ADOT’s shields thwart taggers, graffiti
Aluminum sheets are effective at protecting highway signs
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – It’s a problem that just won’t go away: graffiti. However, the Arizona Department of Transportation has found a way to thwart taggers: graffiti shields.
The aluminum shields, which extend about 2 feet to cover the top and sides of a freeway signs, have gone up at one location in Tucson: on the West Drexel Road bridge over Interstate 19. The other one is in Tempe.
ADOT chose the two as trial locations for the shields because of how often those areas are hit with graffiti.
“We realized that if we had something that was angled and jutted out, then that would prevent taggers from bending over and being able to spray the sign,” said Linda Ritter, ADOT’s senior community relations manager.
ADOT already uses anti-graffiti film but that has to be reapplied due to wear and tear. Some signs with too much graffiti have to be taken down and replaced altogether, which requires crews to shut down roads – a move ADOT says costs more than $5,000 each time.
ADOT makes the guards in-house, which costs $2,000 for installation and an additional $50 per square foot of shield. Ritter said the guards are cost-efficient, make neighborhoods more aesthetically pleasing and, most importantly, protect drivers.
“When drivers can’t see a sign well, that’s an issue,” Ritter said. “So we’re very committed to safety. That’s our number one priority.”
ADOT will continue to identify signs tagged most often in Phoenix and in Tucson to install more shields during the next several months.