Dear Crabby, What’s with all the Construction on our Roads?

Dear Crabby,

What’s will all the construction on our roads in Michigan? I just got back from a trip through Ohio and they don’t have nearly as much construction going on as we have! What can we do about all these construction traffic jams in our state?

Sincerely, Ted Trafficjam

Dear Mr. Trafficjam,

Anyone that has lived in Michigan for any length of time knows that there are four seasons for us all to enjoy: Fall, Winter, Spring, and Orange Barrel Season! As soon as the frost starts to lift, you see those beautiful orange barrels all over our roadways. At one point, I think they were contemplating putting the barrel on our state flag!  I know for a fact that those barrels influenced our state bird; I see that gesture all too often around those construction zones! It seems to me that construction is a whole different animal in Michigan than in other states. As I have traveled through various states, I have also noticed that their roads are quieter and that they do not have the orange barrels lining every highway as we do. I asked a friend of mine one time why that was so. He said it was because we have snow in our state and because the salt trucks used in the winter caused a need for more repairs in the summer. But it seems to me that states like Wisconsin and New York experience about the same amount of snow that we do, but they don’t appear to have the same amount of construction.  Then I started to notice that the trucks used to spread that salt in the winter are the same ones that drop off those orange barrels in the summer! That’s kind of fishy! It seems like good job security to me to have these fellas out there destroying the roads all winter so we can pay them to fix them all summer, doesn’t it? I think it would work out better if we gave them one lump sum of money, like $50 per household per year, and told them to clear the snow in the winter and keep the pavement nice in the summer. Then, if they don’t, we get to toss those orange barrels at them for fun. Ok, maybe that was a little extreme, but we should at least get to make them sit in traffic jams after work when they want to get home! I will say that I am a little more sympathetic with these road worker guys after one of my incidents a few years ago. I was driving back from vacation, and it was really getting late. Mrs. Crabby had already dozed off and I was not far from dreamland either. I suddenly heard this rhythmic thump-thump noise and started looking all around for what was causing it. Then I glanced out my front windshield and noticed that the line of orange cones was now directly in the middle of my vehicle! I swerved back into my lane and looked in my mirror. What a mess! I just kept driving. However, a few seconds later I smelled something horrible and thought I must have damaged my exhaust or something, so I pulled over to the side of the highway. I bent down to examine the underside of my vehicle and saw a line of melted, orange plastic right down the middle of my vehicle that was still dripping. Suddenly, I heard a voice and a man walked up to me asking if I was alright. I quickly got up and said yes. When I asked him who he was and why he was out walking the road in the middle of the night, he said he was from the road commission and mumbled, “Some idiot knocked over two miles of orange cones and I was called in to go set them all back up.” I quickly replied, “Oh my, I guess you’ve got to be careful; you never know who is on the road at this hour.” So, I guess we all have to learn to give a little and overlook the inconveniences from time to time.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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