Spanish gantries

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Mark Hewitt
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Spanish gantries

Post by Mark Hewitt » Fri May 31, 2019 14:50

Driving in Mallorca, and I assume this is a design standard for the whole of Spain, there was a feature of that gantries that would catch me out every single time, even though I knew it was going to happen.

Like this one here https://goo.gl/maps/s3hEVGro3s9rER7s6 obviously left two lanes for Palma, right hand lane for Inca - there must be a lane drop coming up.

Nope! https://goo.gl/maps/2FrskGdc7WnHDQgRA The right hand lane is now apparently totally fine to use to go to Palma.

It seemed to be a the same in a lot of places, even on two lane motorways where it would point to the left hand lane only for continuing and the right hand lane for the turn off, then at the junction change its mind.

I kept thinking I was being lied to, but then this must be a deliberate design choice.
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by Bryn666 » Fri May 31, 2019 17:47

This is almost a similar practice to America; it's basically to avoid the massive wind loading that stacking gantry signs in the UK style causes.

I suppose it also gets through traffic out of the way of any potential queuing onto the mainline.
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by J N Winkler » Fri May 31, 2019 19:52

Mark Hewitt wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 14:50
Driving in Mallorca, and I assume this is a design standard for the whole of Spain, there was a feature of that gantries that would catch me out every single time, even though I knew it was going to happen.

Like this one here https://goo.gl/maps/s3hEVGro3s9rER7s6 obviously left two lanes for Palma, right hand lane for Inca - there must be a lane drop coming up.

Nope! https://goo.gl/maps/2FrskGdc7WnHDQgRA The right hand lane is now apparently totally fine to use to go to Palma.

It seemed to be a the same in a lot of places, even on two lane motorways where it would point to the left hand lane only for continuing and the right hand lane for the turn off, then at the junction change its mind.

I kept thinking I was being lied to, but then this must be a deliberate design choice.
It is indeed how closely spaced exits are supposed to be signed. Figure 120 in the current version of Norma 8.1-IC (the Spanish direction sign design bible) refers. It is basically the Spanish implementation of an old American standard dating from the 1958 Interstate signing and marking manual that is (as explained below) now considered anathema in the US.
Bryn666 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 17:47
This is almost a similar practice to America; it's basically to avoid the massive wind loading that stacking gantry signs in the UK style causes.
This practice--steering exiting traffic to the right-hand lane using advance guide signs with downward-pointing arrows that (falsely) imply the lane drops at the exit--is not a feature of current US guide signing, and has not been for decades. It was heavily criticized in Congressional hearings on guide signing in 1967, mainly because it prompted drivers to make unnecessary lane changes to avoid apparent lane drops where the lane in question did not in fact drop. Current policy is for downward-pointing arrows to be paired with a destination only if the lanes pointed to by those arrows actually lead to those destinations.

Admittedly, you can still find installations that don't follow this rule, but a large share of these either date from the 1960's or are "carbon copies" of 1960's originals. One giveaway of such obsolete signing is a distance expression broken up by a downward-pointing arrow, e.g. "1/2" on left and "MILE" on the right. This was a standard back in the 1960's but now it is almost impossible to end up with something like this while designing vanilla MUTCD signing.
Bryn666 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 17:47
I suppose it also gets through traffic out of the way of any potential queuing onto the mainline.
Justifications along those general lines have been cited for new installations that break the rules, such as I-17 at I-40 westbound near Flagstaff. (In this case, it has been argued that approaching traffic divides equally among the three movements indicated.)
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by c2R » Fri May 31, 2019 20:26

J N Winkler wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 19:52

Justifications along those general lines have been cited for new installations that break the rules, such as I-17 at I-40 westbound near Flagstaff. (In this case, it has been argued that approaching traffic divides equally among the three movements indicated.)

I really don't like that one - it's not entirely obvious at a glance what on earth is going on if you want to go to Phoenix....
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by Bryn666 » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:13

Overhead signing isn't great in many places still.

The MUTCD doesn't really understand directional signs at all in my view.
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by J N Winkler » Sat Jun 01, 2019 17:30

c2R wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 20:26
I really don't like that one - it's not entirely obvious at a glance what on earth is going on if you want to go to Phoenix....
The current (2009) edition of the MUTCD offers two out-of-the-box solutions for signing this diverge. One is "hide the option lane," where the pull-through sign (for I-40 Los Angeles) does not necessarily have downward-pointing arrows, and the advance guide signs for the exit movements (I-17 Phoenix, SR 89A Flagstaff) have just one downward-pointing arrow on an "Exit Only" panel, with only the exit direction sign (located on a structure just downstream of the theoretical gore point) having two upward-pointing arrows, both on an "Exit Only" panel. The other approach is to use an overhead arrow-per-lane diagrammatic with a graphical representation of the option lane.

