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May 29, 2018

MDOT announces winners of sign competition

Screen image / Maine Department of Transportation website
Screen image / Maine Department of Transportation website
The first and second place small sign winners in the Department of Transportation My Maine Sign contest.

The Maine Department of Transportation announced the winners of its My Maine Sign contest Friday and didn't waste any time displaying the messages on the state's highways.

Six people were named winners in the contest, which asked for suggestions for the state's lit safety signs. The contest received more than 2,000 entries, department officials said.

Winners were:

Small sign category:

  • First place: "Put down UR cell – or you may end up in one" – Katie Landry
  • Second place: "Spend money on lobstahs – not speeding tickets" – Dan Zarin
  • Third place: "Little known fact – Snow is really slippery" – Tim Fahey.

Large sign category:

  • First place: "A cold suppah is bettah than a hot ticket" – Craig Carver
  • Second place: "Be protected – not projected – Buckle up" – Laura Giuliano
  • Third place: "Keep in mind – Moose eyes don't shine" – Terry White.

Zarin and Carver's messages were both displayed over the holiday weekend and the department plans to eventually use all the messages, officials said during the contest.

The first-place winners will get a street sign with their name on it made in the MDOT's sign shop. Finalists got to choose from a ride to the top of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, tickets from the Maine State Ferry Service and a vehicle pass to a Maine state park.

The contest began in March because the department had received so much feedback from the public about its signs, which are often humorous, spokesman Ted Talbot said.

The entries were gathered through March, and in April, the department displayed the top 60 on its website for a public vote.

Messages had to be safety related, and suggested themes include distracted driving, impaired driving (drugs, alcohol, drowsiness), seatbelts, speeding, general safety, wildlife, winter driving and events — things like holidays and sporting events.

Contest entries were required to be a certain size. Small "two page" signs have three lines with eight or less characters a line, with spaces counting as characters. The larger signs have one "page" with three lines of no more than 16 characters each.

When the contest opened March 1, the department challenged would-be sign scribes: "Are you that person who's always quick with the one-liners? Did your parents always say 'So ya think you're pretty funny do ya?' Does your spouse look at you and say 'You're a real comedian'? Well now's your chance to prove them right! Slap your slapstick on one of our Changeable Safety Message Signs (you know...the ones you see on the highway!). Give us the best pun for the road and we'll make you king of the road!"

The contest was promoted on social media, including a video and a #mymainesign hashtag.

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