The new Easthampton signs outline the state of Alabama under the route numbers. (Globe Photo / Stephen Rose) Word to road crews: Tuscaloosa is over 1,000 miles thataway Few in Easthampton noticed mistake in signs By Mac Daniel, Globe Staff | July 26, 2005 The new road signs at the corner of Routes 10 and 141 feature the numbers inside an outline of the great state of Alabama. Problem is, the intersection is smack dab in downtown Easthampton, Mass. In a commonwealth known for its confusing road signs and ''can't get there" complaints, this latest gaffe is among the strangest. Even more curiously, no one took much notice when the wayward signs went up about a week ago. ''We thought it was Connecticut turned upside down," said a woman who works for the contractor, A. Pereira Construction Co. of Ludlow. ''Actually, we didn't know what it was," said Roger Remy, the contractor's estimator, who ordered the signs from another company. ''We didn't really question it, because the numbers were correct." He said his company is not sure where the fault lies for the mistake. In Massachusetts, the sign should be a simple black number on a white square or rectangle. Mike Superson -- co-owner of Big E's Supermarket on Union Street, which sits next to the signs -- didn't spot the miscue, either. ''I looked at them 100 times since they put them up," he said yesterday. ''This is the first I've heard of this." Joe Pipczynski, Easthampton's superintendent of public works, was alerted to the glitch by a Massachusetts Highway Department worker. After talking with both the city and consulting engineers, Pipczynski said he believes the contractor simply opened the federal manual that guides what state highway signs should look like and sent the example of a state road sign to the sign maker. The manual shows a road sign for Route 21 in Alabama, with the state outline. The error, though rare, is not unheard of, according to road sign aficionados at the Federal Highway Administration, who got a chuckle about Easthampton. Pipczynski, however, is not amused. The contractor will not be paid until the signs are fixed, he said. A. Pereira said the correct signs will be put up as soon as possible. ''There was a little bit of confusion," said Remy. ''It's kind of an oddball situation. ''But sometimes stuff happens. Confusion does happen sometimes. . . . I mean, I don't know. Who knows?" MAC DANIEL © Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.