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  • Carrie Crocker

How Increment Panel Highway Guide Signs Are Made

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

What are Highway Guide Signs?

Increment sheet highway guide sign

According to, Highway guide signs provide mileage and directional information to specific destinations and feature white text on a green reflective background. They are typically placed overhead but they can also be located on the side of a freeway.

According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highway (MUTCD), green colored signs indicate guide messages. Signs describing upcoming exits, mileages to upcoming cities, and mile markers are all guide messages, so they appear in white letters on a green background. Different guide signs require different color backgrounds.

Highway guide signs can be built in a couple of different ways. One way a guide sign can take form is by bolting together extruded aluminum panels together.

increment panel signs assembly

Another way you can build guide signs is by using multiple pieces of flat sheet aluminum panel or HDO plywood connected by horizontal bars or wind beam. Flat pieces of aluminum are placed side by side to form the width and height required. A horizontal bar or wind beam, depending on design requirements, is attached to the back of the aluminum or plywood to hold the entire sign together. (pictured below) The face of the increment sign can be covered with a variety of reflective sheetings or non-reflective paints.

How Increment Panel Highway Guide Signs are made: Step-by-Step

cut to length machinery for increment panel signs

  1. In the first step, our cut-to-length operator processes the metal by uncoiling, straightening, cutting to the specified length, and then stacking the aluminum panels.

  2. Next, the panels are sent to our CNC router for counterboring. This ensures the countersunk bolts, that attach to the Z-bars, are flush with the signs surface.

  3. After counterboring, the panels are then sent to be cleaned and etched in our in-house immersion tanks. This 7-step process ensures that the 3M Reflective sheeting will properly adhere to the panel faces. After treatment, the panels are left to dry.

  4. Once the panels are dry, they are sheeted and laminated using 3M reflective traffic sheeting and 3M 1170 film.

  5. After sheeting and lamination is applied, the panels are sent to our assembly department where they are bolted together using Z-bars and take form.

  6. Once the sign has been assembled, the specified legend is then applied. This is where our signs come to life.

  7. Next, the sign is lifted and sent to our shipping bay where it will undergo a full quality control inspection, prior to being loaded.

  8. Once the sign is approved, our shipping team members load our specialized delivery trailers per the sequence you require for installation.

How do I order?

Interstate signways has been making highway guide signs since 1959. To find out how to place your order contact us for a free estimate.


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