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Started by Voyager, April 01, 2009, 11:39:45 PM

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Why is California the only state that has cutout state and US highway shields? I never understood why they don't do that.
Back From The Dead | AARoads Forum Original


I ponder the same question.  I like the cutout style better than the others.


California and places in Virginia are the last holdouts for cutout route markers...

There are isolated cutouts or patches of cutouts in some other States, (Jake was in one small town in Kansas a year or two back and saw a whole street of US 36 cutouts...KDOT obviously hadnt gotten that far in YEARS) but they are far and few in between...<br /><br />Maintaining an interest in Fine Highway Signs since 1958....


Illinois has one, atleast a few months ago they did.  When I-80/94/U.S. 6 was re built a EB marker for U.S. 6 was a cut out...  Roads of the Mid-South & West YouTube Channel


I don't have a picture of it, but on westbound I-84/US-26/US-30 near Glenn's Ferry, Idaho, there's a cutout US-26 shield along the line of that US-6 shield.


Oklahoma has some cutouts for Business US 60 at Seneca and Alternate US 69.
Like Alice I Try To Believe Three Impossible Things Before Breakfast


Wisconsin seems to go the other extreme.  They put Interstate shields on black boxes for multiplexes - and some singletons
Scott O.

Not all who wander are lost...
Ah, the open skies, wind at my back, warm sun on my... wait, where the hell am I?!
As a matter of fact, I do own the road.
Raise your what?

Wisconsin - out-multiplexing your state since 1918.


WA usually does that too, master son, but some older shields (from the 70's) are cutouts.'

I don't see any cutout U.S. or state highway markers...they'd be either with a black or green background.


Washington never used cutouts for State always had ol' George looking off to the side from his black box...

Some states always used squares or rectangles for their markers (The New England States, Indiana, Illinois, Montana come to my mind immediately). 

7 states in the early days used state shapes inside squares or rectangles (Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, and South Carolina)

The only states that used State-shaped cutouts for route markers were Ohio, Missouri Georgia, Arizona, and Arkansas....other States used state shields or symbols<br /><br />Maintaining an interest in Fine Highway Signs since 1958....


I think I saw a pic of one Primary State Highway (Washington, 1937-1964) shield that was cutout. It looked very strange.. :eyebrow:


What about US 3 in Massachusetts? That has loads of cutout shields.
UMaine graduate, former PennDOT employee, new SoCal resident.
Youtube l Flickr



Washington had a brief run in the early 90's where they put interstate shields on white backgrounds resulting in ugly shields like this

but new interstate shields are all cutout along the very standard neutered design.

As far as the state highway shields, Washington hasn't used cutouts since at least 1954


Thanks for pointing that out...around here (Marysville) the "TO I-5" signs are cutouts and sometimes with white, ugly backgrounds.


Wow, those square Interstate signs are ugly indeed.  :ded:


I saw cut outs in several places in Virginia this past weekend.


Connecticut has their state route markers cut out. ;-)

Kidding aside, somehow I think the answer is simple: non-cutout markers are cheaper and easier to manufacture. No DOT wants to waste taxpayer money on more expensive signs.
If you always take the same road, you will never see anything new.


I'd reckon the cutout markers would be slightly cheaper since they use less metal. Think about it–if Michigan used cutouts they'd save 50% of the cost on each sign!
uncontrollable freak sardine salad chef


But it takes fewer cuts to make a square. It'd be very time-consuming to cut out all those little details, even on something the size of a route marker.
Disclaimer: All posts represent my personal opinions and not those of my employer.

Clinched Highways | Counties Visited


Re: corco's photo of I-82/US 12
That I-82 sign disturbs my soul. It's so ugly! X-( X-(

Be well,

Check out my YouTube page ( I have numerous road videos of Metro Atlanta and other areas in the Southeast.

I just signed up on photobucket -- here's my page (


deathtopumpkins: But in the instance that Scott5114 mentioned (Michigan), no actual "cutting out" is required - just take a square sign blank and tilt it 45 degrees, and you have instant cutout!  :sombrero:
Chris Sampang


Oh yeah Michigan uses the diamond-shaped ones doesn't it?  :-D Same for North Carolina too...
Those I could understand using cutouts for.
Disclaimer: All posts represent my personal opinions and not those of my employer.

Clinched Highways | Counties Visited


Here's WA's cutout I-90 and non-cutout I-90 from Mark O'Neil's site. (photos taken by Joe Koehler)


That non-cutout is really ugly...

Oh, and I noticed a non-cutout I-64 sign here today (on the ramp from US-258 SB to LaSalle Ave. SB) mounted on a square blue background.
Disclaimer: All posts represent my personal opinions and not those of my employer.

Clinched Highways | Counties Visited


I've never seen a non-cutout Interstate shield.  On the other hand, I've never seen a state or US route cutout shield, either.



I can fix THAT real fast!<br /><br />Maintaining an interest in Fine Highway Signs since 1958....

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