ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Drive down any city street and you will see them everywhere, signs, but until recently the city of Albuquerque did not know how many there were.
"We never had an inventory of what we actually had we'd put them in but no one ever kept track of what we had, so that was the first step is doing the inventory," Department of Municipal Development Director Michael Riordan said.
That inventory was spurred by a federal order requiring signs to meet certain standards or risk losing federal dollars.
Riordan said they spent six months and $1 million to send a special truck with a camera strapped to its roof around snapping photos of all the signs in the city to see how many they had and how many of them needed to go.
Once that was complete, Riordan said they found out there are about 100,000 signs most of which are not in compliance.
"Originally with the federal mandate we were going to be required to have everything replaced by 2014 now without that mandate it is up to us," said Riordan.
The feds may have dropped their threat but the city still has to comply.
Right now they are in the process of making some of the new signs.
There are a few big differences, for one the new signs are a lot more reflective than the old ones helping drivers see them from much further away.
The letters for street names are no longer in all capitol letters and they are a lot larger too.
The signs themselves are also much bigger to make them easier to see, especially for elderly drivers.
Since this is such a large undertaking the city has prioritized which areas need new signs the most.
To start Riordan said they will focus on a patch of the Northeast Heights as part of pilot project.
That project will encompass the area from Montgomery to Candelaria between Louisiana and Wyoming.
"We expect to replace about 2,500 signs for about $300,000, its about $150 to $250 per sign," said Riordan.
At that rate the city is looking at a cost of around $12 million to replace them all.
Riordan said the pilot project should get underway next spring. Once it gets rolling he expects the process to take about six months.
As for the rest of the signs he said they will replace them as funds become available over the next four years.
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