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Oops: Highway signs point to ‘Cooperville’ and ‘Grand Radips’


COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A large wayfinding sign along I-96 near 48th Avenue pointed drivers toward the city of ‘Grand Radips.’ And if you follow the signs nearby at 68th Avenue, you can get to ‘Grand Radips’ by way of ‘Cooperville.’

“Obviously, it’s not Grand Radips. I think we all know the name of the city,” Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Nick Schirripa said.

The goofs were discovered over the weekend. The westbound exit ramp and eastbound entrance ramp to and from 68th Avenue at Coopersville both have a missing ‘s.’ The ‘Grand Radips’ sign is about two miles east at 48th Avenue. As of Monday, the ‘Grand Radips’ misspelling was covered up with green tape.

“They had one job but they had to do it hundreds of times,” Schirripa said. “These were three signs out of hundreds that got replaced along the 96 corridors.”

You might dismiss the ‘Cooperville’ faux pas. There’s just one missing letter and it’s buried in the middle of the word. But Grand Radips?

“That seems a little more obvious,” Schirripa said. “But if you know it’s Grand Rapids and you’re not looking for the error, maybe your brain subconsciously flips the letters anyway and you don’t catch it right away.”

A few drivers noticed the mistake and posted photos on social media. But like the people in charge of proofreading the signs, many others passed on by without noticing the mistake.

“Potentially there were thousands of people that looked at that sign and didn’t register,” Schirripa said.

MDOT hasn’t figured out who made the mistake or at what point in the process. Schirripa said the proofs for the Coopersville sign were correct when they went to the private contractor who makes up the signs. MDOT is still trying to determine if the spelling on the Grand Rapids sign was right when it was sent in.

“We’ll go all the way back to the shop drawing. We’ll go all the way back to that piece of paper to see where that started, and that’s kind of where we are in the stage today,” Schirripa said. “People make mistakes. It happens every day in every job. It just so happens when we make a spelling error, we don’t do it in our office, we do it on a sign that’s in front of thousands of motorists.”





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