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Street signs will soon be replaced in tornado damaged areas - KOAM TV 7

Street signs will soon be replaced in tornado damaged areas

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The city of Joplin says street signs will soon be replaced throughout areas destroyed by last year's tornado.

Many residents have gotten creative with how to give directions down roads without any street signs.  It's been a reminder to many of how nearly everything needs to be built from scratch.

There are no street signs guiding any of Mike Donham's workers to his construction project on Texas Street in Joplin.

"We've had a couple subs that have basically just drove right on past, then, next thing you know, they're coming back five, six hours later," says Donham.  "You're always telling them, 'we're on the second block off Range Line to the left.'"

"Even working here daily, driving through the area it's still pretty easy to get turned around," says Joplin Traffic Engineer Dave Hunt.

Hunt says there are about 2,000 street signs that need to be replaced in the tornado's path at a cost of more than $100,000, but the city's insurance claim won't cover the entire cost.

"If it's a larger disaster, FEMA and the Federal Highway will come in and pick up the tab for us," says Hunt.

The Federal Highway Administration recently put aside money for the project but still needs to give Joplin authorization to ask for work bids.

City officials say they were ready to send out the work bids a couple months after May 22nd.

"The Federal Highway component of that has taken a lot longer than I had anticipated," Hunt says.  "I think that's because the Federal Highway Administration doesn't have a procedure to allocate funds in an emergency fashion."

The city expects to know within the next couple of days when the project will begin.

Once the federal government gives the go ahead for construction to begin, city officials say it'll take about 90 days for all the street signs to be replaced.

The city will then work on replacing the poles of some traffic signals.

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