Western Colorado’s Improper Fraction Roads Explained
Drive around Grand Junction and western Colorado enough and you'll notice streets and roads with letters, numbers, and fractions.
The reason behind the numbers and letters is simple to understand. As are the fractions for the most part, except when it comes to improper fractions, like 6/10, 2/10, and 4/10.
I asked y'all why the roads don't follow the mathematical rule of reducing the fraction to its lowest terms. Thanks to a couple natives, my mystery has been solved.
The reason for behind the improper fractions has to do with a vehicle's odometer. On most models of cars and trucks, the last digit on the trip odometer is 1/10th of a mile.
This was first pointed out by Facebook user Vernon D., who said:
Some people wanted the "10th" number kept in place because all auto odometer register in 10ths of a mile, and some people couldn't convert to the lowest denominator while driving. So, people, it makes sense in that respect.
Then, Facebook user Paul S put it in a different light:
As I understand it, the reason that the fractions are not reduced is because not everyone was good at math back in the day when many of the kids (and adults!) only had an 8th grade education or less, and then there were those that didn't speak English, so it was easier for even the uneducated to understand that every mile was divided into tenths so that even someone who could not cope with fractions could still understand that a road named 36 and 3/10 was the THIRD ROAD between 36 and 37 Roads, and that a road like G 4/10 was the FOURTH ROAD between G and H Roads.
Or as Paul put it so lightly: "Them good ole' boys didn't have time to learn them fancy fractions. They were busy working 18 hour days in the orchards!"
Paul says he's heard this explanation since the 1960s from someone who lived here since the 1920s.
Thanks to all for helping me solve this pressing issue.