An Open Letter To The Truck Operator

Dear Constantly Backing Up Truck Guy,

I hope you are enjoying your Tuesday as much as I am. I’m nursing a cold but still want to enjoy the fresh [sic] air that Cleveland has to offer. It is 64 degrees out there and I’d like my air conditioner to have a little break.

I’ve opened up my sliding glass door to let the cooler air into my place. Now I have one question, with the sound of your reverse warning signal, by the way, I’m hearing loud and clear, shouldn’t you be close to Canada or Columbus by now with all of your reversing?

I can’t see how you are going forward. I can hear the fact you are going in reverse. That must really tick off your co-workers who must be trying to load dirt or debris into your truck bed. Just when they get close enough, you must put your vehicle in reverse again. I know, I can hear you.

Take my advice, put the sucker in park for a couple of minutes, give me a little break from your noise pollution and allow your co-workers to get some stuff done.

By the way, I’m on vacation and you’re not, so there!

By your antics, you must think you’re one funny SOB,

[with credit to Narm for the writing style, sorry about the lack of Lou Bega references, it’s just so tricky, tricky to figure out a way to include one.]

Cleveland Construction

I really am getting fed up with the overnight construction on the Innerbelt. I’ve been late to work each night because I have to go to East 55th Street and double back to E.30th and Euclid.

It’s not fun going through that area at the time I head into work. There are stoplights every block and of course, I obey all of the red lights and don’t simply treat them as suggestions after looking both ways.

The worst part is there’s no rhyme or reason to when the crews are out on the job. If I knew each night then I’d take downtown streets to work.

I’m not saying I don’t feel safe. I see at least one police car on my way to work every night.

The first night, I took East 55th Street and followed the advice of my GPS to what I thought was my place of employment but it wanted to take me W. 30th. After I caught the error, I corrected it even though the GPS argued with me about the address.

The next night, I relied on my own knowledge of downtown Cleveland to get me to work. It still added extra time.

This morning after no construction detours, I saw the orange barrels again but this time I detoured to South Marginal and took a couple of extra minutes off of my delay.

I hope the construction is over soon because it’s causing me all sorts of headaches and frustration.

Construction Chaos Complete

When I lived in Detroit, it quickly became a pain to get back home to northern Ohio to see my family and friends because you’d have to go through Toledo. In 2001, ODOT began construction on what is now called the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway Bridge. It takes traffic over the Maumee River.

The cable-stayed bridge is the largest, most expensive single project in the history of the ODOT. It did not open without tragedy, five workers died during construction. A gantry truss on the main span collapsed in 2004. Four workers died and four others were hurt. That halted main construction for 16 months. Earlier this year, another worker died when platform gave way and he fell from the structure.

During construction, traffic was rerouted through all of the large cement supports. You ended up literally winding through a maze of huge columns. It severely slowed traffic to a crawl. Drivers didn’t have much choice but to take their foot off the gas for their own safety. I dealt with the construction almost every trip home during my three years in Detroit.

Now, I have to say it was worth it. Take a look at the picture at the top of this post. It gives Toledo’s skyline a modern update. It is a little scary crossing it. If you don’t like heights, you will probably want to stick to the inside lanes. On the outside lanes you feel as if you’re floating over the Maumee River. This weekend only four of the six lanes were open and they are still finishing up construction on parts of it.

ODOT’s next big project will be the Innerbelt Project in Cleveland. Ohio has to replace the aging span that crosses the Cuyahoga River. This summer, workers replaced a portion of the bridge because concrete was falling from the bridge. NewsChannel 5 reported on this about the project in January 2007:

ODOT chose what is called a single tower cable stay for the new bridge.The new I-90 west bridge will be built north of the current Innerbelt Bridge, which carries almost 130,000 vehicles each day.The $275 million bridge is scheduled to begin construction in 2010 and is expected to wrap up in 2016.The entire project could end up costing more than $900 million.

We have a couple of years before Cleveland’s skyline gets a similar look as Toledo’s.