There are 450 miles in Interstate 70 from west to east in Colorado, but Mile 420 ain’t one.
After sticky-fingered stoners repeatedly swiped the marker for the 420th mile, the state Department of Transportation resorted to desperate measures. Colorado, say hello to Mile 419.99.
CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford confirmed Friday that a photo of the unusual mile-marker sign floating around the Internet is real. She said the fractional sign was put up within the last year. The Google Street View image for the 420th mile of I-70 — along a desolate stretch of prairie just east of Stratton — still shows a Mile 420 marker.
It just didn’t stay there for long.
“Obviously people steal these signs,” Ford said. “In the past, if a sign was stolen too much, we wouldn’t replace it. This is sort of an innovative way for us to keep the sign there.”
The term “420” is embraced by marijuana enthusiasts around the country as a signifier of cannabis culture. In sports terms, 420 is the “Roll Tide” of weed.
That association makes Mile 420 signs apparently popular among pilfering potheads, Ford said. Few highways run long enough in Colorado to merit such a sign. Two that do, U.S. 40 near Hugo and U.S. 50 near McClave, have no signs marking their 420th miles, according to Google Street View images.
This is not the only time, though, that CDOT has had to thwart cheeky crooks. Ford said CDOT placed a Mile 68.5 sign near the summit of Cameron Pass, west of Fort Collins. Bawdy bandits kept taking the Mile 69 sign.