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Old 08-29-2012, 10:05 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
10,000 miles and you expectes smooth roads all the way....

When I worked for the state (Police dispatcher) we would get callers "I'm going to Chicago in the morning, is there any construciton on I-94?"

Now I-94 in MICHIGAN is, from the approximate center of Detroit, 215 miles to the Indiana state line, you have at least another hour's drive, let's round it to 300 miles one way.

In that distance.... You are GOING to have construction, Now I will tell you why.

IF you took two Highway construction crews, put one at the Indiana line and one at the Blue Water Bridge, and had them work toward each other, Long about Jackson they could jump the wall and work back to their starting points (goign the other way) They would NEVER be out of work, Because by the time they got back to the end of the road, it would be time to start over again

Roads, like tires, wear out, they need to be replaced every so often. Thus a short road, perhaps 10 miles, That can be finished, but if you have a road that is more than a couple hundred miles long there is GOING to be construction
If this is the worst the roads have been (and it is!) then I would have to respectfully disagree with your explanation that there are too many roads for the available crews. And, given the unemployment numbers as well as the "stimulus" money spent (being spent)... the roads should be better than they've ever been.

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Old 08-29-2012, 10:10 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Clifftall View Post
How does all this explain why I almost always see the crews standing around scratching their heads. No matter where we travel , it seems like 10 miles of orange cones are put up ( usually a foot in my lane ) and very little is being done. Honestly , I don't know how they ever get done especially in places that have winter.

Good question. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. I know as a contractor, our people that stand around scratching their heads are either for traffic control or something to do with traffic control. I was traveling from San Antonio to Austin within the last 2 years and there was a complete shutdown of I-35 northbound lanes and detour to the service road due to an accident. When I finally got to the accident site, there were 5-8 Hwy Dept crews standing there, scratching their heads, maybe 2 or 3 guys were actually working on the cleanup. Of course, there was work being done, they were waiting on the sweepers to finish. Exasperating!

As to the endless miles of orange cones, the contractor is required by the plans and specifications to phase the project with different traffic control plans or TCP as progress continues, the TCP changes or moves around. The cones are usually for the safety of the traveling public as contractor, subcontractors, and of course, state personnel are or could be at some time moving people, material, equipment etc from one end of the project to another. Could also be truck hauling, or material in, material out, etc. access to the area of the project being worked on at that phase. I've seen it too, miles and miles of nothing but cones and nobody in site, but that's the only reason I know of it is done that way. I am sure there are other reasons, there is a Hwy Supt. posted on this thread, he would also know more reasons .

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Old 08-29-2012, 10:13 AM   #31
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There's really no such thing as a "finished" road- they start wearing out the minute they're opened to traffic.

The roads would be beautiful if only folks would stop driving on them.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:15 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Lincolnboy2 View Post
My Company is a heavy highway/bridge prime contractor. We have been in business going on 47 years now. We do work on bridge overpass, marine bridge overpass construction, Corps of Engineers, civil projects like pump stations, etc. in the 10 - 70 million dollar range. Our competitors are big companies like Zachry, Austin Bridge, Granite, etc.

Highway/bridge construction has to be done in phases in order to minimize traffic disruptions, lane changes, lane closures, etc. If a highway or bridge contractor could completely shut down the road being worked on, work on it non stop, have no differing site conditions, no E&O delays, no weather delays, no labor delays, no equipment delays, no material delays, most projects could be completed in months instead of years.

Big projects around here like the I-35 north of Ft. Worth and the 635 double decker projects (200-500 million) are let out in bulk to design/build/operate firms that do just that, design it, build it, then run it (tolls) for the next 20 years. The problem with these is companies that have the ability to bid/bond/build these type projects have been bought out by foreign companies that are subsidized by their individual governments. I know at least 1 big company here in the DFW area that was bought out by a Spanish holding company several years ago just for this reason....they can bid/bond/acquire these huge contracts with the financial backing of foreign governments quite well. Sad, huh?

Some facts:

One-third of America's major roads are in poor condition.

Nearly a third of all highway fatalities are due to substandard road conditions, obsolete road designs, or roadside hazards.

Over 4,095 dams are "unsafe" and have deficiencies that leave them more susceptible to failure, especially during large flood events or earthquakes.

More than 25 percent of America's nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.

More than a third of all dam failures or near failures since 1874 have happened in just the last decade.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to spend approximately $2.2 trillion on infrastructure repairs and upgrades just to bring our existing infrastructure up to "good condition".

Scary huh?

So... to fix EVERYTHING would have cost less than half of the debt that has been run up in the last 3.75 years? Makes me wonder where all the money went. THAT is scary.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:07 AM   #33
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We have an ongoing project where we live (101 in CA). They came in and cut down all of the trees and then nothing for 6 months. It seems like the entire project has gone that way, a big burst of activity and then nothing for months. This 2 mile project is now is now entering its 4 year. It is supposed to be completed by years end.
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:38 PM   #34
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One of the huge expenses touted as necessary in the last twenty or so years have been the environmental issues being made up by fanciful people. A highway construction project in BC (population 4 million more or less) has had literally hundreds of millions added to it by groups demanding that we protect some endangered species or the other from the terrible new highway.

Several million on a bridge to allow toads to cross undisturbed, another several million on a huge bridge over a two foot wide creek that is supposed to be Salmon bearing. Miles of fences that don't keep the deer from being killed as was the plan in the first place.

These same environmentalists fight and protest every highway improvement to the point where a lot of planned improvements are allowed to drop off the radar and the ones the various levels of governments do push through have huge costs added to them for mostly whimsical issues.

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