ER … I JUST WANTED TO KNOW THE WAY OUT OF HERE
For a day in late March, a telephone number that was supposed to help motorists find a detour around construction work on the nation’s fourth busiest expressway instead greeted them with “Hey there, sexy guy,” and proceeded to give instructions on how to access a sex line. Illinois Department of Transportation workers installed three signs displaying the number March 26 along an 11-mile stretch of the Dan Ryan Expressway that will be rebuilt during the next two years. Workers corrected the number on the signs the afternoon of the same day, after a transportation department employee recognized the error while driving to work.
THE DEFINITION OF A BAD DAY
If your drivers need a reminder to measure the equipment loads they’re hauling, an incident that happened near Hays, Kansas, in February is one of the best you’re likely to find.
An excavator being transported on a flatbed trailer smashed into an Interstate 70 overpass, its long boom catching on the underside of the bridge and then raising as it ripped more than halfway through the elevated roadway. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” says Kevin Zimmer, area engineer for the Kansas Department of Transportation. “The boom just punched a hole through the deck.” Zimmer says minor overpass hits occur from time to time, but they usually take a 1- to 2-foot chunk of concrete out of the bridge and then slide under it.
The Transportation Department plans to bill Garden City, Kansas, firm Lee Construction, the owner of the tractor trailer, for the mishap. Cleanup costs totaled $134,000 and Zimmer says a 45-foot bridge section replacement could cost hundreds of thousands. Eastbound lanes of I-70 through Hays were closed for 11 days, sending drivers on a 9-mile detour. Work on the bridge is scheduled to start this month and Zimmer expects it to reopen in July. The truck driver, Michael Conley, didn’t have the necessary permits to be on the interstate and was supposed to travel on two-lane roads. Unsure of the route he should take when he reached Hays, Conley looked at a map and saw he could use the interstate to get to his destination, Zimmer says. The excavator struck the first overpass he came to, about a mile into his journey on I-70. No one was injured in the collision, although debris damaged a sport utility vehicle that was driving alongside the semi.
Zimmer has this advice for anyone hauling large construction equipment: “Before you get headed down the road, check your actual height and make sure you know your route well.”
WORD FOR WORD
The “finger gesture was not accompanied by any verbal threats, taunting or communication and was never visible to anyone other than the workers.”
– From a federal lawsuit filed by a New Castle, Pennsylvania, man who said his First Amendment rights were violated when he was charged with disorderly conduct for waving an obscene hand signal at a construction crew while frustrated over a traffic delay
“We plan to stay. God will provide. We’ll say a prayer, turn it over to him and he provides. It’ll all work out.”
– Don Cruz, former construction worker and one of the few HGTV Dream Home winners in the contest’s 10-year history not to sell his house, telling the Associated Press how he’ll pay taxes on the 5,000-square-foot structure
“I would have rather seen a kaboom because then your day of mourning is over. Everybody’s mourning now. That’s why you see people here day after day. It just tears at your heart.”
– Construction contractor Mark Stevener telling the Chicago Tribune about the demolition of Busch Stadium, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team