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DOT to fix incorrect “Watertown 78” road sign near Utica


Ever felt like you were getting nowhere during a long road trip? It might not have been your weary mind playing tricks on you.

State Department of Transportation officials in Utica said they'll fix a sign error that might have led some drivers heading north to Watertown to believe they had ripped a hole in the space-time continuum.

North of Interstate 90 in Utica, on Route 12, a sign says Watertown is 78 miles away. Drive 3 miles farther north and a second sign reads “Watertown 78.”

“We'll definitely rectify it after figuring out which one is incorrect,” DOT spokesman James Piccola said this week, adding that it likely is the second sign, which was installed about a year and a half ago.

“There were two separate contracts that were done at different times. It was just an oversight,” he said.

Mr. Piccola said DOT plans to order a number “5” to place over the “8” in the second sign, which is closer to Watertown. If that doesn't work, for whatever reason, the state will simply commission a new sign to replace the erroneous sign within a month, Mr. Piccola said, blaming the problem on two “major break-offs” in the area of the signs.

The first, “correct” sign was put up at least a decade ago and is the first sign notifying drivers getting off I-90 in Utica that they are on the right road to Watertown.

The second sign — the one that should read “Watertown 75” — is primarily for drivers on Route 8 West merging onto Route 12 North.

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