Lileks: Be grateful, with all fingers, for orange barrels

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS
  • Star Tribune
  • April 5, 2014 - 4:28 PM

There’s a stretch of road I travel weekly that’s mostly potholes. If you drive faster than 5 miles per hour, your brain feels like a softball in a paint shaker.

A sign went up last month: “This road will be resurfaced.” Usually there’s a date when construction will start, but that’s all it said. Translation: We know, we know, WE KNOW OK

And I appreciated that. That sign gives you hope, which will instantly curdle to fury when they block it off and fix it.

We’re like that: We take good roads for granted and seethe when the barrels go up. Well, clench your teeth: The Minnesota Department of Transportation has revealed its new construction plans for 2014: 75 projects in the Twin Cities, 194 in Greater Minnesota and absolutely nothing in Lesser Minnesota. Here are some highlights:

• Hwy. 100: Bridge removal; drivers advised to floor it, hit the ramp and hope for the best.

• Interstate 94 (between St. Cloud and the North Dakota border): Road will be removed and replaced with something that’s absolutely straight. Single lane for both directions. Expect delays, weeping, fistfights, gunplay.

• Hwy. 23: Putting up some of those “speed monitored by aircraft” signs and painting silhouettes of planes on the road. They haven’t done that since 1967, but man, it works.

• Hwy. 125 (south of Leechburg): Installation of those rumble strips on the shoulder that go “BRRRRRRRRRR” when you drive over them, making you realize you are driving and can’t remember the last 20 miles.

We’re all supposed to HATE road construction, but what if they said they weren’t fixing anything this year? Hoorah! Hey, why? Cue the spokesperson: “Yeah, we’re not fixing squat, and you know why? This guy.” (holds up a picture of a guy in a car) “He threw a Big Gulp at one of our workers when going through a construction area. Yes, it hurt. It hurt double because it was a work zone. Last straw, really. Go on. Enjoy your summer. Sorry about the chunk of concrete that falls off the bridge and lands on your hood, but hey, this guy.” (holds up the picture)

So don’t be that guy. Heck, wave and say “thanks!” when you drive through a work zone.

With all fingers, please.

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