Wednesday, July 13, 2016

North Dakota gets new state route signs

Like county names, state symbols can have a lot of baggage that leads to their eventual retirement. Many folks believe this fate has befallen North Dakota's state highway route signs - but state transportation officials say that's not the case.

For 90 years, North Dakota has used a profile of Lakota law enforcement agent Red Tomahawk on its highway signs. He is the man in the feather headdress on North Dakota route markers. Red Tomahawk, however, is a controversial figure who participated in the death of Sitting Bull.

North Dakota is now retiring its old state route shields featuring Red Tomahawk and rolling out new ones featuring an outline of the state. But transportation officials say the real reason for this wasn't because of any controversy. They said the change is "just a part of the regular sign maintenance program" designed to raise the state's profile.

Meanwhile, more county name changes in nearby states may be in the works.