It’s not enough the Wyoming Department of Transportation has had to replace several misprinted road signs around the state, now people are stealing them.
Cody Beers, a WYDOT spokesperson, told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that a misprinted road sign the department recently put up outside Cody has been stolen by cutting off the top half of its post, costing the department even more time and money to replace.
This is a big deal as WYDOT doesn’t typically replace entire road signs; rather, the agency installs a new laminate, poster-like material on top of the old surface when refurbishing road signs.
When WYDOT employees attempted to fix a sign that incorrectly read “Beartooth American All Road” outside Cody this week, they discovered there was nothing remaining to attach the sign to.
Also stolen were two other signs near the intersection of the Chief Joseph Highway and Beartooth Highway about 45 miles northwest of Cody. One of the signs contains a floral graphic designating it the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and the other is a yellow road sign announcing the official name of that same road, Wyoming 296.
Waste Of Time And Money
Although WYDOT already received a certain amount of blowback and teasing for the “American All” typo and another sign near Devils Tower that reads “Picture Turonout 1 Mile,” the vandalism takes a much bigger hit to the agency’s wallet than simply correcting them.
Beers said the stolen sign cost his department two unnecessary trips transporting a replacement sign surface from a shop in Cheyenne. Considering the employee hours and new cost to do a total replacement, WYDOT lost $2,000 because of the thefts alone.
“That’s taxpayer money,” Beers said.
Beers said money for a revamped sign will now come out of a fund dedicated to road maintenance issues such as filling potholes.
“Instead of filling three potholes, now that money will go to replacing the signs,” Beers said,
Although some might find humor in WYDOT’s plight, Beers said stolen road signs are a serious matter and that all vandalism should be reported.
“Whoever it is, kids or not, maybe they had a good time, but this is really serious stuff. People get killed over missing speed limit signs,” he said.
A missing road sign can cause people to become lost and lead to serious, and even fatal, crashes when people don’t know the speed limit of the road they are traveling.
Beers said his department is taking the sign thefts seriously and may enlist Wyoming Highway Patrol to investigate them. He encourages anyone with information on the sign thefts to contact Highway Patrol at 1-800-442-9090.
“We hope that the public is as serious about vandalism as it is about reporting our mistakes,” Beers said.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.