Engineering & Transportation
Field Technical Services performs a variety of specialized functions:
- Reconnaissance and soils testing for road projects, staking utilities and other important preparation of sites for construction
- Placement of street signs on all roads in Cochise County in accordance with the 911 program
- Placement of all other signage and striping on county-maintained roads
Long-Range Transportation Plan
Long-Range Transportation Plans were developed to guide future infrastructure priorities. This Long-Range Plan (PDF) also consolidated in one document the existing demographic and traffic data that are considered when developing transportation projects.
Road Design & Construction Standards & Specifications
The purpose of these Design Standards (PDF) is to provide consistent design standards and specifications for the roadway network in Cochise County. It also supports the County's infrastructure management goal to prudently manage and preserve the County's infrastructure investments.
The primary function of traffic signs posted by government agencies is to provide regulation of traffic and to provide warning and guidance information to motorists. Whether signs are posted by ADOT on state routes or by the Highway and Floodplain Department on county maintained roadways, the signage is placed according to standards that have been developed and recommended by several authorities, and in accord with Arizona State Statutes.
Sources Used for Traffic Signage
Chief sources used for traffic signage by Cochise County are the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices 2009 (MUTCD) from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, and the Roadside Design Guide from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in Washington DC, (AASHTO). These publications are, in effect, the "last word" in signing placement and maintenance and are cited frequently by agencies throughout the Nation that provide training programs geared to improving both public safety and work zone safety for public and private sector employees. These are important concerns that not only affect the quality of life for all citizens but also reduce the liability-associated costs to government and taxpayers. Increasingly, we also hear advocates of roadway safety speak of it as "the right thing to do." The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that nearly 43,000 people are killed in accidents on our highways and roads every year, and 3 million are injured. The numbers continue to rise.
We want motorists to be safe, and we want neighborhoods to be as safe as it is possible to make them. Preventing highway fatalities is everyone's concern, too. The cost to our country each year is over $230 billion. We can share the costs and experience the tragedy in whatever way it touches us, but we can't tolerate it. Government agencies at every level must do their part to provide safe transportation through education, maintenance and enforcement, but we can't make the difference alone. Motorists have to obey the traffic laws and…
Never forget the need to drive defensively!
As part of the Highway/Floodplain Department's maintenance responsibilities, it is our signing program on which safety efforts are most noticeably hinged.
Our Commitment to Maintaining Roads
Our commitment to maintaining roads within the County's jurisdiction is demonstrated through a proactive signage program. In recent years, despite disappointing budget projections and increased need in other areas of roadway maintenance, Cochise County has been following the recommended guidelines of the MUTCD and AASHTO publications in the replacement and addition of new regulatory signs, pursuing the 911 program, and operating new striping equipment that will ultimately add a much-increased margin of safety to many maintained roads.
What will this mean to the motoring public?
- Safer driving conditions
- Enhanced awareness of safety concerns
- Better insurance rates for Cochise County
- Greater ease in reaching destinations
- Visible demonstration of community investment
One of the great challenges faced by the Highway/Floodplain Department is that of keeping up with the demands of a growing county under severe budget restrictions. It sometimes seems that Cochise County has doubled in size and population in the last two decades, and the size of staff has remained unchanged. Nevertheless, the sign installers set out each working day to place signs in one area or another across Cochise County, and signs continue to go up. We receive requests nearly every day for new street signs, or to replace missing, vandalized or worn-out signs. In areas of heavy development, we may receive orders for hundreds of signs that will need to be placed when construction allows.
All traffic control devices nationwide must conform to the MUTCD as provided under Title 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 655, Subpart F.
Street Signs (911)
Signing under the 911 Program is one of the more important public functions in this rapidly expanding rural county. Throughout the developing regions of Cochise County people are realizing a growing concern for street identification so friends, commercial delivery services and emergency response agencies can find addresses. Rural Addressing assigns the road names and maintains records, but our own staff prepares signs and schedules installation.
What Color Should Your Signs Be?
Green signs with white lettering are displayed on roadways within Cochise County's Maintained Roads List (MRL). If the road in question has an MRL number, by which we index maintained roads, the street sign will be fabricated in green with white lettering spelling out the name of the road in the format shown:
Blue signs with white lettering are put up on "non-maintained roads" through the 911 Program process, administered by the Planning and Zoning Department. Red signs with white lettering were at one time used to indicate non-maintained roads and nearly all have been replaced in recent years by the more familiar green on white signs. Sign replacements are performed during the normal sign maintenance cycle. However, all new signs will bear the white on blue design now required in accordance with Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices 2009 (MUTCD) guidelines. (Municipal governments may install their own distinguishable signage, as will the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).)
These standards were adopted to regulate signs at intersections across Cochise County and to help identify streets by maintenance status. Prior to the acceptance of new standards, street signs appeared in different colors and styles, without consistency or uniform plan, and residents did not always know whether or not the County, municipality, or a private party put up a sign. A very few still remain in place, but we encourage citizens with concerns to contact us about such unusual street signs so that we can issue Service Call requests for the appropriate replacements. Email the Highways Division.