Sunday, May 31, 2009

Expect Delays

Road construction season is upon us, and I don't know what it's like where you live, but here in northeastern Pennsylvania it's a bit ridiculous. We took a trip yesterday up I-81 to Johnson City and we must have encountered at least ten separate construction areas reduced to one moving lane. Understandably, repairs need to be made, but it's as if every road project is planned and executed with no regard for the overall picture and what it means to the average guy who needs to use the highway in terms of getting to where he's going on time.

I'd like to know who the genius is who decides and authorizes that ten miles of good road need to be shut down to accommodate workers in a small area where work is actually being done. Who gets to decide that? Is it just some random supervisor on a work crew or is there an engineering manual somewhere that specifies the degree of inconvenience deemed reasonable for the sake of a project? Seriously, if anybody knows the definitive answer to this, please drop me a line and spare my blood pressure the rise in imagining that there's no real method to the madness in shutting down long stretches where work isn't actually being done. There's no real argument in suggesting that they're shutting down many miles because the work zone will get there eventually. They can just add another barrel when they get there instead of making us move over weeks in advance.


kz1000st said...

Let me tell you something even more scandalous. Contractors get paid for every foot or every barrel they have out there per day. I don't know how they get away with it in Pa. In New York where I was a Construction Inspector we had to clear the highway and return it to full serviceability at the end of the day unless there was some over powering reason we couldn't. Now if the contract is written different, that's one thing, but you residents of Pa. are paying tax dollars for every extraneous foot. That's criminal as far as I'm concerned.

bobskoot said...


We also have the contractors closing more than just the road. Recently they closed down a whole lane of traffic for months, to use as a parking area for their cars. The pavement beneath was perfectly usuable but barracaded for their use.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Anonymous said...

In MD there is actually a manual/guide. It depends on the type of road and scope of the project. And also who you are. The guide specifies the length of the taper and spacing of the cones barrels etc, time of day, required signs... all sorts of things. If someone other than the state is doing the work, well of course all rules must be followed to the letter of the law and of course serious fines will be levied. But if you are a state road crew... well then 2 dudes in a truck and 2 cones where every passing motorist must play dodge 'em is all that is required to shut down a lane on I95.