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How to Read a New York State Highway Little Green Sign

New York State Highway Little Green Sign
Eric Meier/TSM

These little green signs pepper every state highway in New York. Each of these signs is unique and tells you a surprising amount of information about the road on which you’re traveling.

Watch the video or read below as we break it down.

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How to Read a New York Little Green Highway Sign

First Row

This line is the easiest. The top row tells you which route you are on. In our example above it’s Route 12.

Middle Row

To understand the middle row, split the numbers down the middle. The first two numbers will tell you which county you’re in. In our example, 26 means Oneida County. The first number tell you which Department of Transportation region you’re in. Region 2 is centered around Utica. Region 1 is in Albany, Region 3 in Syracuse and so on. The second number is the county within the region you’re in when the counties are listed in alphabetical order. Oneida is the 6th county alphabetically in Region 2 so, 26.

The last two numbers of the middle row tell you how many times that route has crossed a county line counting up from south to north or east to west. In our example, Route 12 begins in Broome County then through Chenango and Madison Counties before coming to Oneida County, so Oneida is the 4th county the route has passed through, hence the ’04.’

Bottom Row

Read the bottom row of these signs by the first number, which tells you which segment within the county the route is then the final three numbers give you mileage, in tenths, within the segment. Segments change whenever a route crosses a city limit. Our example above is from segment 3 of Route 12 within Oneida County. The first segment of the route would have been from the southern county line to the Utica city limit. Route 12’s second segment within the county would be within Utica while segment 3 is from the Utica city line to the north county line.

The final three numbers, in this example, would be read as 03.6 miles north of the Utica city limit.

Who knew so much information could be packed into such a small sign? I hope this gives you a new way to look at this little signs you pass while driving every day.

Next: The 5 Most Scenic Drives in New York

This information is to the best of my knowledge and is not associated with the NYS Dept of Transportation.

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