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ANOTHER HIGHWAY CRISIS SOLVED

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Life must be an adventure these days for government transportation workers.

It's bad enough they have to scribble secret codes on the backs of all road signs - you know, the marks militia organizers and conspiracy buffs believe are deliberate attempts to guide invading New World Order troops, at least the ones who couldn't find any maps at the drugstore.Now they have to shoulder the blame for cursing an entire three-state roadway.

It had to have been deliberate. Why would anyone knowingly designate a highway as U.S. 666, an obvious reference to the mark of the beast mentioned in the Bible's Book of Revelation?

Thank goodness some alert members of the public in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are on to the scheme and have started a push to rename the 198-mile stretch. Never mind that the costs would be enormous, that it would take the approval of transportation officials in all three states as well as of U.S. transportation officials, and that private businesses all along the route would have to change their addresses. As a New Mexico official said, people are concerned about the "evil signage."

The unfortunate number has, according to others, led to a lot of accidents and to "some claims of sightings of old women and things like that," whatever that means. Of course, no one has any real statistics to prove any of this, but let's not quibble about details.

Everyone is overlooking the cheapest solution. Simply turn all the road signs upside down. U.S. 999 sounds like a nice, wholesome roadway.

That way, motorists who happen upon elderly ladies walking the highway can stop and ask if assistance is needed, instead of fleeing in terror. And all those highway employees can go back to perfecting their secret codes.