I was tripping around the web and found this on The Political Carnival:
ATLANTA, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Georgia will stop posting signs along highway construction projects funded by economic stimulus funds, because the signs cost too much money, officials said.
The signs were first considered a nice indication that stimulus funds were putting Georgians to work but they became a target for ridicule and criticism once it was determined that they cost $1,200 apiece, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
– and –
New York dropped the sign idea this summer when some contractors quoted prices above $4,000 for some of the larger signs.
hmmmmm. This sounds like an awful lot for a sign, although it says nothing about size, nor what material is used, nor any number of things that could account for such prices for… signs!?!
Now, I guess there is also a contractor markup to figure here. I think, however, I agree with Paddy at The Political Carnival:
“This is just stupid. I can go to any local Fast Signs and have one of those magnetic ones whipped up for under $100 and just keep reusing it. How the hell does a sign end up costing this kind of money?”
I couldn’t really leave it here, though. So, I got curious and went to look at The Manual of Traffic Signs, which has a web presence. In it I found a listing on the price of traffic signs, which was five years old… but the most recent pricing I could find:
• Regulatory/Warning/Marker: $15 to 18 / sq.ft.
• Large Guide Signs: $20 to 25 / sq.ft.
• Electronic Variable Message Sign: $50,000 to $150,000 each
• U-Channel: $125 to $200 each
• Square Tube (Telespar): $10 to $15 per foot
• Large Steel Breakaway Posts: $15 to $30 per foot
• Cantilever Sign: $15,000 to $20,000 each
• Sign Bridge: $30,000 to $60,000 each
• Square Tube: $150 – $250 each
• Breakaway Post: $250 to $750 each
• Cantilever / Bridge: $6,000 – $7,000 each
Interesting… these signs are pretty expensive as listed, and there is no information with Georgia’s complaint as quoted as to the size of these signs and how they are suspended or mounted. But even a 4′ x 8′ steel sign should only cost $500.00 dollars or less (unless the costs have gone up 400% or so since 2003)… and even if it were suspended from a bridge, say, by a U-channel, the whole of a sign would cost $680.00.
So why do we get quotes at $1200 to $4000 for a small sign when a huge Highway sign goes for under $700.00? Is the contractor markup so high? And we aren’t using a state agency to put them up… because?
Time to get a handle on costs of these things and, if you’ll excuse me, I don’t think going to private consultants is paying off on this or anything.