Colorado Removes "420" Mile Marker

Lowering the Bar:

If all they did was change the sign, of course, then it would no longer be accurate. So I assume they have moved it 52.8 feet to the west, but the report doesn't say. Of course I tried to check this using Google Street View, but that imagery is obviously out of date.

So, if you are on your way out there to steal the new one, and I am not suggesting you go out there on I-70 about a mile east of Stratton, just past the fuel tanks on the right, to do that, I'd appreciate it if you would check on the location for me.

(The issue of locational accuracy was my first thought as well.)

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16 Responses:

  1. plumpy says:

    I had a friend who worked for the Oregon Department of Transportation and one time he casually showed me a place where we passed six mile markers in three miles. (I wasn't in a car with him very often, and we didn't go out of our way to see it which led me to believe it wasn't especially uncommon, but who knows.) His assertion was that mileposts aren't especially accurate for measuring distance but are more useful for describing relative location ("the traffic accident is between milepost 203 and 204").

    He also said that fixing them would be problematic. Not only do you have to renumber the entire highway (starting from wherever the first error is), but you'd have to renumber exits, which would break every GPS navigation system, not to mention paper maps that are even harder to update.

    I can imagine a scenario that could cause this: say you had a long six-mile curvy stretch of highway and one day you replaced with it with a straighter three-mile section. Would you renumber the entire highway, or do you just stick six mile markers in that three-mile stretch?

    Or maybe they were just stoned when placing the markers.

    • NelC says:

      Without even thinking of those issues, I'd've been surprised if the markers were accurate to better than a half-mile, let alone fifty feet.

      • Anthony says:

        City limit signs in California are definitely not accurate to less than 50 feet - they're placed at the closest convenient place to the city limit, convenient being defined as "we can get a crew there easily, and it doesn't interfere with too many other signs".

    • Ian says:

      At one point, on the road main road north from Croydon, in the south of Greater London, there was a sign that said 'Central London 8 miles' about two feet in front of - and mostly covering - a sign saying 'Central London 9 miles'.

      There wouldn't have been any new road, but it may have been remeasured or someone decided that another route was now 'best' for some reason.

      I suspect it was just cheaper to put up a new sign than replace or take down the old one.

      • Jeremy Leader says:

        My impression is that "Central London" is not a well defined place, and has an extent of a couple of miles, so one could very easily be 8 miles from the near edge of (some definition of) Central London, and 9 miles from its center.

        • John Carter says:

          Yes. I was going to say Charing Cross is reasonably well accepted as the centre of London, though only just realised by reading this ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_of_London ) that it's moved a bit and the article mentions 3 other points anyway (London Stone, Hicks Hall and the doors of St Mary-le-Bow church - which are all a couple of miles to the east).

    • captain18 says:

      There was a section of I-88 in Illinois that had a sudden jump in the mile markers which hung around throughout my childhood -- probably a remnant of its many changes of termini and designation through the '60s and '70s.

      There were also quirks in the markings for I-90, as Illinois originally reckoned the length of the tollway section separately from the roughly 6 mile stretch of freeway near the Wisconsin border.

      They fixed the I-88 discrepancy about the time they named it the Reagan Tollway and I-90 has been renumbered as part of the recent resurfacing/widening project, so these things do happen.

  2. Alex says:

    Presumably milepost 404 is somewhere approximately 16 miles from there - unless it's not found?

  3. solarbird says:

    You could fix that positioning issue without moving the marker just by putting a bar over that last "9".

    It's funny that the website "lowering the bar" didn't notice that.

  4. Anthony says:

    Does anyone steal the Millbrae Avenue (US 101 exit 420) exit sign?

  5. art says:

    In related news, the Nevada department of roads has once again replaced the "Lovelock 69" sign just west of Winnemucca with the much less entertaining "Lovelock 70" in exactly the same place.

  6. Adolf Osborne says:

    I'm two weeks out of date here, but:

    In Ohio, we used to OH-69 running north-and-south through most of the state until it was renamed to OH-235 a few decades ago. Nobody steals those signs anymore.