ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Traffic signs help us get to our destination, let us know if we're on a one-way street, whether we need to stop at an intersection or if we're in a school zone.
Inside Orange County's traffic sign workshop, John Trento, a sign fabrication foreman, said they keep busy all year round making every type of traffic sign for the county.
"All the street name signs, warning signs, speed limit signs, we make those, make it for subdivisions," Trento said. "We design them, print them out. We carry enough stock here to keep Orange County basically afloat."
The signs are made with the help of a special printer that takes about 10 minutes to print a sign. The sign is then cut out and placed on a different machine where a special laminate paper is placed over it.
"It's gotta be a reflective material so then obviously, as people are driving, lights (that hit) it will reflect," Joel Garcia, senior CAD technician said. "Once I laminate it, it extends the life of the material. It allows the sign to stay longer out in the street. After I laminate it, I'll go ahead and take it out to the shop, I'll put it on a blade, cut it, make sure I shave it."
The workshop then gives the signs to workers who go out to designated neighborhoods. They replace signs that have faded over time or damaged ones. They also place signs on streets in need of better indications.
"Every 10 to 12 years, we go through neighborhoods and replace them all," Trento said.
The workshop has the capability of making about 100 signs a day. Currently, their most popular sign is the no parking at any time sign.
"We're having a lot of issues, especially in a lot of neighborhoods where, you know, the fire department can't even go through the road because people are parking on both sides of the road," Trento said.
Another important part of their job is to prepare for hurricane season. They've already started to drill stop signs onto barricades.
"We have a lot of signalizing sections get damaged and when they get damaged, knocked out, it automatically becomes a four-way stop," Trento said. "2004, for example, 2005 and (2006) were badder years because we had to replace a lot of signs because of the three hurricanes that we had."
If you see a sign that needs to replaced, call the Orange County government line at 311 to submit a request.