NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska has been installing colorful new tourism signs along Interstate 80 to replace old signs that had weathered, becoming hard to read.
The Nebraska Tourism Commission and Department of Roads are coordinating the project, which began with the unveiling of a sign directing travelers to Scouts Rest Ranch in North Platte at Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park. William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Victorian house, built in 1886, and barn sit on 25 acres of what originally was Cody's 4,000-acre ranch.
The sign includes an image of Cody petting a horse.
"Cody had horses like that, but the one on the sign is actually a horse we currently have at the park," Aric Riggins, park superintendent, told the North Platte Telegraph. The horse is named Decker in honor of Mary Decker, Cody's sister.
Gary Thayer, an engineer for the Roads Department, said the Buffalo Bill sign was to be placed along the westbound lane of I-80 at mile marker 185. It will be one of four between Roscoe and Brady.
Thirty-six others will be installed at various locations along the 455-mile Nebraska portion of the interstate, which spans the nation from San Francisco to within a few miles of the Hudson River in northern New Jersey.
Tourism Commission Director Kathy McKillip said repairing the old signs would have been an expensive project.
"This was the result of a strategic plan started a year ago," McKillip said. "The Tourism Commission sponsors focus group meetings across the state, and the thing we consistently heard at them was community leaders wanted to improve the signs on I-80."
The new signs direct travelers to the website visitnebraska.com, where they can find listings on Nebraska activities and attractions. The new signs also encourage motorists to remain in Nebraska, rather than directing them to routes that would take them to the Black Hills of South Dakota or Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
"We want them to do things like travel through the Sandhills via the scenic byway," McKillip said.
The news signs were made with a process called posterization for high-contrast color. All 37 new signs should be in place within the next six weeks, depending on the weather.
"We're really proud of the new signs, and we hope all Nebraskans get a sense of pride when they see them," she said.