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Sacramento is *how* many miles from Ocean City?

It’s not quite the distance that’s listed on the sign. 

The “Sacramento Ca 3073” sign that hangs over the Harry W. Kelley drawbridge was originally conceptualized by Ed Buck, a Maryland highway engineer in the ’70s and ’80s. The sign doesn’t have much practical use, but it does serve as a fun reminder that we’re over 3,000 miles from the opposite end of the country.

Sacramento returned the favor some years later with a sign marking the distance of Ocean City, MD, which is now listed just below Placerville and South Lake Tahoe, both in California and many miles closer to Sacramento than Ocean City is. John R. Cropper, who worked for the California Department of Transportation in the ’80s, thought there should be a sign to parallel the one in OC, and so the sign–which has had to be replaced several times after being stolen–was erected in California. 

The original sign was for Ocean City alone, but the current sign includes Placerville and South Lake Tahoe. This sign was mistakenly made to say “Ocean City, MD 3,037” instead of “3,073,” which is the reason for the cover over the numbers. Although 3,037 would actually be closer to the real distance…

U.S. Route 50 is a major route of the U.S. highway system that passes through 12 states and stretches over 3,000 miles from the East Coast to the West.

From the East to the West, U.S. Route 50 cuts through coastal cities, mountains and desolate deserts–from Utah to Nevada it’s known as “The Loneliest Road in America.”


While Sacramento may have been about 3,073 miles from Ocean City in the 1980s, changes in the highway’s route through added bypasses over the decades have made the distance a good bit shorter: Wikipedia states Route 50 as being 3,017 miles long, while WTOP reported that, according to a Federal Highway Administration spokesperson, the distance should be about 3,008 miles. 

It might not seem like a huge difference, but if you’re making the long journey from the East Coast to the West, those 65 fewer miles add up. 

Now that these strange signs are getting local and national attention, they’ll both likely be updated after engineers with the Maryland State Highway Administration verify the exact distance of the highway. 

Kristin is a writer and photographer in Ocean City, Maryland, and is the content manager for OceanCity.com and other State Ventures, LLC sites. She loves getting reader-submitted stories and photos, so send her an email anytime. She also works part-time at the Art League of Ocean City and the Ocean City Film Festival and lives just off the peninsula with her dog and fiancé. Her photos can be found on Instagram @oc_kristin.

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