Sign Shop

Directional Cues for Unnumbered Interchanges

This signshop recommendation is for freeway interchanges statewide that are currently unnumbered.

blank exit tabs

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, DOTs began left- or right-justifying the exit number "tabs" on freeway guide signs to indicate which direction the exit ramp left the freeway. The purpose of this is to give the motorist a visual cue that they need to move to the proper lane for their intended destination.

In several parts of the state are freeways and expressways with interchanges that are currently unnumbered. Due to the fact that there's no exit number "tab" on the guide sign installations, there are no visual cues for the motorist as to which direction their exit leaves the roadway. While the vast majority of ramps are off the right lane of the freeway, there are instances where unnumbered exits leave to the left as well.

With the NYSDOT adoption of the National MUTCD in September 2007, many of the currently unnumbered interchanges may be numbered, as evidenced by Section 2E.28 of the manual:

Interchange numbering shall be used in signing each freeway interchange exit. Interchange exit numbers shall be displayed with each Advance Guide sign, Exit Direction sign, and Gore sign. The exit number shall be displayed on a separate plaque at the top of the Advance Guide or Exit Direction sign. The standard exit number plaque shall include the word EXIT, the appropriate exit number, and the suffix letter (on multi-exit interchanges) separated from the exit number by a space in a single-line format on a plaque 750 mm (30 in) in height. Exit numbers shall not include the cardinal initials corresponding to the directions of the cross route. Minimum numeral and letter sizes are given in Tables 2E-1 through 2E-4. If used, the interchange numbering system for expressways shall conform to the provisions prescribed for freeways.

I am proposing that all new sign installations for currently unnumbered interchanges include a blank exit number "tab". The purpose of this is two-fold: 1. It instantly provides the same visual cue that numbered interchange guide signs provide showing which lane the exit ramp departs from the roadway and 2: When the interchange is eventually numbered, the sign will already be in place and a number just needs to be added to the sign assembly.