How to Take Apart a Street Sign

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As roadways change, so do street signs. Oftentimes because of these changing traffic patterns, old signs need to be removed and replaced with more appropriate signage. Additionally, damage caused by weather, traffic accidents or even vandals often necessitates the removal and replacement of traffic signs. Taking apart a street sign is, therefore an important task when attempting to ensure the safety and orderliness of a street. Taking the sign apart requires some basic tools and an awareness of how the sign was put together. Knowing how the sign was put together will indicate how it should be taken apart.

Excavate the street sign from its position in the ground. Street signs are typically anchored and supported in a hole about two feet deep that is filled with concrete. Excavation will require you to dig around this concrete anchor, and then break it apart with a sledgehammer, as it will likely weigh 50 to 100 pounds or more, depending on the width of the hole.

Remove the bracket cap attaching the sign itself to the sign’s post. If the bracket cap is attached using screws, simply unscrew it. If the cap is attached with rivets, you will need to drill out the rivets with a metal drill bit by drilling through the top of the rivet on its center point until the head separates from the rest of the rivet.

Detach the bracket cap from the sign itself. If the cap is attached with a nut-and-bolt combo, simply loosen the nut with a wrench then hold it in place as you unthread the bolt from the nut and through the sign. If the cap is attached with a rivet, drill the rivet head and remove the cap.


Remove the sign and bracket cap from the signpost prior to excavating the signpost if you would like to make the top of the post somewhat lighter as you dig and attempt to dislodge it from the ground.


Do not remove or attempt to remove a street sign unless you are authorized to do so by your local, state or federal government, as doing so is illegal.