Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Mystery Signs of Augusta, Maine

Down the block and around the corner from my home in Augusta, Maine I noticed some strange markings on the pavement over the summer. This was not too unusual as over the past two year, two natural gas companies have been competing to win new customers as they have been bringing fresh new Canadian natural gas to the capital of the United States' northeastern most location. The process has involved lots of digging and the "Dig Safe" guys have been working overtime marking and re-marking where various underground utilities were laid.

So, I assumed that one of the gas companies was expanding their customer base and would be soon digging up the street yet again. But these markings were odd and pointed to a location where there was only a stand of trees. Perhaps the squirrels and birds in that location had saved up and were planning for a very warm winter.

The initial markings on the street cryptically stated: MDOT-sign. Soon, these were followed by more colorful signs suggesting that there were no underground utilities in the location and that it was apparently save to dig here. What followed - the signs
themselves - are truly confusing. As you can see in the images, they implore the public to "Post No Signs" - we got a bit of a conundrum going here, or haven't you noticed. They posted a sign to state - DON'T post a sign here. And they didn't stop with one - they got lots of them (see additional photos).

I have yet to figure out what the C.O.A might be - I'm hoping this post might generate some response. Some hint comes from the larger sign that appears below the "To Reverse Direction" sign which reads, "Controlled Access Highway - Official Highway Signs Only."BTW, this intersection is one of those famous "tea cup handle" arrangements where traffic heading in one direction on Western Avenue (a major road that has a center island preventing u-turns or crossing traffic except at intersections) can "reverse direction" without driving into some businesses' parking lot which they do anyway, despite the signs. I always thought these signs - "to reverse direction" - were rather enigmatic and perhaps a bit philosophical. Way too complicated for the average American with a 5th grade reading level to figure out.

Now, the fact that there are no signs posted in this location other than the Post No Signs signs that have recently been posted, and in the 19 years I have been in this location, I have never seen any signs posted here - even the temporary election signs, is a bit disturbing. Is it possible that these are in response to someone's complaint? Could there be a new law on the books that insists that our hard-earn tax money be spent frivolously on useless and cryptic signage that no one, other than me, will ever bother to look at?

Your guess is as good as mine.

In the meantime, the mystery continues. Post something if you got an idea!

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