Airport signs - notations twice as nice

Nov. 13, 2013 @ 08:05 AM

Motorists along interstates and other highways will notice new green-and-white signs directing travelers to Piedmont Triad International Airport.
For decades, the familiar N.C. Department of Transportation road signs at entrance ramps have had the “PTI” abbreviation for the airport. But airport officials recently asked that the signs be changed to also include the initials “GSO,” which is the way the airport is designated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Tickets and boarding passes for travelers carry the GSO designation because the airport is adjacent to Greensboro.
Airport Executive Director Kevin Baker said travelers over the years have been confused by the roadway signs that identify the airport as PTI when their flight information identifies the airport GSO. Having both designations on road signs will lessen any confusion, especially for travelers who aren’t from the area, Baker said.
“It certainly hasn’t been a huge issue, but it has been an issue for a long time. As a result, we have been lobbying the DOT to add both so all the signs indicate ‘GSO-PTI,’” Baker said. “It recognizes both names that our airport are known by. Some people from out of town have wondered if they are two separate airports.”
Crews for the DOT began installing the signs in the past several weeks. The DOT eventually will replace about 50 signs along area interstates and highways, said Mike Mills, DOT division engineer out of Greensboro. Replacing the ground signs along roadways could cost at least $50,000.
“We are starting with the ground-mounted signs first, because we can make those at our sign shop locally,” Mills said. “When you get to the overhead signs, on some of those there’s enough space to say ‘PTI-GSO’ airport.”
The challenge would involve overhead signs where there isn’t enough room to add the GSO designation.
“If you do a bigger sign, is it too large for the overhead structure? You’ve got wind load and other factors to worry about,” Mills said.
In some cases, to reduce the cost, the DOT might only change one overhead airport directional sign if another one is within a couple of miles on the same highway, Mills said.
pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528