collapse Title : 01 INTRODUCTION ‎(5)
collapse Title : 02 PRINCIPALS ‎(7)
collapse Title : 04 SIGNING PLANS ‎(20)
collapse Title : 06 REVISIONS ‎(5)

  • 4.18 Proposed Signing Plan Sheets

  • ​The Proposed Signing Plan Sheets base map shall show the required plan elements only as they will exist at the end of the project.

    The Proposed Signing Plan Sheets shall show the station location of all signs and sign structures.  If a proposed overhead or ground mounted sign on steel beam supports falls outside of the limits of roadway alignment, stationing the distance to nearest fixed object shall be used (i.e., retained sign, end of guardrail, approximate mileposting, etc.).  Sign locations shall be determined and noted by stationing on -L- Lines, - Y- Lines, ramps, service roads and cul-de-sacs for re-erected existing signs, existing signs remaining in place, proposed signs, and future signs.  

    To avoid placing a sign or sign structure in a location that may conflict with future roadway projects and/or limit its usefulness/lifespan, the engineer shall attempt to coordinate all proposed sign designs and locations with the appropriate unit(s). Include future sign designs on the signing plan sheets.

    Sign Annotation

    All proposed signs and supports shown on the Proposed Signing Plan Sheets shall be properly annotated.  The notes provide identification of the sign as well as dictate what work is required.  The following table summarizes the required annotation for each sign type.

     Structure LetterStationSign Number

    Sign Size (in)

    W" x H"


    Pay Item Notes
    Proposed Overhead Sign StructureXXXX 
    Existing Overhead Sign StructureX XXX
    Ground Mounted Type A or B XXXX
    Relocated Ground Mounted Type A or B XXXX
    Type D XXX 
    Type E Freeways OnlyX  
    Type F Freeways OnlyX  
    Overlay  XXX
    Milemarker X  X


    **With OpenRoads, stationing may be required for all sign placement. **

    Add additional project notes below the pay item notes to provide additional construction information as necessary.

    Overhead Sign Guidelines

    Signs are to be placed on overhead sign structures when engineering judgment necessitates their use considering the proposed roadway geometry, number of lanes, and all advisory signing needs.  Section 2A-17 (Link) of the MUTCD lists the major factors justifying the erection of overhead signs.  Additional locations and conditions requiring the use of overhead signs are:

    • Locations identified in the MUTCD, Section 2E.24 – Signing for Interchange Lane Drops
    • An option lane at a freeway/expressway multi-lane exit or freeway/ramp split (use Arrow Per Lane signs)
    • A freeway ends and “All Traffic Exit"
    • A freeway lane ends (freeway lane drop)
    • Three or more lanes on a freeway ramp

    Overhead sign structures should be located a minimum of 100' from a major power line in order not to interfere with minimum clearances for the power lines.

    Overhead sign structures should be located a minimum of 100' in front of an overpass or far enough beyond an overpass to ensure 1,000' of sight distance.

    Regulatory Signing Guidelines 

    Regulatory signs shall be used to inform road users of selected traffic laws or regulations and indicate the applicability of the legal requirements.  Regulatory signs shall be installed at or near where the regulations apply.  The signs shall clearly indicate the requirements imposed by the regulations and shall be designed and installed to provide adequate visibility and legibility in order to obtain compliance.

    Regulatory signs shall be designed and located per the MUTCD, the NCDOT typical signing layouts and Roadway Standard Drawing 910.  Note that typical drawings may not show all regulatory signs required, such as Wrong Way and Do Not Enter signs for divided facilities.

    Proposed Signing Plan Sheets shall show with proper notation all required regulatory signs per MUTCD Chapter 2B, NCDOT standards and NCDOT typical layouts.  Additional guidance for specific regulatory signs is detailed below.

    Minimum spacing for regulatory signs is 200 feet on conventional roads and 400 feet on expressways and freeways. (Link)

    Warning Signing Guidelines

    Warning signs call attention to unexpected conditions on or adjacent to a highway, street, or private roads open to public travel and to situations that might not be readily apparent to road users.  Warning signs alert road users to conditions that might call for a reduction of speed or an action in the interest of safety and efficient traffic operations.

    Warning signs shall be designed and located per the MUTCD, the NCDOT typical signing layouts and Roadway Standard Drawing 910.  Note that typical drawings may not show all warning signs required.  Additional guidance for specific warning and advisory signs is detailed below.

    If different warning signs are needed close together, they should be in order of road conditions encountered.

    Minimum spacing (Link) for warning signs is 200 feet on conventional roads and 400 feet on expressways and freeways.

    For diamond warning signs, the sizes listed in the Minimum column in MUTCD Table 2C-2 should not be used.

    At all interchange exit loops and/or as required by the MUTCD Table 2C-5, advisory speed signing as shown in Figure 2C-3 of the MUTCD shall be proposed.  In addition to signing shown in Table 2C-5 of the MUTCD, the advisory speed signing shall include the W13-6, W13-7, W1-13R, and E13-1P signs.

    Along all interchange loops 30"x 36", Chevron Alignment signs (W1-8) shall be proposed. Each Chevron Alignment sign shall be:

    • installed on two U-channel posts spaced 24" apart with cross bracing; and
    • located and installed so the bottom of the sign is four feet above the edge of the travel lane elevation (left edge of the loop).

