Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stevie Joe and Road Construction

Now, putting one's life back together takes some work. And sometimes, that work requires a bit of automotive travel. So, the big blue wagon and I have been tearing up the local highways and byways of late. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.

You might remember those folks back in Washington DC talking up various stimulus packages when we were smack dab in the heart of this most recent recession. The idea was to put folks back to work by borrowing some dough from the Chinese and having the government spend it. Much of that spending went to improve our transportation infrastructure. There is no doubt that our transportation infrastructure is in some dire need of repair and upgrade. Sounds simple, right?

Here's where the problem comes in. Politicians know that most folks have short memories so they wanted to spend money right away. Unfortunately, upgrading our mass transit, freight rail, airports, and crumbling bridges requires engineering, and engineering takes time. Sure, you can spend money on engineering, but that's not visible to folks until you have a completed project.

So, they decided to limit spending on projects that already had completed engineering work and projects that required minimal engineering. Number one project requiring little to no engineering? Resurfacing existing roads.

Hence, my problem. The Feds doled out lots of cash to the states to resurface roads. The states, not wanting to appear ungrateful, set about resurfacing as many roads as possible whether they needed to be resurfaced or not. So, all about the Greater Junebug Holler Metro Area, roads are all torn up. Perfectly good roads. Roads that didn't have so much as a single pothole or frost heave. There are also lots of giant, orange signs reminding folks who is paying for all this.

You would think that if a road is under construction, hence a delay is to be expected, one might take another route, a detour. Unfortunately, all the alternate routes are also being similarly resurfaced. So, there ain't no way out of the Holler for ol' Stevie Joe. I'll just have to sit back and down some beers with Junior. Nothing else I can do.

I'm thinking about writing a letter to those folks in the state DOT. Perhaps, they need some reminding that the "T" in their name stands for "transportation" and there ain't much of that going on right now.

There's Stevie Joe, he's movin' kinda slow at the Holler, Junebug Holler,
Stevie Joe Parker

p.s. You know those "flaggers" who hold the "Stop" and "Slow" signs whenever there is a lane closure? I'm sure you already know that due to the enormous physical toll on those poor workers these signs now have a rotating base. The flagger need only turn it from one side to the other every few minutes while the base holds up the sign for them.

Well, apparently even with such a modern marvel, too many flaggers were struck down in their prime with "flagger's elbow." So, they've got a new device. I swear to JC this is true. The signs are now motorized. So, the flagger can now sit back and simply push a button on a remote control while the sign spins itself. Of course, you and I both know that sooner or later, all that button pushing is going to give someone a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome. You read it here first.

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