We've all seen these signs on the side of the interstate. Have you ever wondered why certain businesses are featured while other notable ones aren't?

Let's say that you are driving on I-69 in Evansville and you are close to the Lloyd Expressway exit, you will notice several blue signs on the side of the road that feature lodging, food, and gas options in that area. They're officially called "interstate logo signs" or "specific service signs." You might have wondered why some businesses on that exit and other, more recognizable ones are not. Do they pick what is featured on them at random? How does this work?

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According to How Stuff Works, there are three types of blue service signs:

  • Mainline: That's the first one you see. It lets you know certain services are nearby.
  • Ramp: This is closer to the exit and indicates whether you turn right or left at the end of the off-ramp; businesses that are clearly visible from the exit may not qualify for a ramp sign.
  • Trailblazer: This last and smallest sign is placed at each corner where drivers should turn to reach the business.

Which Businesses Go On These Blue Signs?

The businesses found on these service signs are not chosen at random. In fact, the food, lodging, and gas businesses featured on these signs have to actually pay to be put on the sign. According to Indiana Logo Sign Group:

For Logo Signs, the monthly cost depends on the signage that's available, and the signage that your business needs. Mainline Signs are required for participation, and lease at $146 / month (per sign, per direction). Ramp Signs and Trailblazer Signs are issued on a need basis, and lease at $24 / month (per sign, per direction).

ATTRACTION businesses pay $73 / month for Mainline Signs (per sign, per direction), while Ramp and Traiblazer signs lease at $12 / month (per sign, per direction).

TODS Signs (Tourist Oriented Directional Signs) lease at up to $37 per month (per sign, per direction).

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So this explains why you don't see certain businesses on these signs. Plus, there is also a waiting list to be put on service signs, in many instances. On top of all of that, there are general guidelines for businesses that must be met in order for them to be considered on these signs in Indiana, according to  Indiana Logo Sign Group

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Gas Station Guidelines

  • Provide fuel, oil & water

  • Open at least 12 hours / day, 7 days / week

  • Be located within 2 miles of interchange / maximum of 1 turn off crossroad

  • Provide modern restroom / drinking water

  • Possess landline telephone (emergencies)

Restaurant Guidelines

  • Provide meal services at least 2 meals / day, 6 days / week to all ages

  • Provide minimum seating for 25 (indoor / outdoor)

  • Be located within 3 miles of interchange / maximum of 1 turn off crossroad

  • Provide modern restroom

  • Possess landline telephone (emergencies)

Lodging Guidelines

  • Provide minimum of 10 rooms with modern sanitary facilities

  • Have gas and food located within 1 mile

  • Be located within 4 miles of interchange / maximum of 2 turns off crossroad

  • Possess landline telephone (emergencies

So, the next time you're driving along the interstate looking for food or a place to stay and you wonder why a certain business wasn't listed on the blue service signs, now you know!

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