Following the unveiling of a new state logo (seen above) by Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell (R) on February 12, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation was tasked to install new roadside welcome signs at 10 major entry points along state highways and interstates in the next few days, along with 75 smaller signs in other border areas.
“Our welcome signs are part of our first impression for visitors to our state,” said Lt. Gov. Pinnell (at right) – who also serves as the state’s secretary of tourism and branding – in a statement. “I’m looking forward to changing perceptions of Oklahoma, starting at the state line.”
“We’re excited to be a part of the Lt. Governor’s branding efforts by breathing new life into the welcome signs, many of which needed refurbishing,” added Tim Gatz, Oklahoma DOT secretary. “This is a positive way to represent the state and greet our visitors.”
He noted that the welcome sign structures are also being swapped with the new “Welcome to Oklahoma” greeting signs without incurring additional costs.
The average life span of such signs is about 10 years and many of the current signs have lasted two to three decades, so the agency finds itself able to coordinate sign replacement timing with the new branding initiative. The old signs will be “repurposed” as recycled materials, Oklahoma DOT added.
The first of the 10 signs, which spans 20 feet by 10 feet, was installed on US-69/75 south of Durant on February 12, with the rest expected to be placed by February 16, weather permitting. Meanwhile the smaller 8 foot by 4 foot signs at other entry points will be installed statewide over the next few months.
The Oklahoma DOT added that the new signs were manufactured and installed at a total cost of more than $150,000 using federal dollars dedicated for signage and other traffic improvements.