Signals & Signs

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Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)

The City of Tumwater follows the guidelines set forth by the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for sign designs, placement, signal operation and use. This document creates standards for motorists and pedestrians across the country, so people can understand symbols and rules of the road, regardless of the city or state.

Traffic signals

Tumwater presently has 29 traffic signals in operation.  Signal timing and operating protocols are based upon recommendations from the Engineering Division; maintenance of the signals and controllers is the responsibility of the Operations and Maintenance Division.  The signal at the Tumwater Boulevard/I-5 interchange and the four signals on Trosper Road at Capitol Boulevard, I-5 northbound on- and off-ramps, Tyee Drive, and Littlerock Road/2nd Avenue are controlled by WSDOT as these signals directly impact traffic flows on and off the interstate highway system.  The signals at Crosby Boulevard/Mottman Road and Crosby Boulevard/Irving Street are maintained by the City of Olympia through a signal maintenance agreement between Tumwater, Olympia and WSDOT.  

Most of Tumwater's traffic signals employ video traffic detection technology, so the cameras you observe at the intersections are for traffic detection -- they are not "red-light" traffic enforcement cameras.

Sign placement within the City 

  • Signs other than those for traffic control cannot be placed in public right-of-ways. 
  • The City of Tumwater maintains City-owned signs only. 
  • Sign placement is directed by policy established by the City Council. 

Signs are vital to businesses within the community. Sign regulations serve to preserve Tumwater’s natural beauty as well as eliminate distracting, confusing, or excessive signs that may pose a hazard to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. A sign permit issued by the City is required to erect, alter or relocate a sign on private property in Tumwater. There are some exceptions to these rules. See Sign Regulations for more information.

Questions?

  • For general concerns about traffic signal timing or transportation system operation, contact Public Works Engineering at (360) 754-4140. 
  • To report traffic signal malfunctions or other City signs or signal problems, contact Public Works Operations and Maintenance at (360) 754-4150.
  • To report sign code violations, call Community Development at (360) 754-4180.