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Side Road Signage: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What does a side road sign mean?

A.
A side road sign is a traffic control device that tells road users that there is a side road meeting/entering the highway, usually from the right. These signs warn drivers about an upcoming intersection where road traffic enters or exits the highway.

Q. What type of signs are side road signs?

A.

Side road signs are a type of traffic-related warning sign identified either with a sideways ‘T’ letter in black color or a vertical black line with a diagonal black line extending from its middle upwards to the right, on a yellow diamond-shaped sign. Used to alert drivers, side road signs are installed in advance of an intersection where a side road meets a highway.

Q. Are there any MUTCD rules or guidelines regarding side road signs?

A.

The MUTCD Chapter 2C about warning signs covers side road signs under the group ‘Intersections’,Section 2C.46. While all the other standards and guidelines specific to warning signs apply to side road signs as well, section 2C.46 provides details about the design of intersection signs to be used under different circumstances, such as crossroads, side roads, Y, and T intersections. 

This section also states that side road signs should not be used when stop or yield signs are already installed. Guidance is also provided about the type of side road signs to be used for closely-spaced, offset, and opposite side roads. 

Q. Which sign should be used when two adjacent side roads are merging with a highway?

A.

According to the MUTCD, where there are two closely-spaced or adjacent side roads entering a highway, the ‘double side roads’ (W2-8) symbol sign should be used. Note that the MUTCD warns against the use of more than two side road symbols on the same side of the highway on a W2-8 symbol sign. Additionally, the W2-8 symbol sign cannot carry more than three side road symbols.

Q. Are side roads the same as frontage roads?

A.

Side roads are smaller or minor roads branching out of busier or major roads or highways. On the other hand, the FHWAdefines frontage roads as access roadways that generally run parallel to a main roadway and provide direct access to properties.

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