October 12, 2022
We used to warn our children to “be careful what you wish for, you might get it.” Recently I blogged in favor of jump starting the economy with access to the highway trust fund; on a drive through Indiana this week I got a chance to see that plan in action. Only a few stretches of the interstate were completely open to traffic; long construction zones dominated the landscape from just south of I-80 to my destination south of Indianapolis. It wasn’t the worst trip and the sections that were completed were a real smooth ride. Compared to previous paving projects I suffered through in the past it appears to be efficiently organized. Modern practices include much more recycling of the ground up tarmac, which reduces the number of slow moving trucks getting into and out of the traffic stream. What could be handled better, in my opinion, are the reduced speed work zones. When actual workers are present everything that can be done to ensure their safety must be done. Flashing lights, photo enforcement, flaggers, and even rumple strips are a small price to pay for safe workers. Instead the route had lots of different work zone speed limits, some with those radar boards to tell you your speed, and no clear way of telling if work was actually going on. Requiring cars and trucks to go 45 for no apparent reason discourages compliance when it really is required. I did not see any tickets being written but got passed many times by vehicles far exceeding the posted construction zone speed limits. Still, it is great that the good citizens of Indiana will shortly have a nice smooth I-65 to travel on. The next time it needs work we will all be in our self-driving passenger pods and big brother will be able to automatically enforce whatever speed limits are in effect.