Funky road signs keep drivers focused - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Funky road signs keep drivers focused

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Although residents often like to joke that it is, the mosquito isn't actually Alaska's official state bird.

You also won't see many coconut trees growing in the far north.

Judging by signage along Grande Drive in Denali, Alaska, however, you might not necessarily know those things.

Appearing along the steep, winding ascent to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, road signs depicting giant mosquitoes carrying off human prey and warning of falling coconuts are clearly meant to get a laugh out of drivers.

Just less than a mile long and costing about $1 million to build, the mostly dirt road (some sharp corners are paved) leads to the Grande Denali Lodge.

Construction on the road began in 2000; the hotel opened in 2002.

Installed in stages over the past four or five years, according to Grande Denali Lodge general manager Joe Merrill, the signs were the brainchild of Dennis Brandon, a marketing consultant for the hotel who has a long history in the hospitality industry in Alaska.

"The collection has been added to each year," says Merrill. "The ideas (for the signs) now come out of different peoples' minds."

As for the broader purpose of the signs, Merrill suggests it's about more than just laughs.

"I guess they're also a way to take peoples' attention away from the side of the road with the cliffs," he says.

"I'm pretty sure we're not done with the signs. Stay tuned to see what our warped minds come up with next."
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