The popular “Extraterrestrial Highway” sign has been abducted by state transportation officials ahead of next week’s planned “Storm Area 51” related events.
The large rectangle sign, with “Extraterrestrial Highway” across it in white letters, the state of Nevada and an aircraft on it, located at the junction of state Route 318 and state Route 375 just northwest of U.S. Highway 93, was removed Thursday by the Nevada Department of Transportation. The same sign located in Rachel near the Little A’ Le’ Inn is set to come down this weekend, too.
Since the sign already is a popular photo destination for travelers, transportation officials feared the expected mass of people traveling from Las Vegas to the Alien Research Center in Hiko and the Little A’ Le’ Inn in Rachel, might compound expected traffic issues by stopping to take photos of the sign.
“It’s due for replacement since it’s currently unreadable from stickers and other vandalism,” said Tony Illia, transportation department spokesman. “As such, we removed it and will replace the sign after ‘Alienstock’ to help reduce traffic congestion at this location from people stopping to take pictures.”
The stretch of highway was given its nickname on April 18, 1996 and the sign is among the most stolen highway signs in Nevada, Illia said.
Despite that, the state officials said they didn’t necessarily think someone would take the sign over the weekend.
“This is a newly created event,” Illia added. “As such, we have no historical frame of reference. Regardless, we are still committed to being as properly prepared as possible.”