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Arizona DOT Thwarts Graffiti Artists

Employee creates a simple and inexpensive solution to freeway sign pollution

November 28, 2016

Graffiti is an ongoing threat to interstate freeway signs on Arizona overpasses. Spray paint used to tag the signs can make the words difficult to read at night, and cleaning and replacing the signs is a hazardous task for DOT workers.

ADOT Interstate Signing Supervisor Dudley Heller developed a shield that makes it difficult for vandals to reach the sign. Heller’s aluminum shield extends diagonally, away from the sides of signs like a hood, making it difficult for would-be graffiti artists to reach around.

For an investment of $17.50 per square foot, the shields protect taxpayers’ investment in signs that cost as much as $10,000 to replace.

So far, ADOT’s Transportation Systems Management and Operations Division (TSM&O) has installed the shields on signs along freeways including Interstate 10, State Route 51 and US 60 in the Phoenix area and Interstate 19 in Tucson.

“It’s worked quite well,” Heller said. “We’ve saved a lot of money by doing this, not to mention the unsightliness of the graffiti being out there.”

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