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Illinois interesting bid annoucements

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Alps:

--- Quote from: NE2 on December 20, 2013, 07:46:00 PM ---
--- Quote from: Revive 755 on December 20, 2013, 07:40:06 PM ---There are sp,e certainly a unique fractions on the signs for I-255 for one of the January projects:
http://eplan.dot.il.gov/desenv/011714/76F10-063/PLANS/PL-76F10-063-101-206.pdf

Don't think I've seen '59/64 mile' or '57/64 mile' before.

--- End quote ---
(pages 20, 26, 31, 34, 36)
Yeah, what the fuck?

--- End quote ---
That's a font-o, to coin a new term. Certain CAD fonts yield fractions when you type special characters that appear in other fonts. If someone hits "Alt+0189" to do a "", for example, that becomes "57/64" in a different font. Clearly these plans were printed with the wrong configuration file, and thus the wrong font appeared. (CAD relates each font to a number - so for example, font 001 may be for general plans, 011 for existing text, 030 for proposed. However, each agency has its own font sets, and wants its own numbers. So 011 may work for one agency and be a completely arbitrary font for another agency. The project configuration file ensures that the right font set is brought in when opening the file. If you have a file in another project open and jump straight into this project without first changing your configuration, you get what happened here.)

J N Winkler:

--- Quote from: Steve on December 20, 2013, 07:51:39 PM ---That's a font-o, to coin a new term. Certain CAD fonts yield fractions when you type special characters that appear in other fonts. If someone hits "Alt+0189" to do a "", for example, that becomes "57/64" in a different font. Clearly these plans were printed with the wrong configuration file, and thus the wrong font appeared. (CAD relates each font to a number - so for example, font 001 may be for general plans, 011 for existing text, 030 for proposed. However, each agency has its own font sets, and wants its own numbers. So 011 may work for one agency and be a completely arbitrary font for another agency. The project configuration file ensures that the right font set is brought in when opening the file. If you have a file in another project open and jump straight into this project without first changing your configuration, you get what happened here.)
--- End quote ---

This kind of problem can also result from not having a resource file loaded at all, or having a resource file with the correct filename but in an incorrect version.

The sign panel details for this particular project are all generated in SignCAD (the giveaway being the font description caption beneath each sign detail).  SignCAD stores its fonts in a signcad.rsc file, which is available in several different versions.  The version of signcad.rsc that is used to view or plot a SignCAD-produced drawing in MicroStation must match the version that was used to produce the drawing in order for fonts to render correctly.  Symptoms of signcad.rsc version mismatch include FHWA series legend appearing in Clearview or vice versa.

Signcad.rsc is part of the SignCAD distribution and I am not aware of any state DOTs that include it in their CAD workspace configuration files.  I don't think standard SignCAD licensing allows DOTs to redistribute signcad.rsc, though it is possible to obtain it informally, under Chatham House rules ("Don't say you got it from me or I'll get into trouble").

In this particular case, none of the sign panel details use actual traffic sign typefaces; instead they all use CAD placeholder fonts.  This leads me to believe that the plots were generated on a computer which had Illinois DOT's standard workspace loaded, but not a copy of the signcad.rsc file, in any version.  This is quite a sloppy plotting job and, frankly, Illinois DOT should have rejected it and required the consultant to re-plot it with the correct fonts.

Edit:  Looking at the drawing chopblocks again, I think this signing plan may very well be an in-house job.  The bridge plans in the same PDF sheet set are done by Transystems, but I see no good reason to lay the signing plans at their door.

Alps:

--- Quote from: J N Winkler on December 20, 2013, 09:04:45 PM ---In this particular case, none of the sign panel details use actual traffic sign typefaces; instead they all use CAD placeholder fonts.  This leads me to believe that the plots were generated on a computer which had Illinois DOT's standard workspace loaded, but not a copy of the signcad.rsc file, in any version.  This is quite a sloppy plotting job and, frankly, Illinois DOT should have rejected it and required the consultant to re-plot it with the correct fonts.

