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Sign of the Times

When speed limits in the Republic of Ireland changed from imperial to metric, it took a huge scale operation involving the production of more than 60,000 regional, local and national road signs.

As well as taking the opportunity to revise national and local speed limits, the changeover was the ideal chance to upgrade the reflective material used in the production of the road signs to improve safety.

3M’s High Intensity Reflective Sheeting (Class 1) was used in 40,000 of the speed limit signs made by UK sign manufacturer Signature Ltd for the project.

Higher reflectivity and longer durability

Gerry O’Brien, senior project manager with the National Roads Authority (NRA), which was tasked with sourcing all the new signs, said: “Higher reflectivity and longer durability were our principle motivation for specifying the Class 1 material.” Speaking about the metric conversion, he added: “It was a huge logistical operation, but thanks to positive service from all our contractors, we were able to complete it on schedule.”

Meeting tight deadlines

Material for the signs had to be delivered in six weeks to meet the tight deadlines for the project. 3M’s Traffic Safety Systems sales executive for Ireland Don Breen said: “Our inventory controllers worked closely with the sales and customer service teams on this challenging logistical operation to ensure that everything was delivered to Signature on schedule to meet its manufacturing needs.”

Benefits to the road user

3M’s Class 1 reflective sheeting is more than three times brighter than Engineering Grade sheeting. It will make a major contribution to road safety by making speed and traffic calming signs easier to read.

Don commented: “We are delighted that the road authority chose to upgrade to Class 1 sheeting as it offers greater reflectivity, which is particularly beneficial for road users in bad weather conditions.”

In addition to supplying sheeting for the speed signs, 3M was chosen by another NRA contractor, Municipal Signs, to supply Class 1 sheeting for 6,000 new traffic calming signs.

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Sign of the Times