Apr 23, 2024
The short, strange saga of “Ady Mill Rd” has come to an end. Late last week, drivers on Interstate 35E north in St. Paul noticed that a new highway sign beckoning them to exit onto Ayd Mill Road at exit 104B, near Randolph Avenue, had been misspelled, the latest unintended slight in the city’s sometimes-offbeat experience with road signage. Minnesota Department of Transportation crews corrected the transposition of letters with a temporary patch overnight Monday into Tuesday, and have promised to follow up with a permanent fix. Officials blamed the error on new contractors. “We have a sign replacement project going on between Highway 62 and University Avenue,” explained Kent Barnard, a MnDOT spokesman, on Tuesday, who noted that typos on highway signage are not unprecedented. “That’s not the first time, unfortunately. That’s why they put pencils on erasers — because people do make mistakes once in a while.” Other highway signs immediately surrounding the “Ady Mill Rd” exit were spelled correctly, so it’s doubtful the odd spelling caused much confusion. It did lend itself to some snickers, as well as an offer to purchase the sign from a woman of the same last name. MnDOT politely declined, citing legal complications around the sale of public property and other practical difficulties. “It would take up a wall in her living room,” Barnard said. “They don’t look quite so big when you’re standing looking down on them.” St. Paul, which has spawned longstanding anti-billboard advocates in the form of Scenic St. Paul, has a colorful history of agonizing over billboards and signage. In 2021, when Huntington Bank entered the Twin Cities market by acquiring TCF Bank, it proclaimed its arrival to drivers on the Lafayette Bridge in downtown St. Paul with a billboard sporting the ultimate faux pas: “Hello, Minneapolis!” In August 2012, two McDonald’s billboards erected on Lexington Parkway and Payne Avenue in St. Paul made an effort at enticing Hmong customers in the Hmong language, but the giant ads left out nine spaces between words, creating a long string of gibberish. During Green Line construction the following year, street signs at University Avenue and Galtier Street briefly welcomed visitors to “Unversity Avenue.” Following sometimes tongue-in-cheek media coverage, all four signs were quickly corrected. Related Articles Local News | Letters to the Editor: Apparently the CAIR calendar is missing a date Local News | Key vote Wednesday on St. Paul’s bike plan centers on more off-street lanes Local News | State Patrol calls bystanders ‘heroic’ for pulling man from burning car in St. Paul Local News | St. Paul man sentenced for fatal drive-by shooting, wounding another man four days later Local News | Two years after filming in St. Paul, ‘Downtown Owl’ will be released online on Tuesday
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