After nearly three decades of complaints from confused motorists, the Interstate 19 kilometer markers will soon be pulled out of the ground for good.
The state transportation board on Tuesday approved $1.5 million to replace the signs on the entire 100-kilometer — or 63-mile — stretch of I-19 from Nogales to Tucson. The funding is part of the federal stimulus package, which provides $521 million to the state for roads and bridges.
The kilometer signs were placed in 1980 as part of a federal experiment with metric conversion, and over the years proved about as popular as the metric system itself. I-19 is the only U.S. interstate marked in metric.
The Arizona Department of Transportation eventually placed mile markers along I-19 in 1998, but set them at a 90-degree angle to the highway so motorists couldn’t easily see them and be confused by the extra markings.
I remember my high school teachers telling me that in my lifetime the U.S. will completely convert to the metric system . . . not so much.