Monday, August 9, 2010

Traffic Problems

The season of the orange cone is nearing its end, so naturally some major maintenance to Alexis road must commence later rather than earlier. The bottleneck begins at the intersection of Monroe and Alexis in Sylvania, OH and continues past Flanders Road, which is where I took this photo. The warning sign is the typical government understatement, as this isn't a bump so much as a depression capable of ripping out the transfer case, steering assembly and both differentials of any four wheel drive pickup modified for off road travel.

Precipice Ahead
For those not familiar with Alexis road, it is a heavily traveled four lane highway close to the Michigan State line and running East and West. Its proximity to Michigan and intersection with US 23 attracts an inordinate number of maniacs. The construction has closed the outside lanes in both directions.

I've always liked heavy equipment. Pictures of old steam shovels fascinate me, and I'd give a good deal to see one of those old behemoths in action. It seems I must be content to watch this device, which appears to scrape the blacktop off the road, crunch it up and send it into a large dump truck. I presume the device has an official name, but I don't know what it's called. I've named it the road excavator. 

Road Excavator

Road Excavator

Road Excavator
This is the intersection of Whiteford and Alexis, just West of Flanders road. Note the Westbound traffic backed up from Hell to breakfast.

Traffic Snarl
You can just make out a flagman (flag person) in the middle of the intersection. With everyone backed up into one lane and rush hour just getting started, it follows that the flag person will halt traffic completely so as to allow this dump truck to slowly turn around in the middle of the intersection.

Dump Truck Turning Around
If the tempers of the drivers weren't frayed before, they are now. The excavator requires a constant supply of empty dump trucks, thus ensuring that as many drivers as possible are allowed to stare at a green light while their path is blocked by the enormous dump truck carefully backing and filing. Full trucks don't turn around, but just force their way into traffic and drive off down the road. I have no idea where they take the debris - they probably just dump it into Ten Mile Creek where it can pollute the river and poison the groundwater.

The excavator is followed by several tractors equipped with various construction pieces. A giant steel brush cleans extraneous debris from the concrete road bed. Larger pieces of debris are picked up with a front end loader and dropped on the sidewalk. The goal of the workers employed here is not to keep pace with the excavator, but instead to hurry along and run up on the excavator, thus running out of road and 'work' to do. The workers then take a ten or fifteen minute break and lounge around so that the tax paying motorists who have to deal with the traffic congestion can get a good view of them 'working'.

Idle Equipment

Illegally Parked
This photo was taken at the intersection of Flanders and Alexis. This genius has parked his tractor-trailer rig on a hill, on the wrong side of the street. Although I didn't look, I doubt he's remembered to block the wheels.

My hard spot with this clown is that he's parked on a hill so that other drivers have to swing out into oncoming traffic to pass him, but can't see the five ton surprise that is headed their way at a beer fueled 90 mph. Where are Sylvania's Finest when you need them?


Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


"I have no idea where they take the debris - they probably just dump it into Ten Mile Creek where it can pollute the river and poison the groundwater."

If the material being removed is asphalt, the material is taken to an asphalt plant where it is mixed with fresh asphaltic liquid so that it can be reused again as new.

In essence it becomes recycled asphalt and probably went right back to the job site from which it came for immediate reuse.

Now, if it was concrete being removed, I haven't a clue, but if the pieces were of the right size, with the addition of some fresh cement I'd bet that it could probably be similarly recycled too.


Mad Jack said...

Thanks, Hooda. I am now enlightened!