Starting in January 2002, California began the long process of numbering all of its freeway exits. There are are almost 6,000 exits on over 90 freeways in the state and all of them were supposed to get either new signs with exit numbers or have numbers added to existing signs by 2004. Because of budget problems over the past few years, the program was modified and with a new completion date of late 2008. Needless to say this date has been pushed back again. New signs with exit numbers will be installed whenever existing signs are replaced due to age or construction projects. Caltrans has created a website that shows the current status of the project which has been named Cal-NExUS (California Numbered Exit Uniform System). This site lists the exit numbers for ALL California freeways and it shows which exits have been signed with an exit number.


Style #1: External Box

In this style, the exit tab is located above the sign but has a large green, borderless field next to it. From what I have observed, if a sign and it's sign bridge are replaced, then this style of sign is typically installed. I have seen, on occasion, this type of sign installed on an existing bridge.

I found that Highway 60 in Pennsylvania has exit signs (example) that look very similar to this particular style.

Style #2: Internal Box

In this style, the exit tab is located within the sign in an internally drawn box. From what I have seen, this style is the most common way exit numbers are added to signs on existing bridges. The use of the internally drawn box may result in layout changes or shrinking of the text.

Style #3: Tabbed Exit Number

This is the style that's most commonly used in the rest of the United States but will probably not be used by Calrans on overhead signs due to "Wind Loading Requirements" adopted before the numbering project was started. For more information about this, read the short article I found on Daniel Faigin's website below.

However, there a numerous examples within California of this style exit sign on roadsign signs.

Gore Point Signs & Mile Markers

These are examples of the new gore point exit signs that are going to be used in California. Note the 3- and 4-digit layouts are different from other states.

It is unclear whether Caltrans will installed Mile Posts (MP) however, they have been installed on State Route 58. They first appeared on the new Mojave Bypass Freeway which opened September 2003 but I have seen them installed on Hwy 58 as it crosses the Techachapi Mountains between Mojave and Bakersfield.

Why California's Signs are Different...
An Explanation from the California Highways website maintained by Daniel Faigin

"To minimize costs, the new exit number signs will take advantage of existing roadside and overhead signs. Where possible, add-on plates will be used. In some cases, a new sign will be installed. Part of the reason for wholesale replacement is the fact that button copy, which was previously used in California, is no longer manufacturer (in other words, the state was stuck: the old way was no longer possible). Evidently, the basic approach will be to place number tabs atop the overhead signs and on advance signs. Ideally, they will go as tabs, but the tabs will, in some cases, be the same width as the sign panels themselves. There appears to be a wide variety of approachs. Some districts include the tab in the sign itself (Style #1); some use a separately internally drawn box (Style #2), some use one lines, some use two. Due to new wind loading requirements relating to fatigue (which were in place before the exit number program started), this will require redesign of some of the standard sign trusses. For some signs, if the truss cannot accomodate the extra tab (due to new wind loading requirements), the exit number will be incorporated into the sign itself, superimposed on the upper right corner of the sign panel. In areas where maximum wind loads or existing legends do not permit placement of an add-on plaque or panel, a new sign would be installed. More details are available at"


In Oregon, the exit tabs are centered on the sign regardless if the exit is a right or left exit off the freeway. This style was used in Los Angeles when Caltrans first experimented with exit numbers back in the 1970's.


In the state of Washington, instead of using an exit tab, they dedicate the entire upper portion of the sign to place the exit number. The exit number is centered on the sign for both right and left exits off the freeway.