Weather Alert

DOT makes change in services sign policy

DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Transportation has made an adjustment to the qualifications for those blue service signs along the state highways which tell you gas, food or hotels are located at the next exit.

The advertising management supervisor Brooks Glasnapp says the change involves the hours businesses are open. “The minimum hours of operations for restaurants to qualify for the program will be reduced from 48 hours a week to 40 hours a week. But motorists won’t notice much of a change — because 80 to 90 percent of the businesses participating exceed even the 48 hours,” Glasnapp says.

He says there could be some smaller “mom and pop” restaurants that would now be eligible to be on the signs. The pandemic has taken a toll on many restaurants, but Glasnapp says they aren’t sure yet if that will carry over to the sign usage.. ┬áHe says the hospitality industry requested that the D-O-T waive the fees because of the heavy impact of the pandemic, and the director of the D-O-T agreed to that. Glasnapp says they expect there may be a few businesses that they do lose as things move ahead.

Businesses pay $230 for one year of advertisement on each sign — which Glasnapp says is a pretty good deal for businesses. He the signs allow you to see when these businesses are coming up without needing to be using a phone or other device as you speed down the highway. “I think most all of the traveling public benefit from the signs being out there,” according to Glasnapp. “There are a few areas where we can’t fit the signs in because all of these signs have to be spaced 800 feet apart….the green and white destination signs have the highest priority. And then if there is enough space to place additional signs, that is when we can put in the blue and white signs.”

Some of the business signs have additional small information lines with them. Glasnapp says there are some tight guidelines on what is allowed there. “If it is directly related to the service type and it is considered essential motorist information — then it is allowed,” he says. “For instance, Open 24 hours, Diesel, Mechanic On Duty, these types of messages are allowed,’ Glasnapp says.

Nonessential messages such as “Pool” are not allowed on the signs.

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