      Object markers are identifiers warning drivers of objects in or near the travel way.  Although the pay item and RSD is included in the Pavement Marking sections, all object markers shall be shown and notated on the Signing Plan Sheets.

      The fluorescent yellow-green background color may be used for pedestrian, bicycle and shall be used for school warning signs.

    Guide Signing Guidelines

    Regulatory, warning, and other guide signs have a higher priority. Remaining signs shall only be installed where adequate spacing is available between other higher priority signs.

    Sign spacing (Link) for guide signs on conventional roads should be 200-400 feet from other guide signs and 200 feet from regulatory, warning and Type F Signs.

    Sign Spacing (Link) for guide signs on expressways and freeways should be 800 feet from other guide signs (including Logo signs) and 400 feet from regulatory, warning and Type F signs.  When locating supplemental guide signs, consideration should be given to maintaining the 800-foot spacing so that additional signs may be added later.


    The placement intervals of Milemarkers shall be determined by the Division.  Milemarker NAD83 coordinates are requested by the managing unit from the SDU Standards Group.  The SDU Standards Group will request milepost coordinates placement from the NCDOT GIS Unit and convert the NAD 83 coordinates to roadway stations if available.

    Milemarkers shall be placed according to the stations or NAD83 coordinates provided by the GIS unit.  Omit an individual milemarker if it cannot be located within 100 feet of the location provided by the GIS unit.

    Exit Numbers

    Exit numbers shall be determined by the SDU Standards group upon establishment of the milemarker coordinates.  Exit numbers shall be used on all guide signs for freeway and expressway interchanges only if the facility has milemarkers.  See MUTCD Section 2E.31 for additional guidance on the establishment and use of exit numbers.

    Exit Direction Signs

    Ground mounted exit direction signs are located at the beginning of the ramp taper point. An overhead assembly supporting a standard exit direction sign is placed at the theoretical gore.  The theoretical gore occurs where the exiting lane departs from the adjacent travel lane.  See MUTCD Figures 3B-8 and 3B-10 for depictions of the theoretical gore.  

    The overhead assembly supporting an Arrow Per Lane exit direction sign shall be placed at or in the immediate vicinity of the point where the existing lanes begin to diverge from the through lines.

    Advance Guide Signs

    A minimum of two Advance Guide Signs for all freeway/expressway interchange approaches should be provided.  Locations for advance guide signs are measured from the theoretical gore.  For major and intermediate interchanges (see MUTCD Section 2E.29), two Advance Guide Signs are required and should be placed at 0.5 miles and at 1 mile in advance of the theoretical gore with a third Advance Guide Sign placed at 2 miles in advance of the exit if spacing permits.  Advance Guide Signs may be located up to 500 feet from the distance shown on the sign to avoid conflicts such as drainage, utilities, overpasses, etc.

    Advance Guide Signs for Lane Drops (Exit Only)

    Advance Guide Signs for lane drops within 0.5 mile from the interchange should not contain the distance message, unless it is the only Advance Guide Sign with the EXIT ONLY message.  The lane that is dropping should be a minimum of 2,000 feet of continuous full lane to be considered a lane drop.  This distance is a rule of thumb.  Engineering judgement, roadway topography and geometrics should be considered when determining the need for Exit Only signing.  When possible, a minimum of two Advance Guide Signs should be installed in advance of the exit direction EXIT ONLY sign.

    Distance Signs (D2-1)

    Distances are measured to the city/town halls following the most direct route.  Mileage shown on the sign shall be rounded up to the next whole mile.  Signs shall be designed according to MUTCD Figure 2D-7.  Signs shall be located per MUTCD Figure 2D-6 for conventional roads or per NCDOT Typical Layouts for expressways or freeways.

    Information Signs (I Series)

    County Line signs shall be posted on all roads.  The single-line (I2-7) sign shall be erected at the county line on all conventional roads, expressways and freeways. (Link to TEPPL topic on Welcome To/ Leaving county signs)

    City Limit signs (I2-5) shall be erected on all conventional roads and expressways at the location where the municipal limit line crosses the roadway.  The population or elevation shall not be shown on the City Limit sign. (TEPPL topic)

    Eastern Continental Divide Signs (I2-10) shall be posted on all Interstate, U.S. and N.C. routes at the point the route is crossed by the Eastern Continental Divide.

    Creek or River signs should be posted where primary routes cross a major creek, river or body of water if it is shown on state travel map).  Short-name water body names should be shown on one line (I3-1); longer names should be shown on two lines (I3-1a).

    Additional Resources

    NCDOT 2018 Seed Files (CAD) (Link)

    Example Proposed Signing Plan Sheet (Link)

    Applicable Standards


    NCDOT Signing and Delineation Unit Typical Layouts

    At Grade Crossing of Divided Facility Signing (Link)

    Cloverleaf Interchange Signing (Link)

    Overhead Exit Direction Signing (Link)

    Passive Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Signing (Link)

    Rest Area Signing (Link)

    Speed Reduction Zone Signing (Link)

    School Signing (Link)

    Toll Road Signing (Link)

    Cloverleaf Interchange Crossroad Signing (Link)

    Diamond Interchange Crossroad Signing (Link)

    Signing for Highway Entrances into the State (Link)

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