WAHPETON, N.D.-Wha' happened?
That question has been on the minds of residents here since the middle of last week, when a road sign was installed just east of Wahpeton with the incorrect spelling: "Whapeton."
"It's ridiculous," said Laurie Straus, 56, who's lived in the city of about 8,000 her whole life. "It's in our town, and it's not spelled correctly."
A photo of the sign, which is along westbound Minnesota Highway 210, has been shared on Facebook more than 120 times, drawing comments such as "yikes" and "good grief!"
A couple of people complained to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, prompting the agency to fix the sign Monday morning, May 23, with a partial overlay, said Jerimiah Moerke, the MnDOT spokesman for District 4.
"Because they were able to patch it like this, the extra cost is minimal," Moerke said.
He said the misspelled sign was a replacement for an old sign. Road signs are typically replaced every 12 to 15 years and cost about $500.
How did the mistake happen? Human error.
"There is a review process, but this one slipped through," Moerke said.
MnDOT plans to adjust that process to prevent this from happening again, he said. In the past several years, only one other sign needed to be patched in this district.
Scott Hagen, 21, who works at a gas station in Wahpeton, found the slip-up "pretty funny," he said. He hadn't seen that spelling before.
"It was different, I guess," he said.
But Straus, who owns Wahpeton Drug & Gift, said misspellings aren't uncommon. She's seen "Wapheton" and even "Wopeton" on checks to her store.
"People from Wahpeton spell Wahpeton wrong," she said. "You can't sound it out. The h has no purpose."