HAVERHILL — The owner of one business in Monument Square says he never noticed it, even though it's right outside his window.
Two state road signs that are across from New York Cleaners, located at 254 Main St., direct drivers north to Plaistow on Route 125, and east to Merrimac, on Route 110. The problem is, the names of the towns are misspelled.
They happen to point north to "Plastow" and east to "Merrimack," as well as east to Amesbury, which became a city in 1996 but still refers to itself as a town.
"It's funny that I never noticed it before," said Chang Sik Kim, who has a clear view of the signs from the front window of his dry cleaning business.
The signs are in front of the CVS, and are positioned in a way they are best seen by drivers coming up White Street to where it meets Main Street, or Route 125. State highway officials believe the signs were recently installed and that spelling errors were made during their manufacture.
This busy Monument Square area has multiple signs directing drivers south, north and east, including five signs that correctly spell Plaistow and Merrimac. But somehow the signs that are in front of the CVS ended up with incorrect spellings.
Merrimac Town Clerk Patricia "Pat" True said she's driven through Monument Square in Haverhill many times without noticing her town's name was misspelled.
She said there have been many instances where people have confused Merrimac for Merrimack, N.H.
"People who drive down (Interstate) 495 have gotten off the highway and have come into town hall looking for the brewery" in New Hampshire's Merrimack, she said. "They see Merrimac and think they're in New Hampshire. So we point them in the right direction."
People have come to the town of Merrimac in search of Merrimack College as well, True said.
"They think it's in our town and we tell them it's in Andover," she said.
True said the name Merrimack is so prevalent in this area that it can lead to confusion.
"It is kind of funny, but the state should know how to spell Merrimac correctly, and Plaistow too," she said.
Peter Carbone, co-owner of the E-Z Way Cleaners at 143 White St., said he's passed by that sign so many times that he barely gives it a glance any more.
"I've probably turned left there hundreds of times and never noticed it," Carbone said.
He said others who know where they're going probably never noticed the misspelled signs either.
"Now I'm going to be reading other signs to find the next mistake," he said.
Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for MassDOT, said that from time to time spelling mistakes are made during the manufacturing of road signs.
"Certainly we want to spell the name of each community correctly and we regret this error and will fix it as soon as we can," he told The Eagle-Tribune on mid-afternoon Friday.
As an interim corrective measure, he said MassDOT planned to cover the letter "k" at the end of Merrimack with tape and would also correct the spelling of Plaistow. By rush hour Friday evening, green tape had been placed over the "k'' in Merrimack and tape completely covered the misspelled "Plastow.''
Verseckes said the state will eventually replace the sign.
"This was a fabrication error by the contractor and the signs will be replaced at no cost to taxpayers," he said.
He said these two signs are new aluminum signs that have a longer useful life than the plywood signs they are replacing.
Verseckes said that as of Friday afternoon, he was unable to find out when these new signs were installed.
• • •
Join the discussion. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.