Danville Express

Newsfront - January 19, 2007

Road is royal for one day

Responsible sign manufacturer eating crow

by Natalie O'Neill

Eagle-eyed commuters got a chuckle from a misprinted freeway exit sign that hung northbound on I-680 in Danville last week.

Crow Canyon Road became royalty for 24 hours when a "Crown Canyon Road" sign was accidentally bolted into place by Caltrans late on the night of Jan 10.

After receiving phone calls reporting the error, Caltrans contractors covered up the offending "n" with a material of similar color and texture the following night. Information officials from Caltrans said outside sign manufacturers were responsible for the mistake and that it didn't cost them any money to correct the sign.

"It's simple human error. The story is that we provided them with the information and they added a little something extra," said information officer Brigetta Smith.

In the interest of time, Caltrans chose the faster repair option instead of replacing the sign, which would have taken about six months to print and put up. Officials said contractors were already in the area and fixed the sign with no complications.

"In this case we chose to cover up the end - to do a quick fix for the sake of time," Smith said.

Misprints like this stem from the fact that manufacturers are sometimes not familiar with the areas for which they are printing signs, Smith said. Although she had no record of how often sign misprints occur, she noted it's not uncommon considering the amount of signs for which Caltrans is responsible.

"It happens probably more than we'd like to admit," she said.

Replacing the sign completely wouldn't have necessarily cost Caltrans more money, Smith said. But in general a freeway sign's functionality usually is more of an issue than its aesthetics.

"We could have shifted the (cost) burden to the manufactures but we chose not to," Smith said.

While there are slight visible remnants that a culprit "n" once existed, it will not affect the use of the freeway sign.

Contact Natalie O'Neill at noneill@danvilleweekly.com.


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