Sam Penrod ReportingUDOT is beginning a big repair job that will confuse drivers, change maps, and cost a lot of taxpayer money.
Nile Easton, UDOT Spokesman: "This looks like it could run from anywhere from two to three million dollars."
The project will fix a mistake in the freeway numbering system that was made fifty years ago when the Interstate was planned out. We all see mile marker signs out on the road--most of us probably pay little attention to them.
The problem is that the freeway exit signs are tied into the same numbering system, so very soon those exit sign numbers we've all become accustomed to will be changing.
Every mile of Utah freeway has a mile marker. It helps to identify every mile of road, but along I-15 from Nephi to the Idaho border the numbers are wrong.
Nile Easton, UDOT Spokesman: "There's the mysterious three miles near Nephi, when the original freeway was designed, and they mile markered it, they did it before the actual construction."
The plans for the freeway near Nephi were changed. The new route added three more miles to the road.
UDOT's known about the wrong numbers for years. Signs recently replaced show how the exit signs are a few numbers off. So later this summer all of the freeway exit signs will have new numbers to correlate to the mile markers.
Nile Easton, UDOT Spokesman: “We want these numbers to be accurate; we want them to reflect what's really out there. The public uses them to find out how far to the next rest area, next stop."
UDOT says the mile markers are really critical to emergency personnel, especially on rural stretches of highway.
Nile Easton, UDOT Spokesman: "A lot of times where there is an accident, and someone calls in on 911, the way the reference where they are, are these mile markers or exit signs, something like that. So for emergency crews, highway patrol, the numbers need to be accurate; that's how they know how to get to you."
The numbering change will also affect map makers and GPS navigation systems. UDOT is already informing mapping companies, along with businesses that rely on exit numbers to give travelers directions, such as hotels.
Nile Easton, UDOT Spokesman: “Every hotel, restaurant, especially in rural areas use those exit signs to tell people get off here."
UDOT will replace four thousand signs on I-15, I-80 and I-70 throughout the entire state. The renumbering starts in August; that's when we'll have to start paying closer attention to where we are going.