Either solution affords some ability to perform ramp lane assignment while still on the mainline, by ranging "[I-17]/Phoenix" to the left of "[SR 89A]/Flagstaff" instead of using a single block with "[I-17] [SR 89A]/Phoenix/Flagstaff." But it gets awkward, especially with the first option since the lane for I-17/Phoenix does not appear until the theoretical gore point is reached and thus no downward-pointing arrow can be provided for it.

In this case, a non-compliant solution was deliberately adopted to avoid replacing the overhead signbridge (which would have added several hundred thousand dollars in cost, especially if it were sized to accommodate an OAPL).

(Issues with ramp lane assignment do not end at the theoretical gore point. There is a recent example of an OAPL local to me that does steer exiting traffic into the ramp lanes that are most convenient for the respective directions but arguably is misleading as to how the lanes are distributed among those movements.)
Bryn666 wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:13
Overhead signing isn't great in many places still.

The MUTCD doesn't really understand directional signs at all in my view.
There is a proverb--"If you can't sign it, don't build it"--that in the US, especially in the early days of initial Interstate construction, has been honored more in the breach than in the observance. But pretty much all signing systems I am reasonably familiar with struggle with issues such as option lanes in quick succession, lane assignment on the mainline for ramp lanes post-diverge, etc.
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by Bryn666 » Sat Jun 01, 2019 18:15

I don't disagree; we certainly have major weaknesses in gantry sign design as well.
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by crazyknightsfan » Wed Jun 05, 2019 02:26

Victorian practice to deal with the option lane on the off-ramp seems to be to double-up the destinations, like this.

Then there's this :o :o

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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by c2R » Wed Jun 05, 2019 09:18

The first one reminds me of a brief incarnation of Irish gantries, which were... horrible, repeating destinations above each lane...
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by B6047 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 22:12

or how about https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@36.95081 ... 312!8i6656. The choice is between recent toll motorway or the old D2 through tunnels, sharp turns and an 80kph limit. you have to look closely to see which is which....

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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by mikehindsonevans » Wed Jun 12, 2019 06:23

J N Winkler wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 19:52
Mark Hewitt wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 14:50
Driving in Mallorca, and I assume this is a design standard for the whole of Spain, there was a feature of that gantries that would catch me out every single time, even though I knew it was going to happen.

Like this one here https://goo.gl/maps/s3hEVGro3s9rER7s6 obviously left two lanes for Palma, right hand lane for Inca - there must be a lane drop coming up.

Nope! https://goo.gl/maps/2FrskGdc7WnHDQgRA The right hand lane is now apparently totally fine to use to go to Palma.

It seemed to be a the same in a lot of places, even on two lane motorways where it would point to the left hand lane only for continuing and the right hand lane for the turn off, then at the junction change its mind.

I kept thinking I was being lied to, but then this must be a deliberate design choice.
It is indeed how closely spaced exits are supposed to be signed. Figure 120 in the current version of Norma 8.1-IC (the Spanish direction sign design bible) refers. It is basically the Spanish implementation of an old American standard dating from the 1958 Interstate signing and marking manual that is (as explained below) now considered anathema in the US.
Bryn666 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 17:47
This is almost a similar practice to America; it's basically to avoid the massive wind loading that stacking gantry signs in the UK style causes.
This practice--steering exiting traffic to the right-hand lane using advance guide signs with downward-pointing arrows that (falsely) imply the lane drops at the exit--is not a feature of current US guide signing, and has not been for decades. It was heavily criticized in Congressional hearings on guide signing in 1967, mainly because it prompted drivers to make unnecessary lane changes to avoid apparent lane drops where the lane in question did not in fact drop. Current policy is for downward-pointing arrows to be paired with a destination only if the lanes pointed to by those arrows actually lead to those destinations.

Admittedly, you can still find installations that don't follow this rule, but a large share of these either date from the 1960's or are "carbon copies" of 1960's originals. One giveaway of such obsolete signing is a distance expression broken up by a downward-pointing arrow, e.g. "1/2" on left and "MILE" on the right. This was a standard back in the 1960's but now it is almost impossible to end up with something like this while designing vanilla MUTCD signing.
Bryn666 wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 17:47
I suppose it also gets through traffic out of the way of any potential queuing onto the mainline.
Justifications along those general lines have been cited for new installations that break the rules, such as I-17 at I-40 westbound near Flagstaff. (In this case, it has been argued that approaching traffic divides equally among the three movements indicated.)
The Flagstaff example seems, to me, perfectly logical. BTW, we shall be out there in December and I shall look for this junction on our journey.
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by Mark Hewitt » Wed Jun 12, 2019 08:12

B6047 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 22:12
or how about https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@36.95081 ... 312!8i6656. The choice is between recent toll motorway or the old D2 through tunnels, sharp turns and an 80kph limit. you have to look closely to see which is which....
What place is it signing with the (presumably) arabic script?
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by vlad » Wed Jun 12, 2019 19:47

