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Road sign vandalism increasing, road commissioner says

  • Harrisburg Township Road Commissioner Bob Holmes displays two recently vandalized signs from Mt. Moriah Road, north of Harrisburg. Holmes said sign vandalism is increasing, which costs townships significant money.

    Harrisburg Township Road Commissioner Bob Holmes displays two recently vandalized signs from Mt. Moriah Road, north of Harrisburg. Holmes said sign vandalism is increasing, which costs townships significant money.
    Travis DeNeal photo

  • From left, Harrisburg Township workers Charlie Hyers and Rick Duffy, Earnfare worker Eric McWilliams and Road Commissioner Bob Holmes shows a sign vandalized within and hour or two of placement Tuesday afternoon, along with a new replacement sign that is elevated 10 feet to minimize damage from vandals.

    From left, Harrisburg Township workers Charlie Hyers and Rick Duffy, Earnfare worker Eric McWilliams and Road Commissioner Bob Holmes shows a sign vandalized within and hour or two of placement Tuesday afternoon, along with a new replacement sign that is elevated 10 feet to minimize damage from vandals.
    Travis DeNeal photo

 
BY TRAVIS DENEAL tdeneal@dailyregister.com
updated: 3/16/2017 5:31 PM

SALINE COUNTY -- It's not unusual to take a drive on a county road and see a road sign with a little age, a scrape from a farm implement or the odd bullet hole.

In Harrisburg Township, though, sign replacement is becoming necessary due to a high rate of vandalism, the township's road commissioner says.

"This sign here is shot up," Road Commissioner Bob Holmes says, pointing to a bent-up sign with easily 50 or more bullet holes.

"Yeah, it's shot to pieces," township worker Charlie Hyers says in agreement.

He shows another piece of metal that could pass for an abtract art work -- were it not a vital road sign Tuesday afternoon.

"We had gotten a call saying a sign was painted over, so the guys came out and replaced it yesterday," Holmes said. "They got done putting it in about 3:30 p.m. A motorist called me at about 6 p.m. saying the sign was covered up with paint. It was just installed a couple hours earlier."

Wednesday afternoon, Holmes' crew was replacing signs on Mt. Moriah Road north of Harrisburg. He said the sign vandalism isn't limited to that road.

"We've had signs vandalized on Ingram Hill Road, too," he said. "It's all over."

He said he is concerned about cost to the township to replace the signs, because township budgets are small.

"The sign themselves are not too expensive," Holmes said. "But with manhours of labor added in, you're looking at around $1,200 to $1,500 a sign,"

Worse, he said, is the safety issue the vandalized signs create.

"These signs are necessary for motorists, and they're really supposed to be at eye level for a driver," Holmes said. "We had to put this last one up 10 feet in the hopes that it's too far off the ground for people to spray paint it."

Many of the signs are on rural roads, which makes protection difficult, Hyers said.

"We rely on people who call Bob or the sheriff's office to report vandalism," he said.

Holman asked that anyone who sees suspected vandalism contact the Saline County Sheriff's Office at (618) 252-8661 or his number (618) 252-7501.