If you’re looking for a career that involves mild sadism on a large scale and has a good benefits package, road construction management is for you. Or so we think.
It’s like they scheduled all these projects at once, right? You can’t get anywhere.
Last summer, one route I took home was detoured for weeks, routing three busy lanes through a less-traveled route that had one lane. You’d get about one car through each light. Dogs give birth to more puppies in an hour than the number of cars that made it through the intersection. Of course all the buses were routed down this road, and, of course, there was a transit station that had even more buses joining the conga line, and since the buses don’t want to hit each other, it was like watching Lutherans tango.
My road-construction column is as perennial as it is predictable. The only way I could be more of a lazy hack would be to say, “Hey, how about those pumpkin spice barrels that block off the lane? Pumpkin Spice! It’s in everything these days. I’ll bet they put it in the sandbags that hold down the detour signs, am I right?”
Look, we all complain about traffic and construction, but keep the following in mind when grousing about it:
No one cares.
As bad as you have had it this year, everyone has had their own bad year, when the delays were so hideous that MnDOT was pulling a skeleton out of a car once a week: “Boney on the off-ramp, send a truck.” You didn’t care because your route was flowing like the Mississippi.
It depends on whose gored ox is stuck behind 45 other gored oxen, trying to merge, in other words.
Every time I have to cross over I-35W I check to see if the freeway’s clogged. If it’s congealed, I think, “Dadgum that consarned Franklin Avenue bridge reconstruction.” I never take that bridge, so why should I be caught in the backup?
It never occurs to me that I’m on a bridge that itself was rebuilt a few years ago, inconveniencing everyone else. It’s like the Crosstown Highway project, which we’ve all forgotten. Remember what it was like merging then? You needed a Tomahawk missile to clear a path. Rebuilding that stretch while keeping it open was like doing bypass surgery on someone playing basketball.
MnDOT needs to be frank and put things in perspective. Something honest, like:
“We understand that people are inconvenienced, but lots of stuff is falling apart at the same time, and these projects ensure the integrity of our infrastructure and meet the needs of the future. Thank you, and we don’t care.”