California to number exits

| 1/15/2002

Forty years after the rest of the nation, California will begin to number highway exits. Transportation officials believe it will help clear up the confusion many drivers face when trying to find an off-ramp in an unfamiliar location.

The state has avoided numbering exits, as the federal government requires, even asking for and receiving an exemption to the law. In 1999, California estimated it would cost $40 million to add numbered signs throughout the state. As truckers know, it has continued to identify exits by the names of local streets.

In addition to keeping drivers from getting lost, police say numbering exits will make it easier to find accidents and disabled cars. Caltrans will begin installing some new signs in a few weeks, with the rest phased in over several years.

Highway 101 will be one of the first numbered. Others to be numbered in the first wave include the busiest interstates near Eureka and San Diego.