I Wonder: What are the mysterious Flying Wye signs for?

I Wonder: What are the mysterious Flying Wye signs for?

Credit: KTVB file

Three of the Flying Wye directional signs used to help emergency responders find people in need.

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by Don Day KTVB.COM

Bio | Email | Follow: @DonLDay

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 25 at 3:03 PM

I wonder what do the markers in the area of the flying Y along the Interstate signify. BR 1, GR 1, Y 3, and what do the letters stand for.Harv C., Boise

What do the small colored signs on the flying "y" represent? They look similar to mile marker signs, but they are all the same on each section and the same number.Shauntell, Meridian

BOISE - While it might look like someone is playing an elaborate game of Bingo on the roads and bridges of the Flying Wye - these small colored signs serve a purpose.

Every hundred feet or so is a small placard posted near the roadway - each with two letters followed by the number one. Different sections have different signs - a gray marker with "GY1" stands for "gray one," while a black marker with "BL1" stands for " black one," etc.

"The color-coded markers out there around the Flying Wye as for the benefit of emergency responders in designating and responding to a specific location, and for motorists in identifying where they are when they call in an accident," Idaho Transportation Department spokesperson Reed Hollinshead said.

If your car breaks down on one of the many ramps of the Wye and you call police - instead of trying to figure out how to describe your location in a stressful situation, the dispatcher may ask you to look for one of the signs, quickly narrowing your location.

The Ada County Sheriff's Office fields most of the 911 calls in the county - dispatching units for that agency as well as Boise Police and Fire. Spokesperson Andrea Dearden says dispatchers use the informational signs often.

"They could enter 'black one' into their system and it would automatically pop up on their screen," Dearden said. "They serve their purpose well."

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