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That didn’t take long: Tar Heels championship sign near Raleigh is missing

Two signs trumpeting the Tar Heels’ 2017 national championship were put up by the NC DOT recently. The one along westbound Interstate 40 at the Durham County line, left, is still there. The other, along I-40 near PNC Arena, home of the N.C. State University Wolfpack, is gone. Only the sawed off posts that held the sign remain.
Two signs trumpeting the Tar Heels’ 2017 national championship were put up by the NC DOT recently. The one along westbound Interstate 40 at the Durham County line, left, is still there. The other, along I-40 near PNC Arena, home of the N.C. State University Wolfpack, is gone. Only the sawed off posts that held the sign remain. rstradling@newsobserver.com | cseward@newsobserver.com

The new highway marker along Interstate 40 celebrating the UNC-Chapel Hill’s 2017 NCAA championship was supposed to be up no more than two years.

It lasted about a week.

The standard issue green sign with white letters, put up recently almost three miles from PNC Arena, has gone missing. All that was left Friday were the two wooden posts that held the sign approved by the state Board of Transportation.

Many N.C. State University Wolfpack fans saw the sign and its proximity to their home court as a provocation. On social media, some joked about how they would take it down.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is aware that the sign near North Harrison Avenue in Cary is gone, but doesn’t know what happened, said spokesman Steve Abbott. “We did not remove the sign,” he said late Friday.

The large marker was one of eight the department put up around the state at the direction of the state Board of Transportation. The board had granted UNC-Chapel Hill’s request to put up the signs under a new policy that allows any school that wins a national title in an NCAA sport to celebrate their victory along the highways. The school pays $2,000 per sign, and they have to come down within two years.

The one posted near Wolfpack territory was one of two UNC asked to have put up along Interstate 40; the other is on the westbound side at the I-540 interchange, near the Wake-Durham county line. The signs were ostensibly located where they would catch the eyes of visitors from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Abbott said NCDOT expects to replace the sign, but the details, including whether the sign will be in the same location, have not been worked out.

Richard Stradling: 919-829-4739, @RStradling

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