Contemplating Michigan construction cones, zones

May 19, 2010

On a lighter note this week, you know its spring when both the trees and the orange barrels start to bud.  Of course, the former is eagerly anticipated while the latter seems to become more and more frustrating and confusing with each passing year.

Even with the recent availability of stimulus dollars, municipalities, counties and the state are fiscally challenged.  You would think, then, that there would be more method to the madness aimed at greater efficiencies.

Travel to states west and northeast and you will see more roadwork at night. Worker overtime is involved, but overall productivity also increases when minimal late-night traffic and delays allow large stretches of roadway to be completely shut down. My office is on Telegraph Road in Bingham Farms in the midst of a construction zone that limits travel for many miles both ways. Why not smaller stretches at a time?

And what is the rationale behind simultaneously closing or limiting traffic along parallel routes? Why not coordinate and consolidate? Focus resources so that they don’t compete but, rather, get completed in a more time-effective manner without throwing a metropolitan area in a state of gridlock. Such methodology might also work to ease some of the financial duress on businesses along throughways embattled by roadwork. High-profile, advance notice can also make a difference. Remember “Dodge the Lodge?” You knew what areas to re-route around and, thankfully, alternatives I-75 and I-96 were not similarly plagued.

Here’s another one for you: Work on Orchard Lake Road in front of West Bloomfield High School is currently wreaking havoc on a zone already known for its bumper to bumper traffic. Isn’t school out in just a few more weeks?  It would seem some of those involved are already “out to lunch.”