Public Works - News

Posted on: December 5, 2023

Travelers Urged to Obey ‘Road Closed’ Signs

The traffic safety signs you see while driving, biking, or walking near a roadway are vital in keeping you safe. This time of year, it’s not uncommon to encounter flooded roads, and you may see signs that read ‘Water Over Roadway’ or ‘Road Closed.’

What do they mean?

  • A ‘Water Over Roadway’ sign alerts travelers that water may cover the surface of a roadway. Once these signs are in place, driving, walking, or biking on the road is not recommended. 
  • A ‘Road Closed’ sign means the roadway is closed to ALL travel, including driving, biking, or pedestrians.

When are they placed?

  • ‘Water Over Roadway’ signs are typically posted when the water level passes over the fog line (outer white line) on the roadway.
  • ‘Road Closed’ signs are placed when it is determined that the roadway is no longer safe to travel.

It takes less water than you might think to turn a routine outing into a dangerous situation. In fact, most vehicles will no longer have traction with six inches of water over the road. Likewise, six inches of moving water can knock an adult off their feet. It takes just 12 inches of moving water to sweep a car off the road and 24 inches of moving water to carry away larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks. Snow, ice, freezing rain, and downed power lines are other situations where you may encounter a road closed sign.  

We understand it can be frustrating when your road is blocked or closed during inclement weather, but these signs are in place for everyone’s safety. Not following the posted signs puts you, our crews, and first responders in danger. During an ongoing incident like a storm or flood, rescuing those who ignore the road closed signs takes precious time and resources away from other emergency needs. You could also be cited and receive a fine of up to $426. For the safety of everyone involved, please respect these road signs at all times.

For additional safety tips and information, check out the ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ campaign from the National Weather Service:

Info graphic depicting how the depth of flood waters affect an adult, a car, and an SUV.

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