'Rigged Election #Trump16:' Walnut Creek Hacked Traffic Sign Stumps for Trump | NBC Bay Area
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'Rigged Election #Trump16:' Walnut Creek Hacked Traffic Sign Stumps for Trump

Digital Traffic Sign Reads 'Trump16' in Walnut Creek During AM Commute

Digital Traffic Sign Stumps for Trump in Walnut Creek (Published Thursday, May 5, 2016)

Commuters were subject to electioneering from a programmable traffic sign in Walnut Creek on Thursday morning, less than 36 hours after Donald Trump lined up enough electoral votes to run for president on the Republic ticket.

The sign on westbound Ygnacio Valley Road near Lime Ridge read, "Rigged Election #Trump16" at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

Robert Lew was rolling video as he cruised by on his daily drive from Concord to Danvile, and posted a trio of photos to Twitter. 

"I was more annoyed that someone would mess with a sign that could be used to convey useful information," Lew said via email.

Don Murphy, construction coordinator for the city of Walnut Creek, said the sign belongs to the contractor building the new Shadelands shopping center.

“Somebody broke into it who knows what they’re doing and changed the message," he said. "It had to be someone who's worked on these things and knows how to program it."

Changeable message boards have controls in a locked box accessible only with the right key, he added. Some are remotely programmable, but this one isn't.

His office started getting phone calls and emails about it first thing in the morning. The superintendent sent someone out right away, Murphy said.

By noon, the sign had returned to its regular, non-partisan programming, warning of delays ahead. No details on whether those delays were political gridlock or simple congestion. 

No word on which road repair agency or contractor is already lobbying the likely Republican nominee. Or if a Trump supporter hacked the sign to rally support among Contra Costa commuters.

In 2014, a programmable traffic sign in downtown San Francisco read, "Turn Back!" and "Godzilla Attack." 

Contact Raquel Maria Dillon: raquel.dillon@nbcuni.com and @RaquelMDillon

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