Two overhead signs on Interstate 95 recently failed inspections and will have to be removed and repaired, according to VDOT.
The inspections were conducted about a month after a 30-foot cantilevered sign fell on a pick-up truck on Interstate 66 in Fairfax County. No injuries were reported in that incident, but it led to an increased awareness of the state's sign inspection program, which is in place for 31,000 signs and ancillary structures statewide.
Beginning at 9 p.m. Wednesday, VDOT will remove an overhead sign arm on northbound I-95 at mile marker 117.5, near Exit 118 at Thornburg. Two right lanes of northbound I-95 will be closed for the operation, which is expected to conclude by 3 a.m.
The next night, VDOT will remove another overhead sign arm on southbound I-95 at mile marker 127.3 in Spotsylvania, near Exit 126 at Spotsylvania. Two southbound right lanes will close at 9 p.m. Thursday. All lanes are expected to re-open by 3 a.m. Friday.
In both instances, an inspection showed a gap of one-eighth of an inch between a single joint on the overhead sign arms. In time, a gap can put additional stress on the multiple connection bolts on the support posts of the sign, VDOT said.
Workers will take both structures to a VDOT facility for repair.
Meanwhile, a third overhead sign will be removed along eastbound Route 610 in Stafford County at the on-ramp to northbound I-95. Ultrasound testing of the anchor bolts on the sign post indicated that one of four bolts may have a crack, according to VDOT. The exact date and time of that removal has not been announced.
VDOT said that since February, inspection teams have performed an additional inspection of 46 cantilevered sign structures in the Fredericksburg District.
Each one of the 31,000 signs and structures is inspected at least every five years. In addition, ultrasound testing is performed once every two years on cantilevered signs, according to VDOT.
Virginia State Police will be on hand for traffic control during the sign removals.