MUTCD users should know that FHWA published a revision to the 2009 MUTCD on Friday, August 5, 2022. The revision makes changes to the Table of Contents (due to page numbering changes), Table I-2 on compliance dates, Section 1A.11 (to add a reference document on maintaining marking retroreflectivity), and Section 3A.03 (the primary focus of the revision addressing minimum retroreflectivity for pavement markings).
Previously, Section 3A.03 was reserved for future content. The revision requires a method to maintain a minimum retroreflectivity of 50 mcd/m2/lx for longitudinal markings on roads with speed limits of 35 mph or greater and recommends a method to maintain a minimum retroreflectivity of 100 mcd/m2/lx for longitudinal markings on roads with speed limits of 70 mph or greater. The MUTCD language in this section provides more details about maintaining pavement marking retroreflectivity and pavement markings that may be excluded from the minimum retroreflectivity provisions. MUTCD users are encouraged to read the MUTCD language of the revision to gain a greater understanding of the impacts of this revision. The stand-alone Revision 3 and the 2009 MUTCD with Revisions 1, 2, and 3 incorporated can be found on the Kittelson LLC MUTCD website. Additionally, the Kittelson MUTCD website has a link to the Federal Register final rule for this revision. This final rule is the final step in what has been an almost 30-year process to add minimum levels of retroreflectivity for signs and markings to the MUTCD.
The revision becomes effective on September 6, 2022, at the federal level. Individual states may have to take administrative action to adopt the revision into the MUTCD version used in that state. As indicated in Table I-2, agencies and owners of private roads open to public travel have 4 years from the effective date of the revision to implement and use a method to maintain minimum pavement marking retroreflectivity.
Gene Hawkins is the resident MUTCD expert at Kittelson LLC. He has a 40-year career with extensive experience and expertise with traffic control devices. He is the current chair of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and the content creator for the Kittelson MUTCD website. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need traffic control device expert witness or consulting services.