Why Are There Ohio Road Signs in Virginia?

We have all had those moments when we’re driving, in which we forget where we’re going; or our minds are wandering, and we merrily motor along on our way to work; only it’s Saturday and we meant to head to the grocery store, which, of course, is in the opposite direction. I thought I was having one of those moments when I passed the sign that appears in the photo. Clearly, I had not been daydreaming for so long that I drove right past the grocery store all the way to Ohio, had I? Couldn’t be because the entrance to our community of Snowden Bridge is clearly visible in the background. In fact, I noticed four or five of these signs in the area, and indeed, our local SR 661, a.k.a. “Red Bud Road” will be closed for repairs until early August. All of which begs the question as to why Virginia is using Ohio road signs.

Did Ohio order 10 SR 661 signs only to have the Acme Company read the order as 100? I say the “Acme Company” because Amazon doesn’t carry them (I checked), and if dynamite and anvils and such supplies can be ordered from Acme, then it stands to reason that they would have road signs, too. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Road Runner has a number of Acme road signs in storage for any “need-to-detour-Wile E. Coyote” emergencies.

For the record, Ohio does have an SR 661, a 22.22 mile stretch of road that begins just south of Granville, and runs due north until it dead ends at SR 13 just south of Mt. Vernon. Generally, speaking this is between Columbus and Cleveland. Maybe 10 was the minimum order—one sign every 2.2 miles seems excessive to me in the first place, so it’s possible that Ohio got on a group chat, and let all her buddy states know that if anyone had a State Road 661, and needed a few signs, they had some extras that they could sell at a clearance price:

“That’s right, Virginia, they’re on clearance. . . . Oh, you know some are dinged, some are scratched. . . . All of ‘em have the outline of Ohio painted on them. . . .”

“We’ll take five!”

Could anyone in VDOT verify this conversation or otherwise explain why we have Ohio road signs in Virginia? I’d just like to know.

About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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4 Responses to Why Are There Ohio Road Signs in Virginia?

  1. Jerry says:

    Impressive connection of observation and recognition, Austin. One is almost tempted to drop a dime on VDOT (there’s a phrase that would have no meaning for anyone under 30). Almost!


  2. Wow, good catch! (I’ll have to keep my eyes open and see if any Ohio signs show up in my part of Virginia.) I worked on a historical research project in North Dakota some years ago and discovered that a number of towns along a railroad line were misnamed — it got very confusing because the towns seemed to have spontaneously switched names in the late 19th century. It took a bit of digging to discover that the new train line delivered brand new depot signs to the towns, but dropped a couple off at the wrong sites. Rather than pick up the signs and redeliver them to the proper sites the towns just … switched names. I guess they decided that was just easier. 🙂


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