The N.C. Department of Transportation owns and maintains about a dozen of those signs – called “Dynamic Message Signs” – in six counties in Southeastern North Carolina. They cost between $85,000 and $120,000 to purchase.
In the Wilmington area, you’ll find them on U.S. 421 North between Carolina Beach and Wilmington, on U.S. 17 South south near Hampstead and on U.S. 17/74/76 eastbound in Brunswick County, among other locations.
The DOT uses the signs mainly to notify motorists about bridge openings on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, major accidents or road construction or missing persons, said Joe Chance, deputy division traffic engineer. Because they cost more when they’re on for electricity and maintenance, the DOT prefers to use them for “high-alert” situations, Chance said.
They’re free when they’re off.
Chance said the DOT probably will use them more during the summer tourist season.
Date posted: June 1, 2009
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