Here in Illinois, the joke goes that there are two seasons -- winter, and road construction. (Actually, there's another joke about us being the Land Of The Voting Dead, but that is immaterial to this post right now).
When Obama got the stimulus package passed, one of the things it was supposed to do was spur job growth by starting projects like highway construction and repair. Those of us forced to deal with road construction knew better. The big names have all the state contracts tied up thanks to deals and political backscratching. There'd be no new jobs created in this state, it would just make the fat cats fatter. Sure enough, the only difference is that there are signs proclaiming funding for projects that were planned and readied to start before the stimulus bill now have a sign declaring funding is coming from that.
Side note: so, if the money for these projects is coming from the federal government, that means the state isn't paying for the projects, right? That means the state should be saving a ton of money and shouldn't need to cut educational programs and raise fees and taxes, right? Anyone? Beuller?
They got part way through ripping up major sections of roadway when the road crews went on strike. They wanted a raise. They make $56 an hour. I know, how can they live on that? Gosh, my heart bleeds for them. So projects went on hold as negotiations went on. Supposedly, this weekend, there would be a vote on a new contract.
Today, I'm taking my alternate route when I see signs saying that the ramps to get me on the highway once I'm passed the work zones "will be" (I mean, they actually put will be in quotes on the sign for some unknown reason) closed effective Friday. Which means, I'm either stuck in stop and go traffic on the highway or I'm adding an additional twenty minutes to my drive time. Maybe. One of the overpasses leads to a state park. If the overpass is still open, then I can still stay reasonably close to my path with only ten minutes added. But the locations they are choosing to work on and the roads and ramps they are closing seem intended to cause maximum disruption, no alternative routes anywhere.
The signs saying the ramps will close Friday had me thinking the fix was in, the contract is as good as approved. This morning, the news reported that a deal had been reached and crews agreed to resume work pending approval. A full page news ad this morning declared that work would resume. I'm guessing this proves me right.
There's a great comedian named Steve Geyer. He didn't work blue, mostly did Christian crowds, but he was still funny. One of his bits, he said, "I was driving to work, and I saw a sign that said, 'Slow men working.' They ain't kidding." Sounds like we're getting our four guys standing around holding coffee and talking while the apprectice digs a hole back.