05-14-2013   Leave a comment

Spring has finally sprung here in Maine.  That cold nip that’s been in the air for the last few weeks seems to be disappearing and sitting on my deck actually feels warm instead of just in the sunny spots.

Something else is an excellent predictor of warm weather and that’s road construction.  We’re just a week away from the beginning of the tourist season which under normal conditions is a huge pain in the butt.  Add the influx of tourist to the unbelievable amount of road construction and what do you get? You get madness.

I spent a portion of my day yesterday riding around the area,  running errands, and just enjoying the sunshine.  I saw a few things I found more than a little disturbing.  I once lived in the Boston area and there we were required to suffer through traffic jams which are a way of life.  I spent more than seventeen years sitting on Rte. 128 in gigantic traffic jams and logged more time sitting on that highway than I did in my office. It was one of the many reasons I felt a move to Maine was a good idea.

Maine is a very large state with a reasonably small population and under normal circumstances we have a difficult time even finding a traffic jam.  Unfortunately that appears to be changing this year.  I spent more time than I’d like sitting in construction traffic yesterday and I swear I must have seen at least sixty percent of the state’s population.  They were all jammed into one of the main intersections in Scarborough, Maine which has been under construction for at least two months.

It takes a real genius to begin a large road construction project just prior to tourist season at one of the busiest intersections in the area without being absolutely certain it will be completed before the tourists arrive.  It’s not the town officials that are to blame but the idiots from the state government in Augusta.  They bitch and complain about the poor economy and then do their level best to screw things up.

The perfect example to make my point was this scene.  You have two large intersections within a couple of hundred yards of each other.  There are no less than fourteen lanes of traffic merging into and out of this area which unfortunately is the direct driving route to the beaches and the marsh areas where tourist love to visit.  Every lane except for two was closed.

I sat and watched some poor schmuck standing in a shallow hole spreading asphalt with a wooden paddle.  He was sweating his butt off as he pushed and pulled the material around to get it level.  Standing right next to him were four supervisors in their pretty white hard hats, reading their clip boards, and watching the poor guy working. Making a rough estimate I would calculate that more than $100.00 an hour was being spent to supervise one guy making $20.00 an hour.  I really appreciated that the entire group of supervisors were proud enough to wear their official State of Maine, Department of Transportation  jackets.  It’s the perfect way to advertise to "We the People" where our hard earned tax money is being spent.

Shortly after Memorial Day that intersection will be an even bigger nightmare.  I’m certain that all of our Canadian visitors will really appreciate spending a good portion of their vacation time sitting in the heat at that intersection.  You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced a road rage incident where someone is screaming obscenities at you in French.  At least I won’t understand what the hell their saying.

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