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What the &%#^@???

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

What the &%#^@???

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
May 9, 2008

Construction Sign

This is what a few drivers will be saying on Monday, when they are driving on U.S. 14 between Woodstock and Crystal Lake. And when they find out more about it, they'll be saying it more loudly and more often.

As I drove west out of Crystal Lake this afternoon, I saw a new sign on U.S. 14, just west of IL Route 176, that warns of construction starting on (Monday) May 12 and another that warns of one-lane traffic. I thought of all the potholes on state roads and was glad that McHenry County would get some early attention to our roads. For that I'll put up with some delays and not grumble.

Upon arriving back in Woodstock I called IDOT in Schaumburg for information about the roadwork. OK, are you sitting down? What will IDOT be doing on Monday? Guess....

1. Fixing potholes

2. Installing a rumble strip on the shoulder of U.S. 14 - a project that is designed for U.S. 14 from Crystal Lake to Harvard!

If you guessed (1), go to the rear of the class.

Rumble strips? This is just plain stupid. With Illinois bankrupt and our roads falling into disrepair [how many people do YOU know who have destroyed wheels and tires in potholes? how many wheels on your car have been damaged? (you won't know until the tire is taken off the rim!)], they are going to install rumble strips on U.S. 14 from IL Route 176 to IL Route 23? What in the world is that going to cost???

It will be little consolation to delayed motorists that flaggers will be out there. Roadwork is scheduled from 7:00AM until 3:30PM; at least, they will miss the evening rush-hour. But what about the mornings? How long will delays be? How far will traffic back up?

A sign that construction starts on May 12 is inadequate notice for drivers who will be heading for work or school on Monday morning. No sign urged alternate routes. No sign announced work times. No sign advised to expect lengthy delays. Oh, yes; there is no warning sign between Woodstock and Crystal Lake on eastbound U.S. 14 to warn drivers of the new construction zone, lane closure and delays. Nice, huh? Where do you suppose the sign for eastbound drivers is - Harvard?

My guess is that you will want to avoid U.S. 14 between Crystal Lake and Woodstock for about a month. The project is scheduled in two sections, with the second section to start in mid-June.

If you want to complain to someone, call IDOT headquarters in Schaumburg. The project apparently has something to do with spending Federal funds. You know that theory; right? "Use 'em or lose 'em." Next week I'll call the IDOT Design Department for more information.

If you insist on using U.S. 14, you might just want to allow extra travel time. A LOT of extra travel time.

Be sure to exercise extreme caution in Work Zones. Hitting a Work Zone worker in Illinois is not a good idea. What do those signs (in other places) say about that? Isn't the fine $10,000 and possible prison time?

Post your horror stories here next week.


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