JULIE BERTRAND/Independent reporter
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson would be seriously challenged if they ever had to take on the case of disappearing road signs in the County of Stettler.
Since the beginning of spring, some misbehaved drivers have been tampering with county of Stettler’s closed road signs on county roads.
“People are doing one of two things: They’re either moving the road signs to the side of the road or removing from roadblocks so they can get through, or they’re actually destroying them,” said Shawna Benson, director of communications for the county of Stettler.
This is a problem, as the closed road signs are there for a good reason.
There are currently road closure signs in places that have flooded out roads, soft spots or large potholes, all of which are potentially dangerous to those who drive on them.
“When drivers don’t return the sign to its rightful place, they’re putting each traveler behind them in jeopardy as well,” said Benson.
County is doing all it can, having employees continuously check up on closed roads throughout the county.
“It’s a waste of our time and resources to try and make up all of the issues that people who remove or destroy those signs cause,” said Benson.
Benson says this is usually a situation that happens during the summer’s road construction season.
“Every summer, we seem to have vandalism issues and basically sign ignorance. People ignore what the sign says and travel down the roads anyway,” said Benson.
County believes this spring’s acts have been brought on due to the significant amount of roads that have been closed.
“Weather conditions caused us to need to close roads more than we normally do. Of course, there are definitely more signs out there than usual,” said Benson.
Should the county be able to catch people in the act of tampering with a road sign, the offenders can look forward to being charged to the full extent of the law.
“We have spoken with the RCMP and we know that if we happen to catch somebody, it is a chargeable offence under the criminal code,” said Benson.
“At this point, if somebody gets injured, and we do find out that we can identify the person who removed the sign, they can be charged with a fairly serious offence under the criminal code and be held liable personally as well for those injuries.”
County encourages people to report any suspicious behaviour or information on the removal and relocation of signs to the community peace officers at 403-741-6133.