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More than 16,000 WA road signs are replaced, cleaned or fixed every year because they are vandalised, stolen or damaged by vehicles. The Sunday Times revealed that replacing damaged signs in the Perth metropolitan area alone is costing taxpayers millions of dollars every year.

The RAC warns that damaged and graffiti-smeared road signs are a “major road safety concern”.

Main Roads has revealed that 16,059 road signs were replaced, cleaned or required maintenance in 2013-14. That includes more than 2600 road sign panels and posts, which had to be replaced because of vehicle damage, vandalism or being stolen. In most cases, it was due to severe damage from a vehicle or vandalism. Some of the 16,000 signs required attention because they had faded.

Replacing damaged road signs across Perth cost $2.3 million last financial year, Main Roads figures show. It warned the worst hot spots included Read St in Rockingham, Great Northern Hwy between Roe Hwy and Pearce Air Base and Toodyay Rd near the Red Hill Amphitheatre.

Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers said closed-circuit television cameras should be used in those areas to deter vandals.

The RAC warned that vandals targeting road signs are not only costing taxpayers money, but also putting motorists’ lives at risk.

“Intentionally damaging or vandalising signs may put lives at risk by disrupting traffic control, including who has right of way,” RAC policy and research senior manager Anne Still said.

“Good quality signage is key to the operation of the entire road network for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Poor signage is a major road safety concern, can cause confusion and negatively ­impact on the overall user ­experience.”

Main Roads said increases in road sign damage had “remained quite stable at approximately 200-300 extra requests per year”.

“This increase can be attributed to the extra signs added to the road network each year,” it said.

Damaged road signs can be reported to the department 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 138 138.

Originally published in Perth Now. Click here to read the original article.