Sometimes you come across something that just makes you scratch your head and wonder. One of those things, for me at least, is why does Wisconsin use wood for a majority of its signposts while in Minnesota we use metal poles? Apparently, there is an answer to this question, and it comes from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

I didn't notice the signpost difference until this summer when my wife and I were invited to cruise the St. Croix River with friends. When we entered into Wisconsin off the Interstate I started noticing the wooden posts. I thought it was odd and mentioned that to my wife, and she indicated there was probably a reason for it.

According to a 2013 Wisconsin Department of Transportation newsletter, wood is used in Wisconsin for signposts " because wood is relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and has the necessary strength properties to tolerate typical Wisconsin wind loads."

Seems rather simple right? I guess I would think going with a metal sign pole like Minnesota would actually be more sustainable as a pole could be bent back into place if it gets hit, whereas a wooden post would splinter and break.

While it doesn't appear that there is a rule to using metal posts in Minnesota, I was able to find rules and regulations for roadside signs, and I couldn't find anything that said metal poles are the standard, it just seems like those posts work better for us, and maybe it has to do with the iron ore we have as a natural resource?

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