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I-66 Sign Sports a Misspelling

by ARLnow.com December 6, 2011 at 9:27 am 15,555 105 Comments

Amid the fanfare of the opening of a third lane on westbound I-66, it appears at least one detail was overlooked. Someone apparently forgot to use spell check on an interstate sign.

The auxiliary lane between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street opened last night, but a sign marking the exit to Sycamore Street is spelled incorrectly.

Hat tip to Clarendon Culture. Photo courtesy Aimee David.

  • Bluemontsince1961


  • Beevis

    Exit 69. Hee, hee, hee.

    • Tabby

      You spelled your own name wrong, Beavis.

      • drax


    • mickey644


  • Daniel

    The C looks crooked….almost as if some guy had it right and his supervisor had him change it. “No, I believe it’s p-o-t-a-t-o-e.”

  • joan morris

    Ouch! We will get this fixed pronto!

    • John Fontain

      If you work for the county, one more tip for you: a steel plate on N. 10th in front of Jay’s Saloon is halfway falling down into the hole it is supposed to be covering. Looks like a potentially big safety issue.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Thanks for the tip, that sounds like it could be nasty.

      • KalashniKEV

        You can report that stuff on SeeClickFix and the county will actually respond.

        • Mustard Gas Mike

          That’s what socialist hellholes do.

      • Arl Dem

        That wouldn’t be a county issue – it would be VDOT.

  • G Clifford Prout

    Let’s not be too tough on these guys. I’m sure these sign makers only have a High School diploma.

    • Or English in not their first language.

      • V Dizzle

        “In” English your first language? 🙂

        • Yes, but typing isn’t my first skill apparently! 🙂

    • drax

      You shouldn’t need to go to college to know how to spell “sycamore” though.

    • Alexa

      Why did you capitalize high school?

      • Tabby

        I abhor random capitalization.

      • Tre

        because he went to College

        • V Dizzle

          I Did Too.

    • CrystalMikey

      What’s wrong with having just a HS diploma?

      • Jay

        It’s wrong because it would be “an” HS diploma, not “a” HS diploma.

        • Sam

          When using an abbreviation, it is correct to use the article that corresponds to the non-abbreviated word if the non-abbreviated word is more often said.

          For example, it is fine to say “I spoke with a NY senator today” because people would more often read that as “I spoke with a New York senator today”, not “I spoke with a [en]-[why] senator today”. Likewise, people reading “HS diploma” would rarely say “[aytch]-[ess] diploma”. They would more often read “HS diploma” aloud as “high school diploma”. In writing, it would then be acceptable to say “a HS diploma”.

          • Sam

            That first sentence of the second paragraph SHOULD read:
            “For example, it is fine to write…” not “say”.

          • Jack

            The period goes inside the last quotation mark, Sam.

  • NoVapologist


  • YTK



    • Josh S

      Oooo, cool! More random axe grinding! My favorite!!

      • The Dope of South Arlington

        Wait ’til I post my “it must be an illiterate illegal immigrant” rant.

    • OX4


    • drax

      It’s called a “shift key.” Find it.

  • novasteve

    Government, doing what it does best, screwing up.

    • drax

      Because misspellings never happen in the private sector.

      And how do you know this sign wasn’t made by a private contractor?

      • Norton

        Because VDOT fabricates their own signs. They have shops throughout the Commonwealth to make, replace and repair road signs within their designated districts.

        They replace signs that get damaged by accidents or vandalism. They replace signs that get stolen because they say “Lovers Lane” or some such nonsense like that. They fix or replace signs that someone puts two slugs of birdshot into. They install new stop signs when someone thinks an intersection needs to suddenly become a four way stop.

        And they will send a regular maintenance crew out to fix this sign too. Nobody is getting a bill for the repair, it is covered in the operations budget of VDOT.

        • You can complete a VDOT work request for sign work here:


        • drax

          Good thing misspellings never happen in the private sector then.

          • SomeGuy

            The costs of a private sector error on this scale are typically borne by the private sector company that screwed up instead of the Virginia state taxpayers. Maybe that was his point.

          • drax

            No, that clearly wasn’t his point. He was clearly claiming that government makes mistakes more often.

          • RS

            No, there was nothing in his comment that indicated frequency of mistakes.

          • drax

            “Government, doing what it does best, screwing up.”

            Yes, that was exactly a comment claiming that government makes mistakes more often. Couldn’t be more clear.

          • RS

            No, I can dribble a basketball really well, but what I do best is take it to the hoop for the and-1. I dribble much more often than that though. So the thing I do most often is dribble, but that is different from what I do best.

          • drax

            Sure, RS, whatever you say.

          • SomeGuy

            I agree with RS on this one. drax jumped to a conclusion that may or may not be correct.

          • Justin Russo

            If you’ve read novasteve’s past postings, then you know drax got it exactly right.

          • KalashniKEV

            “He was clearly claiming that government makes mistakes more often.”

            Wouldn’t any sensible person make that claim??

            When you can’t get fired…

          • drax

            Look at Kev, responding to one silly generalization…with another one.

            (And no, I don’t work for the government and never have).

  • KARLington

    Oh. My. God. I see this sign every day…might have to sue the County for excessive and cruel treatment by way of shoddy proofreading.

    • This is a VDOT sign.

      • Clarendon

        Well, McDonnell said he was reforming VDOT so maybe this is part of it. Personally, I like the name Syacmore better. It’s more unique.

        • Tabby

          Unique is an absolute. There is no “more” unique or “very” unique.


          • Clarendon

            That’s usually true, I agree. I almost never make that mistake !

          • Lou


          • Brian

            It’s ok. It was a very unique mistake for you.

