Signage for Crowd Control Barricades

Last updated Monday, May 30th, 2022


Hundreds of thousands of crowd control barricades are in use or in storage throughout the nation.  With barriers being continually rotated in and out of use, any entity which owns barricades has a vested interest in keeping control of its stock.  Because so many barricades look alike, loss – and even theft – of barricades is a recurring problem.

To address these issues, many barricade suppliers have also begun to offer a number of different types of signs which can be attached to the barricades.  These signs have three principle purposes:

  • To identify ownership of the barrier and maintain control of inventory
  • To communicate a message
  • To increase the visibility of the barricade, particularly at night

This article will look at three of the most popular types of crowd control barrier signage – aluminum signs, laser cut signs, and reflective sheeting.

Aluminum Signs

Aluminum signs are attached to crowd control barricades by nuts and bolts.  Often featuring the name or logo of the barrier owner, these signs are perhaps the most commonly used method of identifying ownership of barriers, and preventing accidental loss.  Aluminum signs are the same quality as standard road signs.

Aluminum sizes can be of varying sizes, but the dimension which has become something of a de facto industry standard is 8” x 20”.  The size was arrived at through real-world experimentation; it has proven to be large enough to be seen from a distance, but not so large as to contribute significantly to the barrier’s wind resistance

Quality aluminum signs should have smooth edges and no sharp parts.  Signs with sharp edges are difficult to handle safely.  Aluminum has also proven to be far superior to cheaper, thin material which bends at the corners, rendering the sign unattractive and unsafe

The majority of these signs are printed on engineer grade reflective sheeting, which reflects at night when light hits it, emphasizing the existence of the barriers.  (Signs which are merely painted will not be visible in low light conditions.)  Replacement adhesive is available, making it easy to change your message without buying a new sign.  With adhesive, new logos or text can be easily “pasted over” an existing sign, much in the manner of applying a new automobile registration sticker.

To make the most of the aluminum sign option, look for steel barricades that have been pre-drilled especially to accommodate signs.  The largest barricade suppliers pre-drill sign holes into the barricade, which makes it easy for a barricade owner to buy or add signs at any time after purchase of the barrier.  Such barriers are galvanized after the sign holes have been drilled, leaving no steel exposed.

Laser Cut Identification Signs

Laser cut signs are permanent steel signs that are welded to the uprights of a barricade.  These permanent identification signs distinguish barriers in a more unobtrusive way than the larger aluminum signs.  Because laser cut signs cannot be removed (without cutting out two uprights of the barrier), they are the most effective inventory control and identification tool.  Permanent identification significantly reduces the odds that barriers will be lost or “walk away,” making this option ideal for cities in which multiple departments have barrier inventories.

The laser cut sign is literally an integral part of the barricade.  Back to back plates of steel are welded onto the barrier’s uprights prior to galvanizing.  After galvanizing, the sign appears as a steel plate with recessed lettering.  This tough, heavy steel cannot be bent or pried off of the barrier.  Any type of lettering – from simple to sophisticated – is available, and signs can be placed anywhere on the barrier.

Reflective Sheeting

Reflective sheeting, commonly used on other directional devices such as traffic cones and other traffic control signage, is an increasingly popular identification tool for steel barricades.  The primary benefit of reflective sheeting on barriers is that it makes barriers visible at night.  All reflective sheeting will reflect light at night.

The recommended (and most common) placement of reflective sheeting is on both ends of a barrier (so that anyone approaching a barrier or a line of barriers at night can easily assess the barriers’ width).  Sheeting can also be placed at the top and bottom of a barricade to convey its height.  Easy-to-apply self-adhesive tape alternates white and orange stripes diagonally on a 45 degree angle

Three different grades of sheeting are generally available – engineer grade, high intensity, and diamond grade.  Reflective sheeting can also feature printed logos or text.


Placing some type of sign on a crowd control barricade is the most effective way of identifying ownership and preventing accidental loss.  Aluminum signs, laser cut signs and reflective sheeting are three popular options which identify ownership, help maintain inventory control, and often increase a barrier’s visibility.  Most leading suppliers of crowd control barricades can also supply these three types of signs.

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