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Look out for the yellow barrel

July 23, 2010 - Art Smith

Driving in the region has proven to be a bit of a challenge. There are construction cones everywhere.

The passage of the economic stimulus bill in 2009 means that road construction projects are taking places everywhere. Some were planned years ago, some, it would appear were added at the last minute.

Ohio, for instance, has closed nearly all rest stops along Interstates 77 and 70 as they work to rehab them all at the same time. For the traveling public it means waiting for the next state or searching out a rest room in the nearest McDonalds.

Westbound traffic on I70 has had to deal with the tunnel at Wheeling being closed for what seems like years now. Right now they have to also contend with the repaving of the I70 bypass, reducing what had been four traffic lanes through the congested area, to just one lane. After taking several different routes through central Pennsylvania in the past few weeks I think they should change the state slogan from the State of Independence to the State of Construction.

At the local level there is paving going on and sidewalks being rebuilt all over the place. It prompted one local official to note they are getting seven years worth of paving done in just one summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I like driving on smooth, well built-roads, I just don’t care for driving on them when they are only half done.

Before you travel, you can always check with state road department websites, most, including Ohio, offer maps detailing where construction is taking place.

This summer, of course, it may be hard to plot any trip that does not pass a yellow cone or two.


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