The city took drastic steps before dawn this morning to stop vandals from continuing to hit a graffiti hot spot — the massive overhead signs telling drivers what ramp to use at the intersection of Barraza-Aviation Parkway, Alvernon Way and Golf Links Road.
At 6 a.m. this morning, city workers closed the westbound Golf Links Road offramp to Barraza-Aviation Parkway and Alvernon Way northbound so maintenance crews could remove catwalks along the bottom of the overhead signs, which are used by vandals.
Two weeks ago, the catwalk at the somewhat smaller intersection of Alvernon and Contractors Way came down. One more on-ramp in the area will be closed for catwalk removal, but no date has been set.
Michael Graham, a spokesman for the city, said the Transportation Department was forced to take action after vandals painted across the entire surface of both sign several weeks ago.
The signs above the Golf Links off-ramp tell drivers which lane to use for Aviation Parkway and which is for Alvernon traffic.
Graham said not a single bit of the original surface of the lighted green signs was visible.
Crews were able to remove the spray paint used to cover the street signs, but there are plans to replace existing overhead signs with newer ones that need less lighting at night.
Graham said the city has not yet calculated the cost of removing the catwalks, cleaning the graffiti and replacing the signboards.
The time frame for when the signs will be replaced also was not immediately known, Graham said.
The catwalks were initially installed to give access to Transportation Department work crews.
The city is expected to reopen the ramp to traffic at about 2:30 p.m. today.