Better Mousetrap: Portable stop sign and
modified sign trailer

Joe Hodapp, City of Ankeny

Joe Hodapp (above), City of Ankeny, demonstrates the modified portable sign (below).

temporary sign base

loaded sign trailer

Converted sign trailer

A couple of times a year, Bob Sledge, operator with the City of Ankeny, uses a temporary stop sign to replace a permanent one that has blown over or to provide traffic control if a power outage has knocked out a signal.

Before Sledge modified them, the temporary signs were heavy and awkward. He took care of that by using a standard two-piece, “H” design with regular polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe. He uses one or two sandbags to stabilize the base.

Now the signs are lightweight, easy to transport, inexpensive (the base only costs $11), and easy to assemble (an intersection takes about 10 minutes to set up).

However, these signs aren’t yet NCHRP-350 compliant.

Joe Hodapp, operator with the city of Ankeny, converted a utility flatbed trailer into a trailer for the new signs. He made “A” frames to hang the bases over, built a section for 20 sandbags at the front, and added a spot for the tops of the signs with a 20-foot piece of steel. He then lowered the fender and put smaller wheels on the trailer.

The trailer holds 50 tops and 50 bases and cost about $120 to make.


Iowa LTAP is a program of the Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE), an Iowa State University center.

Contact Iowa LTAP/CTRE
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