Rocket Surgery

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has released a report that nobody will find surprising:

It’s not just your brakelight-riddled imagination: Freeway congestion in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul was the worst on record last year, according to a new report from Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The agency’s annual report on freeway congestion said congestion was up from 21.1 percent in 2014 to 23.4 percent last year. That’s the highest number since the agency started collecting data in 1993.

Anybody who lives in the Twin Cities knows that traffic congestion is terrible. But it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to know why congestion is so bad. The blame is entirely on MnDOT. The brilliant men and women at MnDOT thought it would be a jolly good idea to tear up most of the major traffic arteries simultaneously. When you tear up a major traffic artery more traffic is forced onto the remaining arteries. If you tear up all but a few arteries the few remaining ones quickly exceed capacity and nobody can go anywhere quickly.

Not only did MnDOT decide to tear up all of the major arteries but it also seems entirely unconcerned with finishing any of the projects in a timely manner. Highway 100, for example, has been torn up all summer and still isn’t finished.

MnDOT’s report illustrates what everybody living in the Twin Cities already knows: whoever is in charge of planning road construction projects is a sadist who gets off on inflicting pain on motorists.

4 thoughts on “Rocket Surgery”

  1. One thing I give Missouri credit for is contracting out roadwork and preplanning the system so that they can handle 2-3 lane miles of interstate a day when it comes to resurfacing and when it comes to construction and reconstruction they easily handle that in a week depending on if major blasting needs to happen.

    But MoDOT is there mostly for emergency repairs minor maintenance and weather mitigation along with coordination of the contracted work to keep massive closures from happening. Really only when Bridges are involved does it get bad and even then they have permanent foundations that allow them to build a replacement bridge next to the old one so that they can demolish the old and simply drop the new one in place with only a couple of days worth of closure.

  2. This is the first summer where I’ve seen traffic worse on the weekends than on the weekdays because they decided to close multiple freeways in the West metro, forcing everyone onto one route.

    Obviously expanding 494 and getting rid of the last of highway 100’s original bridges were necessary but there is definitely a better way to plan the closings.

    1. Part of the problem is how far behind the United States in general is when it comes to road construction. Other countries can put up bridges, which are better than the ancient relics we build, in very little time because they take advantage of new materials, prefabrication, and better construction equipment.

      Those bridges over Highway 100 shouldn’t take very long to replace. Just fabricate the parts elsewhere, haul them to the site, take out the old bridge, and drop the Lego block bridge parts into place and be done with it.

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