--- End quote ---
We've all heard the nickname for Illinois DOT. Are they so bad that they don't even check their plans for something this basic and obvious?

Brandon:

--- Quote from: Steve on December 20, 2013, 11:21:03 PM ---
--- Quote from: J N Winkler on December 20, 2013, 09:04:45 PM ---In this particular case, none of the sign panel details use actual traffic sign typefaces; instead they all use CAD placeholder fonts.  This leads me to believe that the plots were generated on a computer which had Illinois DOT's standard workspace loaded, but not a copy of the signcad.rsc file, in any version.  This is quite a sloppy plotting job and, frankly, Illinois DOT should have rejected it and required the consultant to re-plot it with the correct fonts.

--- End quote ---
We've all heard the nickname for Illinois DOT. Are they so bad that they don't even check their plans for something this basic and obvious?

--- End quote ---

Well, it is the Collinsville District (District 8).  They aren't exactly known for good signage.  :rolleyes:

J N Winkler:

--- Quote from: Steve on December 20, 2013, 11:21:03 PM ---We've all heard the nickname for Illinois DOT. Are they so bad that they don't even check their plans for something this basic and obvious?
--- End quote ---

It would seem so.  Font problems are very common in Illinois DOT signing plans in general.  I don't think I have previously seen anything quite so egregious as "57/64" being plotted when it is abundantly clear a much simpler fraction was meant, but I have seen plenty of signing plans with a serif placeholder font used for primary destination legend, Clearview used in route shields (could be a design mistake and not just a font problem, except the font caption sometimes also appears in Clearview, which is another symptom of signcad.rsc version mismatch), Arial instead of Clearview for primary destination legend (a very common problem in GuidSIGN--Illinois DOT allows consultants to use both major signing CAD packages), etc.

There is a lot of district-by-district variation since review of signing plans is handled at district level (in fact, District 1 has its own unpublished signing manual).  Districts 2 (Quad Cities) and 4 (Peoria) produce very good signing plans, while District 8 (East St. Louis) and District 1 (Chicago) are very hit-and-miss.  The signing plans with "57/64" are a District 8 job.  Within districts, I am not aware of a great difference between consultant-produced and in-house signing plans with regard to font substitution problems.

Bad fonts are not purely an ID(i)OT problem.  The Illinois Tollway has the same font substitution problem in its construction plans, and the incidence is roughly the same as for IDOT District 1.

BTW, in my limited experience of state DOT signing plan review processes, I have not seen a single instance of a reviewer calling out a font substitution problem in a comment (even when it was blatantly obvious) and insisting that it be corrected, although I have seen reminders of the rule not to use Clearview in negative contrast (this misuse of Clearview is a design error rather than a font problem per se).  I think there is some expectation--probably communicated verbally only--that designers will supply reviewers with draft plans that look professional, and that the reviewers will ignore font substitution problems as opposed to design errors such as incorrect line spacing, omission or otherwise of horizontal ruled lines, choice of font size not in accord with state DOT policy, etc.  As a rule, I see very few comments on general plan-presentation issues (for example, I have only once seen this comment:  "These sign designs are too small to read when this sheet is printed out at 11" x 17".  Make them larger").

I also suspect that in state DOTs where shop drawings (basically raw GuidSIGN or SignCAD sketches, one sign per page) are a required part of construction plan submittals, there is usually--not always--less pressure on designers to produce clean signing plan sheets.  Ohio DOT and Michigan DOT, for example, require shop drawings and although MDOT signing plans are usually clean, not all signing contracts have plan sheets, while Ohio DOT's signing plans are usually awful.  In contradistinction, the shop drawings are always pattern-accurate.  If Illinois DOT similarly requires shop drawings for design submittals, this may explain why so many signing plans look bad.

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