Mark Hewitt wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 08:12
B6047 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 22:12
or how about https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@36.95081 ... 312!8i6656. The choice is between recent toll motorway or the old D2 through tunnels, sharp turns and an 80kph limit. you have to look closely to see which is which....
What place is it signing with the (presumably) arabic script?
Algeciras by the looks of things.
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by B6047 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 21:20

vlad wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 19:47
Mark Hewitt wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 08:12
B6047 wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 22:12
or how about https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@36.95081 ... 312!8i6656. The choice is between recent toll motorway or the old D2 through tunnels, sharp turns and an 80kph limit. you have to look closely to see which is which....
What place is it signing with the (presumably) arabic script?
Algeciras by the looks of things.
yes Algeciras is the port Morrocan lorry drivers would use but it is a bit strange to see Arabic script north of Malaga.

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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by c2R » Wed Jun 12, 2019 22:49

B6047 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 21:20
vlad wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 19:47
Mark Hewitt wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 08:12


What place is it signing with the (presumably) arabic script?
Algeciras by the looks of things.
yes Algeciras is the port Morrocan lorry drivers would use but it is a bit strange to see Arabic script north of Malaga.
There's loads of signs all over Spain for it... It's important as the port providing the gateway to north Africa for freight. There are also large numbers of French travelling through Spain by car during holiday times to visit relatives in Algeria and Morocco.

Here's one on the approach to Barcelona for example:
https://www.google.com/maps/@41.5589026 ... 384!8i8192

In the past, there have been also French and Arabic interpreters available at some service areas (signed from the motorway in Arabic), as well as leaflets available in French and Arabic about the route to the port through Spain, and driving in Spain in general.
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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by JosephA22 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:24

c2R wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 22:49
B6047 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 21:20
vlad wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 19:47


Algeciras by the looks of things.
yes Algeciras is the port Morrocan lorry drivers would use but it is a bit strange to see Arabic script north of Malaga.
There's loads of signs all over Spain for it... It's important as the port providing the gateway to north Africa for freight. There are also large numbers of French travelling through Spain by car during holiday times to visit relatives in Algeria and Morocco.

Here's one on the approach to Barcelona for example:
https://www.google.com/maps/@41.5589026 ... 384!8i8192
France as a destination is also signed in Spanish and Arabic when travelling northbound in places, such as here on the bypass of Vitoria-Gasteiz.

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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by Viator » Thu Jun 13, 2019 22:03

c2R wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 20:26
J N Winkler wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 19:52

Justifications along those general lines have been cited for new installations that break the rules, such as I-17 at I-40 westbound near Flagstaff. (In this case, it has been argued that approaching traffic divides equally among the three movements indicated.)
I really don't like that one - it's not entirely obvious at a glance what on earth is going on if you want to go to Phoenix....
Hear, hear!
I'm most heartened to learn from J N W, however --
This practice [...] is not a feature of current US guide signing, and has not been for decades. It was heavily criticized in Congressional hearings on guide signing in 1967
-- that the US Congress doesn't (or, at least, didn't) spend all of its time debating tax cuts for the rich... :wink:

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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by James » Mon Jul 29, 2019 19:19

c2R wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 22:49
B6047 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 21:20
vlad wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 19:47


Algeciras by the looks of things.
yes Algeciras is the port Morrocan lorry drivers would use but it is a bit strange to see Arabic script north of Malaga.
There's loads of signs all over Spain for it... It's important as the port providing the gateway to north Africa for freight. There are also large numbers of French travelling through Spain by car during holiday times to visit relatives in Algeria and Morocco.

Here's one on the approach to Barcelona for example:
https://www.google.com/maps/@41.5589026 ... 384!8i8192

In the past, there have been also French and Arabic interpreters available at some service areas (signed from the motorway in Arabic), as well as leaflets available in French and Arabic about the route to the port through Spain, and driving in Spain in general.
I did a kind of choke on my cornflakes when I saw this https://goo.gl/maps/VvBauWGe6tte7pE98

Considering that was 1000+ KM away and 2 more days drive! (I was heading for Los Barrios just outside Algeciras)

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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by scragend » Tue Jul 30, 2019 13:35

James wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 19:19

I did a kind of choke on my cornflakes when I saw this https://goo.gl/maps/VvBauWGe6tte7pE98

Considering that was 1000+ KM away and 2 more days drive! (I was heading for Los Barrios just outside Algeciras)
Hope you weren't eating your cornflakes while driving!

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Re: Spanish gantries

Post by James » Thu Aug 01, 2019 20:50

scragend wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 13:35
James wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 19:19

I did a kind of choke on my cornflakes when I saw this https://goo.gl/maps/VvBauWGe6tte7pE98

Considering that was 1000+ KM away and 2 more days drive! (I was heading for Los Barrios just outside Algeciras)
Hope you weren't eating your cornflakes while driving!
It was liquorice :)

It was odd seeing the sign there then I didn't see another for Algeciras until Seville!

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