It was always kind of fun to catch the state government screwing up. This was a pretty good one…
By ARTHUR FREDERICK
AUGUSTA, Maine (UPI) — New signs in English warning motorists to be alert for moose along ‘Moose Alley’ may not prevent accidents because almost all moose-car mishaps involve French-speaking motorists from Quebec, state officials said Monday.
State Department of Transportation officials said they do not plan to change the signs to include moose warnings in French, even though game wardens estimate that as many as 98 percent of the moose-car crashes involve French-Canadian drivers.
‘We don’t have plans for that,’ said Douglas McCobb of the department’s Traffic Engineering Division. ‘We think the warning sign itself is more noticeable than perhaps the message that you see.
‘The first thing you see is the color of the sign and the second thing is the shape of the sign and the third thing is the actual message on the sign,’ McCobb said. ‘We feel the warning message is proclaimed by the color and the shape of the sign and we hope that if (the French-speaking motorists) see enough of them they will know there is some kind of wild animal crossing or something.’
The problem area is a 50-mile stretch of Route 201 between the town of Bingham and the Canadian border, where the moose population is especially thick. State Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokesman Paul Fournier said department officials have done moose population counts that show as many as six or seven moose per square mile in the area.
‘It is among the highest densities (of moose) found anywhere,’ Fournier said.
Robert Darbelnet, director general of the Canadian Automobile Association’s office in Quebec City, said he travels to Maine often and once nearby struck a moose himself along Route 201.
But he said he was reluctant to tell Maine officials how to handle their road signs when Quebec’s signs are all in French.