Larry Hogan is officially the governor of Maryland. Just check the state's highway signs.
On Thursday, State Highway Administration crews finished riveting thin pieces of aluminum with Hogan's name onto 21 highway signs across the state that previously spelled out the name of his predecessor, Martin O'Malley.
The work was a tad late, given Hogan's inauguration Wednesday, because Wednesday's snow "really threw a monkey wrench" in the SHA's schedule for the switchover, said Sonny Bailey, sign operations manager in the agency's manufacturing shop in Hanover.
Still, O'Malley's name had been covered on all the signs by the time Hogan took office, and the work to replace it with Hogan's name — handled by the same crews that had to spend Wednesday treating and clearing roads of snow — was completed Thursday, Bailey said.
With every gubernatorial transition, a slew of changes must be made across all of the state's agencies on materials that make reference to the governor. The highway signs are one of the most visible examples, but changes also must be implemented on much smaller items, such as stationery and state tourist maps.
The full cost of those changes could not be determined Thursday. Therese Yewell, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of General Services, which handles state procurements, said that information would be forthcoming once it is calculated.
"They're still looking at all that's required of a transition," she said of Hogan's new staff.
The State Highway Administration said the cost just for changing highway signs is about $6,700.
The administration limited the expense in part by riveting the smaller pieces of aluminum with Hogan's name on top of O'Malley's name, rather than replacing all 21 signs completely, said Bailey, 62, who's been with the SHA for more than 30 years, through several administration changes.
Many of the signs that list the governor's name are near state borders and on major highways, helping to welcome visitors to the state. Others are on smaller arteries.
The SHA purchases blank aluminum signs from outside vendors, he said. In his shop, reflective material is then added to the signs. "It has an adhesive on the back, so you just peel the back off and apply it to the aluminum," he said.
Then, workers in the shop use computer software to create each sign's message, and machines known as "plotters" apply those messages to the signs with the lettering straight and perfectly spaced, Bailey said.
The Hanover shop provides signs used across the state. Last year, it produced 5,829 signs for roadways, representing 53,950 square feet of signage.
The shop's crews went out to all 21 of the signs with O'Malley's name on them in recent weeks and measured the dimensions for the new overlay "so we could make sure we could cover the whole name with the new name," Bailey said.
"We had to make sure we had the measurements right," he said.