          • Richard Cranium

            And UniquA is a character on the Backyardigans.

            Just sayin’.

  • Brittany

    $4000 mistake…

    • j

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      • Elsie

        OK, so it’s a $14.004 million dollar lane project. We will be sure to use the correct number when factoring in the per mile costs vs the streetcar.

        • Southeast Jerome

          Was any of this funded with the Stimulus funding? Or did all of Virginia’s portion of that go to the amazing highways they have in the central and southwestern portion of the state?

          • drax

            I think most major highway funding comes from the feds, stimulus or not.

  • Ceara

    Too funny! NOT!

  • GetReal

    Who’s paying for this mistake?

    • Lou

      It’s still under warranty so they can just ship it back and get a new one.

      Reason for Return: incorrect spelling

      • Rosslynite

        I am sure they can only be held to spelling it like it was set forth by VDOT on the purchase order. If they spelled it like VDOT asked, then VDOT (and the taxpayers) would be paying for the new sign.

        • drax

          Simply change the name of the street to Syacmore. Problem solved. Now we just have to change the street signs. Oh, no, wait…

  • Occupy Protester

    Eye dun’t sea nuttin’ rong wiith it.

  • Joan P. Garmin

    “Buy Honey, it says to veer right onto SYCAMORE street!”

  • charlie

    what is amazing (well in a google-rules the world way) is that if you google “syacmore” you will see that this is a fairly common mistake. I’ve never heard anyone say anything other than “Syc-A-More” so not sure how it coudl be “SYAC-More”

    • G Clifford Prout

      I’m sure it coudl !

    • SomeGuy

      People who eat their burritos at ChipOLTe might disagree with you.

  • billj

    Holy s–t, a picture from Clarendon Culture that wasn’t taken with instagram…

  • billj

    Holy crap, a picture from Clarendon Culture that wasn’t taken with Instagram!

    • Tre


    • Clarendonian

      She uses Instagram for her mobile pics, but to be fair, when she uses a regular camera, her photos are of really great quality.

    • OX4

      Because every picture must have vignetting.

    • JamesE

      and not followed by a small dose of smug arrogance how taking the photo involved traveling past VA Square and Ballston.

  • Quoth the Raven

    {Mounting High Horse, Preparing to Rant}

    Proofreading in general is awful these days. I’ve seen obvious and glaring mistakes on CNN, ESPN, etc. – mistakes that any third grader who’s paying attention could catch. There is so much text-speak out there that there appears to be an entire group of people who think there is nothing grammatically wrong with writing something for your boss or teacher using the same lingo you’d use if you’re texting your BFF.

    {Rant over. Thank you.}

    • Southeast Jerome

      yes- I got a LinkedIn email with “Jobs You Might be Interested In” and one of the job listings had 3 typo’s in it, and it was a Fortune 500 company……

      • BlueSkies

        Was it for a proofreading job?

  • PhilT

    Arlington Alert:

    Two right lanes on I-66 eastbound, before the Sycamore exit, will be closed during tomorrow morning’s rush hour to fix the sign.

  • Seriously?

    Another sad thought is that it probably took a crew of 6 or 7 guys to hang this sign and not one of them said – hey this is spelled wrong maybe we shouldn’t hang it. So don’t just blame the sign maker.

  • You are a dirtbag.

    • This was directed at Tom’s removed comment.

      • Quoth the Raven

        I’m sort of curious what he said to generate a “dirtbag” comment!

        • It was a racial slur.

          • drax

            Which he probably misspelled too.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Looks like his attempted “respelling” (changing one vowel) didn’t go over either, and rightfully was removed.

          • drax

            Wow, I was joking. The dirtbag must think it’s an automatic filter. Nope. Dirtbag haters aren’t welcome here. Well, not the ones who aren’t clever enough to cloak it, at least.

          • Something along the lines of “It must have been a *****.” The shorter version of the changed-vowel word was used.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Yep, and then the yahoo tried to put it back in by changing one vowel. Didn’t work and was removed. Sheesh, some people didn’t have any raising, that’s for sure.

          • Quoth the Raven

            ARLnow certainly seems on top of this kind of thing. Cool.

  • The Dope of South Arlington

    It censors my stuff all the time and I never use offensive names for people.

    • KalashniKEV

      Me too. I just consider it handicapping…

  • Just the Facts

    Still trying to figure out how this state agency error is Zimmerman’s fault…

    • charlie

      oh it just is. you know that or you wouldn’t be asking.

  • JimPB

    Will GPS directions in vehicles make such signs irrelevant and enable reallocation of the sign money?

  • Charles Smith

    The sad part is that no one caught this mistake BEFORE putting up the sign. I wonder whether the “boss” of the sign shop was disciplined for this mistake?

    • Dan

      Yeah, but that wouldn’t have merited a story and photo in ARLNOW.

      It is sort of amusing to ponder just how many people missed this……

  • MC

    Does this matter? Most people are going from DC to places like Gainsville. Hardly anyone will know where this street is.

    • shirley

      Good point. it doesn’t matter. Used to live over by exit 69.
      trust me, our party directions ALWAYS said, ahem, “take EXIT 69”.

    • drax

      You misspelled “Gainesville.” LOL

  • Garden City

    Wow. Who would have thought a story about a misspelled road sign would generate 96 (97, counting this one) comments?

  • dirty biker

    I assume that it was the ArlNow readership that was slamming on the brakes during this morning’s rush hour to gawk at the sign?

  • T

    I’ve been through here twice since the lane was opened and haven’t noticed the sign either time. It’s amazing to drive through there at highway speed.

  • charles

    Ya don’t have to be smart to get a job at Traffic division.


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