Driving south toward Greensboro on NC 68, a driver not familiar with the area would never know they were headed straight for Greensboro and an easy route downtown via Bryan Boulevard because the signs tell you you’re headed to High Point.

So if the highway takes you to Greensboro, why don’t the North Carolina Department of Transportation signs have Greensboro on them.  A driver has to drive through part of Greensboro to get to High Point, but High Point is on the signs and Greensboro isn’t.

One sign tells you “Piedmont Triad Intl Airport” is 11 miles away and “High Point” 23 miles.  But you have to drive through Greensboro to get to the airport or High Point so why doesn’t a sign tell you how far it is to Greensboro.

We may not have highway signs for Greensboro, but Chairman of the North Carolina Board of Transportation Mike Fox, who is an attorney with Tuggle Duggins, lives in Greensboro.  Fox has heard a lot of complaints about highway signage and has a few of his own.

When asked about the lack of signage for Greensboro on NC 68, Fox said, “We struggle sometimes with commonsense with signage.  Some of it has to do with federal funds and federal rules.”

He said, “Some of the rules make no sense to me.”

And Fox gave another example of strange signage concerning Greensboro. He noted that when you’re leaving Piedmont Triad International Airport none of the large green overhead signs say “Greensboro” but there is a sign by the side of the highway that says “Greensboro.”

Fox said the feds would not put Greensboro on the overhead signs because in their opinion drivers are already in Greensboro.  So the sign on the side of the highway was put up by the state after giving up on trying to convince the federal authorities that a lot of people leaving the airport wanted to know how to get to Greensboro.

Fox said that in some of the problem areas where the large overhead (federal) signs don’t make any sense to locals you could expect to see more signs beside the highway placed there by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Fox said he also wanted to know why the highway numbers couldn’t be painted on the pavement like they are in other places and he found out they could be and now some places they are. It’s pretty nice if you’re trying to figure out if you’re in the correct lane when highways split to see the number there on the pavement. Unless, of course, it’s the wrong number and you realize it’s too late to get over.

Getting back to the original question about the signage on NC 68.  In Oak Ridge traveling west on NC 150 at the intersection with NC 68 the sign points Stokesdale to the north and High Point to the south, but there is no indication of where Greensboro might be even though the intersection is just north of Greensboro.

For that question, it seems Fox had decided to stop taking the multitude of sign questions he was being asked seriously.  He said, “Maybe Oak Ridge didn’t want a sign to Greensboro.”

When you consider that one of the reasons Oak Ridge incorporated was so the residents wouldn’t have to worry about being annexed by Greensboro, it might make sense.

Evidently there is whole lot more to highway signage than most of us imagine.