for the project, which will include signs throughout the state.

She said it could take between three and four years to change all of the signs.

"Some of those projects will start statewide this year," Pope said. "We know we don’t have the money to do all of them this year, but right now the county tells us they don’t mind waiting."

Ken Rearden, Hall County director of public works, said he thought the name change on interstate signs would come this year, possibly by late fall.

"We don’t have the schedule, but we’re thinking that GDOT will make the metro region a priority," he said.

He said the county would also coordinate other signage changes with the state’s project.

The county will still have to pay for changing road names on non-interstate signs, such as road signs atop traffic signals, Rearden said.

He said those changes would cost the county $2,000., and the money would come out of the safety and signage budget.

Overall, Rearden said the name change will be worth it.

"I think the thing is it’s going to help the traveling public get to know how to get to Lake Lanier Islands," he said. "So we are very supportive." of that change."