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Sign marks Joseph Smith birthplace

SHARON, VT.

A new sign has been installed on Vermont Interstate 89 just before Exit 3 — directing motorists to the Joseph Smith Birthplace and warning of a low underpass.

This new sign is a direct result of the efforts of Sister Judy Shefchik, facilities management missionary at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. Sister Shefchik talked to many people researching the laws and requirements for signage on and around the nearby interstate highway.

Sister Judy Shefchik, facilities management missionary at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial, stands under a new sign, recently installed on Vermont Interstate 89 just before Exit 3. The sign directs motorists to the Joseph Smith Birthplace and warns of a low underpass.
Sister Judy Shefchik, facilities management missionary at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial, stands under a new sign, recently installed on Vermont Interstate 89 just before Exit 3. The sign directs motorists to the Joseph Smith Birthplace and warns of a low underpass.

As a result, new plaques were installed at the nearby rest area plazas and “official business directional signs” locations were clarified on VT 14.

However, getting a large sign installed on the interstate highway was as task many said was not possible. In the past, the Church paid for a freeway sign, directing visitors to the Joseph Smith Birthplace. However, the sign was removed in 2001 after a change in legislative rules concerning signs on the interstate in Vermont.

The new legislation enacted very restrictive provisions. Only two supplemental guide signs are permitted at each exit. Currently, there are two entities listed at Exit 2, the desired exit for the Joseph Smith Birthplace, since it is the exit for Sharon, Vt. Thus, Exit 2 is “full.”

However, Sister Shefchik realized that there were no supplemental guide signs at Exit 3. Getting approval for the new sign involved creating a draft of the sign acceptable to the Agency of Transportation, reaching a consensus among regional partners and other interested parties, and getting the approval of the Transportation Information Council. This final approval was received in June 2013.

Five months later, after several communications with traffic safety investigators and installers, the sign was installed, just in time to welcome visitors to the display of Christmas lights at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial.