Caltrans Ron Winnick
SPELLCHECK - Caltrans says it’s had to clean-up occasional misspellings, incorrect height clearance or wrong exit numbers during the roll-out of the SB1 program. (Illustration by Ron Winnick / Los Gatan)

If you turned northbound on Highway 17 from Lark Avenue earlier this month, you were directed toward a fictional city. As you prepared to merge with the traffic heading away from Santa Cruz, the Highway Gothic sans-serif on a green background proclaimed that “Campell” was just three miles away (followed by “San Jose – 9” and “Oakland – 51.”)

Saving the b’s… (Drew Penner / Los Gatan)

Since this Los Gatan reporter snapped photos in early February of the typo clearly referring to Los Gatos’ northern neighbor—the City of Campbell—Caltrans has completed the spelling fix.

The Los Gatan has been querying the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) about the snafu since Feb. 11, but few specifics have been forthcoming.

Questions about how much this error cost and who is on the hook for the payment had not been answered by press time.

However, a Caltrans information officer told the Los Gatan Tuesday sign upgrades have been happening as part of the SB1 (2017) program.

“Sometimes there have been occasional misspellings, incorrect height clearance or wrong exit numbers,” spokesperson Victor Gauthier said, adding contractors or, sometimes municipal employees, contact Caltrans to assist with fabricating a new sign with the correct information. “We do our best to correct any errors as soon as we can.”

Los Gatos Town Manager Laurel Prevetti told the Los Gatan Wednesday that Town staff were not involved in the misspelling or the correction.

Campbell Vice Mayor Sergio Lopez says he’s pleased the sign has been fixed.

“I’ve had environmentally-minded residents reach out to me to save the bees from disappearing, but I don’t think this was what they meant,” he said. “This kind of change is a collaborative effort. And while there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team,’ there’s finally a ‘b’ in ‘Campbell’ thanks to the fine folks at Caltrans.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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