GRAY – Visiting motorists will receive more helpful advice from the Maine Turnpike Authority, as the agency introduced a bevy of new signs Monday.
“We surveyed tourists last summer, and found that they appreciate seeing signs for obscure recreational areas that are still hundreds of miles away,” said MTA Executive Director Paul Violette, “but they want the signs to be more direct and informative.”
After a 24-day “fact-finding mission” to Milan, Aruba, and Rio de Janeiro, MTA board members settled on more than a dozen advisory messages people from out-of-state would find helpful.
For example, the sign touting Peaks-Kenny State Park now has an additional line saying, “It’s Nice, But An Hour Out of Your Way.” A similar sign for Baxter State Park advises travelers, “Camping Limited. Abandoned Houses Available in Millinocket.”
Meanwhile, the number of signs directing people to college campuses will be doubled. “They are very popular,” Violette explained. “We got a number of surveys saying things like, ‘Wow, I never thought of figuring out how to get to the University of Maine at Fort Kent before actually getting into the car. Thank you for your extremely helpful $13,000 sign.'”
Thus, drivers heading North on the turnpike between Portland and Augusta will now see signs directing them to Husson University, Colby College, Maine Maritime Academy, and the Stillwater Montessori School, along with a sign urging drivers to turn around and head back to Portland if they want to see the University of Southern Maine.
Blue signs in the median telling drivers to “Reduce Speed in Ice and Snow” and “Stay Awake For Safety’s Sake” will be joined by new ones saying, “Push Right Pedal to Speed Up” and “Get Off the Phone, Asshole.”
The new signs cost $883,000 all told. “It will be well worth it when visiting motorists see how hospitable we are,” Violette says.