Recycling in Action?

US 54/Business US 87, Dalhart, Texas East US 54/Business US 87, Dalhart, Texas

Outward from the small Texas Panhandle city of Dalhart radiate US 87, US 385, and US 54. US 87's routing has changed in recent years, with the old route designated as a business route. However, instead of a separate "BUSINESS" sign, someone has simply put stick-on letters in a standard font on top of the US 87 signs that were already there. For years after I saw the sign, I wondered: did the local folks do this or did the state of Texas do it to keep from having to put up new signs?

Deepening the apparent mystery, David Backlin observed a similar sign in 2004 for Business US 271 in Paris, Texas -- complete with a redundant "Business" banner sign.

The answer: the state did it!

Jonathan Winkler discovered in October 2004 that Texas had changed its standard for business-route markers to match the practices in most other states: using a separate "BUSINESS" sign above the shield rather than putting the word "BUSINESS" within the shield. Jonathan remarked in misc.transport.road:

Although it is not clear to me when Texas started putting "BUSINESS" within independent-mount U.S. route markers, this was already standard procedure in 1980 when the last print edition of Standard Highway Sign Designs for Texas was published. (It was reprinted in 1995, but does not appear to have been significantly revised. The current all-new online edition debuted in September 2003.)

Furthermore, Jonathan reported, the use of "BUSINESS" within the route marker was still in the standard in February 2004. The use of the letter "B" under the first digit was part of the standard as well.

On the right is an example of the former Texas style of mounting route markers side-by-side using a goal-post-shaped mounting. It appears that newer installations have stopped using this style of post.

These photos were taken in January 2000.