Motorists driving into Montana from Canada, 10 miles north of Opheim, will be greeted by a brand new highway sign in the spring.
The old signs welcoming visitors to Montana, which feature a big blue circle in the center with mountains in the background, were designed in the 1980s and will be replaced. The new signs, unveiled recently in Helena, will incorporate newer technology allowing for the inclusion of photographs.
The sign coming to near the Opheim Port of Entry will feature a T-Rex – or specifically an image of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull. Images of wildlife and scenery will be on many other signs statewide.
So just who exactly will the T-Rex and it massive choppers be greeting in Valley County?
According to an officer at the Opheim Port of Entry, anywhere between five and 50 vehicles a day enter Montana there with the average day seeing 10 to 20.
Some vehicles coming south are hauling fertilizer from Saskatchewan to the Pro-Coop Fertilizer Plant in Richland or hay to be sold in drought areas. Others include Saskatchewanites entering Montana to pick up packages after placing orders online to have them shipped to their post office boxes or a business in Opheim. And some are just passing through on their way to other destinations or returning home to Montana.
"The new highway signs will greet visitors and welcome Montanans home in a way we can all be proud of," Gov. Steve Bullock said. "The powerful design, which features many beautiful areas of Montana, plus wildlife pictures, will be durable and have cost-effective manufacturing for the perfect example of effective state government-interagency collaboration addressing the needs of Montanans."
The new signs were designed and created and will be produced in-house. The signs resulted from a partnership between the Montana departments of Transportation and Commerce. The Office of Tourism and Commerce department first approached the DOT about redesigning the Welcome to Montana signs last year, hoping to further their existing efforts to brand Montana.