A sign of busy times for Sheffield Streets Ahead scheme

Mathew Shone of highways contractor Ameys
Mathew Shone of highways contractor Ameys

Their handiwork can be seen on almost every road in Sheffield but most of us have probably never given much thought to the people who make them

They tell you where you can and cannot park, what speed you should drive at, and the name of the street.

A small but dedicated team of three at highways contractor Amey’s Sheffield depot is responsible for making, repairing and maintaining all the city’s road signs – a small team with a wide reach.

As part of its Streets Ahead contract with Sheffield City council, Amey are tasked with looking after the city’s many road signs.

Since the Streets Ahead contract began six years ago, in partnership with the council, Mathew Shones’ team has made an average of 2,000 to 3,000 permanent and temporary road signs a year.

“A lot of signs may have lost their reflectiveness over the years or may have been damaged,” says Mathew, who is in charge of Amey’s sign shop at Olive Grove and has 38 years’ experience.

“Reports come in and we have a certain number of days to replace them, depending on the importance of the sign.”

When roads and footpaths are being resurfaced, street and traffic signs are checked to ensure they meet national specifications.

The huge highways resurfacing programme means that the sign shop is a continuous hive of activity as work takes place to give drivers plenty of notice of the likely disruption and make them aware of diversions.

A major event, such as the Tramlines musical festival or a cycle race sees the team respond with the appropriate signage.

They were especially busy when the Tour de France passed through Sheffield in 2014 to work on signs named aptly, Le Cote de Midhopestones and Le Cote de Jenkin Road.

Brown tourist signs remain on the route of the Tour – another maintenance job for the men from Amey.

Signs are made at Olive Grove according to strict regulations regarding the colour, size and type of lettering. The higher the speed limit, the bigger the sign.

Amey has its own team of designers and works closely with the council to agree on final designs.

“We’re a pretty close-knit team. Every day is different and there is so much to do” said Mathewhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTsQ_TM0PGA&authuser=0