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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Too much attention on slowdowns on area roads

I had to laugh.

Luckily, I wasn’t driving, so I was able to take in the full message of the sign. It was, after all, blinking a message that was nine screens in its entirety.

“Don’t text and drive”

“Be aware of students on roadway”

“Pay attention”

It’s the last part that garnered the laughs.

How does this auto repair business visible from State Route 2 expect me to “pay attention” if they’re flashing a sign at me each time I drive by?

Sure, I suppose I could ignore it, but the lights and movement on the sign are distracting, so they naturally catch your eye as you approach.

It’s not as dangerous if you’re traveling east. All lanes of traffic are open as you venture into Lake County.

But, for those moving westbound, this sign is just about at the start of the warnings for condensed lanes for a repaving project where Route 2 merges with Interstate 90.

So, in reality, the sign telling us to pay attention is actually taking our eyes off the road just when a potentially dangerous merge is being announced.

It’s just another sign of roadway armageddon.

Many here at the paper laugh when I use that term to describe the seemingly never-ending road construction that has plagued our area’s roads for years on end.

Usually about once a summer, I write a column when I finally cry “uncle” because of construction that just keeps popping up.

Here I am, writing this year’s version.

It might be because over the past couple of weeks I’ve spent more time on construction-clogged area roads than normal.

Or, it just might be that the omnipresent orange barrels that signal traffic backups are reproducing at an alarming rate of late.

Everywhere I travel.

The most recent collection popped up this week on Lloyd Road in Wickliffe. The southbound lanes are the first receiving resurfacing, so I have to find another way to get on the highway each day.

Then, when it was time to exit Route 2 over the past couple of weeks, I had to remember to be in the center lane of the Vine Street exit ramp, so my left turn ended in the proper lane, because the left lane was closed due to a construction project I never quite figured out. Until late Wednesday, traffic was diverted so that random rectangles on Vine Street could be replaced every few feet or so.

At the risk of sounding like the kind of conspiracy theorist that I probably actually am, I’d say it was construction for the sake of construction because it’s summer in Ohio.

But, it’s the project on Route 2 that really set me off on this rant.

I looked it up this week, and the widening project on Route 2 began in April 2007.

It’s been five years.

And, they’ve yet to complete the sections that comprised Phase 2.

Well, to be more precise, they’re re-doing them because the concrete cracked not long after they put it down. But, isn’t that just another way of saying “it’s not done yet”?

Because they’re still working on a section that was supposed to be finished about four years ago, I have to admit I don’t have that much confidence the others will be problem-free.

The project now stretches out in to the eastern end of Lake County.

So, if you happen to live in Madison or Perry, and you work in Cleveland, you’re dodging barrels the entire trip.


All I can say is there’s nothing I can do about it, but Route 2 had better be the most beautiful roadway in America when this work is finally done in about 10 years.

Ten years, you ask?

That’s just my estimate. Looking back on stories we wrote in 2007 as the project was starting, Phase One was supposed to be completed before Winter 2007. Phase One involved the area from the Interstate 90 split to Route 91.

Phase Two traveled from Route 91 to Newell Creek, which meets the highway about a third of the way between Route 306 and Route 615.

Phase Three moved from there to Route 44. Phase Four moved from the Grand River to Route 20, which is the highway’s ending point in Perry.

Got it?

If you’re like me, the one thing you’ve got is one big, long, stinkin’ line of orange barrels that have been in place for yeeeeeeeeeeeeears.

Yes, it’s created a lot of jobs. Yes, it’s going to be a nice, wide road when it’s done. But, geez, it’s taking a really long time.

I know. You want me to stop complaining.
I know there are worse problems to deal with in life.

But, this is my once-a-summer rant against road construction. I feel your pain.

Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Yearly.

See you next summer.
Twitter: @Lauranh


Anonymous Alphonse Daigle said...

Same here, Laura! It seems like most roads around our area are also under construction. So I guess “road construction season” is here. Haha! Well, with so much road construction going on, people must gather all their patience and zen energy so that they would able to take the stress of heavy traffic and going into road rage. Or, to avoid traffic completely, plan out all possible alternate routes, to and fro your destination, and have more than one contingency plan ready in case anything goes awry.

September 7, 2012 at 11:35 AM 

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