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New Potomac Mills sign replacing wind-damaged icon that closed I-95

A redesigned Potomac Mills sign is rising above Interstate 95 after wind damage last year nearly toppled the old one and forced a lengthy closure of part of the highway.

Reconstruction is now underway in Woodbridge, and the new sign is expected to be in place within the next few weeks without creating new traffic issues.

It includes safety improvements meant to avoid another near collapse.

“The updated structure will maintain safety as a top priority and give the Potomac Mills community a fresh look and feel,” the Mall said in a statement.

Designs for the new sign (Courtesy Simon/Potomac Mills)

The most recent problem with the previous sign came last year when a massive windstorm left the sign dangling precariously from bent supports.

As a precaution, part of Interstate 95 was closed for a lengthy period as numerous public agencies, the power company and others responded.

Eventually, the sign was safely taken down and I-95 reopened.

That sign had only been installed in 2011 after a different wind storm damaged the previous one.

A bill stemming from last year’s incident that would have required signs that could fall onto highways be regularly inspected every five years and allowed the state to unilaterally remove signs found to pose a risk to drivers passed the Virginia Senate 29-11 in February before being unanimously rejected by a House of Delegates subcommittee.

The bill also would have allowed the state to collect the costs of dealing with the dangerously damaged sign from the sign owner.

Rather than the previous round sign, the new 24-foot tall 46-foot wide black and white sign is more of a trapezoid and includes color changing LEDs that somewhat cut down on electricity use.

Overall the new sign, supports and wavelike designs on top will be 140 feet high, similar to the most recent previous structure. Designs suggest an additional 13-foot tall sign could be added below the main one.

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