California to become last state to number highway exits

The Associated Press
Monday January 14, 2002

SAN JOSE – After years of people advocating it, California will finally number its highway exits. 

The state has long avoided numbering exits, as the federal government requires, for 40 years, even seeking an exemption to the law. 

In 1999, California estimated that it would cost $40 million to put up the signs, but many seem to think it’s worth it. 

“This is a great idea,” said Lt. Scott Howland, an interim commander of the California Highway Patrol office in San Jose. “Anything that gives motorists a better idea of where they are and how to get where they are going is worth it.” 

Keeping motorists from getting lost isn’t the only benefit. Police say numbered exits will make it easier to find accidents and disabled cars. 

The state Department of Transportation will put up some of the new signs in a few weeks and will announce the new policy this month. 

State officials say that exit signs generate more complaints than any other issue. 

Highway 101 will be one of the first numbered. The others to be numbered first include the busiest interstates beginning in Eureka and San Diego. 

The state currently marks exits by the names of local streets. But that can get confusing if streets have more than one name or if, as with San Antonio Road and San Antonio overpass in the South Bay, more than one spot has the same name.