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JLeslie's avatar

Do we really need mile markers so close together?

Asked by JLeslie (54594points) September 7th, 2011

I did some driving this past weekend, and I think it was in Missouri, but might have been Illinois, that at one point there were a ridiculous amount of mile markers on the side of the road. 25.4, 25.8, 26.4 I mean really, is that not just a total waste of money? A bunch of mile markers less than a mile, sometimes less than a half mile apart?

This type of waste in government and business drives me crazy. They must have set aside a certain sum of money for the project and had more than they knew what to do with. Instead of using it for something else, they have to use it on the project it is approved for. That is all I can figure out as an explanation. Remember, our exit number system has been completely transformed so the exit number is also a mile marker, so that was there in addition.

What do you think? What else could cause transportation to number the mile markers so close together?

How often do you like to see a mile marker when traveling?

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16 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Not to be picky but your 26.4 is off by .2.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I wrote it actually varied, it was not always .4 difference. But, yes, if it had been it would be off by 2. it was a little random it seemed.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JLeslie If you’re calling in an accident on a strange highway the signs help, but I agree with you. Most places you can see at least a half mile, so .4 doesn’t make a lot of sense.

erichw1504's avatar

I’ve seen every tenth of a mile before: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3…

I think it helps stranded motorist be able to tell you where they are easier. So, if they were in the middle of a mile, they wouldn’t have to walk far to know what mile they are at.

JLeslie's avatar

Every tenth! But, you would have to be a totally oblivious driver to not know within a few miles where you are on the road, with the exception of some parts of the country that have 60 miles between exits, then maybe I can understand every mile or two having a marker, maybe every half mile in the upper ⅓ of the country, but every tenth, that is just ridiculous.

marinelife's avatar

From the USA Federal Highway Administrations’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices

Enhanced Reference Location signs (D10–4), and
Intermediate Enhanced Reference Location signs (D10–5).
Except as provided in the option below, Reference Location (D10–1 through D10–3) signs (see Section 2D.46) shall be placed on all expressway facilities that are located on a route where there is a reference location sign continuity and on all freeway facilities to assist road users in estimating their progress, to provide a means for identifying the location of emergency incidents and traffic crashes, and to aid in highway maintenance and servicing.

Enhanced Reference Location (D10–4) signs (see Figure 2E-45), which enhance the reference location sign system by identifying the route, may be placed on freeways or expressways (instead of Reference Location signs) or on conventional roads.

To augment an enhanced reference location sign system, Intermediate Enhanced Reference Location (D10–5) signs (see Figure 2E-45), which show the tenth of a kilometer (mile) with a decimal point, may be installed along any section of a highway route or ramp at one tenth of a kilometer (mile) intervals, or at some other regular spacing.

Emphasis is mine.

john65pennington's avatar

For some drivers, they cannot drive their vehicle and chew gum at the same time. So, how would one expect them to remember a mile marker number, if they are involved in an accident?

These “close knit” markers are there for a reason.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington I’m glad you popped in on this Q, I was going to send it to you. It’s not like finding a broken down car on the side of the road is like finding a needle in a haystack. If I say I just past the Opryland exit traveling south on the Briley Parkway you would find me. Even in more rural areas, maybe a police officer would have to travel 5 miles to find me, but really for a cop who travels the highways as a large part of his job, what is the big deal?

El_Cadejo's avatar

Ive broken down a great number of times on the side of the highway and been thankful for the tenth markers. I knew where the hell I was but explaining that to the people coming to help me was a PITA even with the tenth markers. I’d probably still be sittin on the side of the road if they werent there lol.

wundayatta's avatar

I’d wouldn’t want to have to walk half a mile there and back… or even most of a mile if I went the wrong way in order to find out where I was. Especially if I was injured.

I can’t imagine you would save much by cutting out nine of ten markers. If you want real bucks, why not cut out the emergency lanes. They hardly ever get used, right? Just have a dirt shoulder.

I almost never look at mile markers, but when I want one, I want it near by.

JLeslie's avatar

The thing is finding a broken down car is not like finding a needle in a haystack. Last exit I passed was Opryland on Briley Parkway traveling south. Whether I was 2 blocks or 5 miles south of Opryland I would be found.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@JLeslie ok. your driving somewhere you havent been before. Your car breaks down. You’re not sure what the last exit you passed was. Now what?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@JLeslie: A simple broken down car may not be why the miles markers are so close together. If someone has an accident, the paramedics need to know where they are. If the ambulance goes along trying to find approximately where the injured motorist is, then that person could, oh, I don’t know, bleed out? If I am lying broken and bleeding on the side of the road, I’d rather the ambulance have the best possible chance of finding me in a timely fashion.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, we do need them, for identification purposes.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, obviously a lot of people think they are important, even every tenth of a mile. Thanks for your answers. :)

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