There have been some warm days this week. That always brings out the motorcycles, and speeds up the streets. The weather also seems to make our commutes more challenging. Is it the heat that makes drivers more aggression? Maybe everyone just wants to get home and cool off in his or her air-conditioned home.
Rant # 1: Several weeks back we mentioned the need for paint to be applied to a roadway in Dyer. That got Bill of Schererville to write: “One of the busiest intersections in Lake County at US [Hwy] 41 and US [Hwy] 30 was resurfaced about seven or eight years ago.
Within a year all of the traffic lines marking the turn lanes wore off. The painting contractor sure saved lot of money by using the cheapest paint he could find. Makes you wonder where the state inspector was.
“If you are southbound on US [Hwy] 41 and want to turn east on US [Hwy] 30 you must cross five lanes of traffic before you can turn east. Too many cars cut kitty-corner and when they make the final turn east have to slowdown to almost 5 miles an hour or swing over into the other lane of traffic. If I try to stay in my lane, I am either overrunning the cars in the left lane or cutting off the cars in the right lane because they have no idea where the he** their lane is.
“I have talked to the city officials of Schererville and they all tell me there's nothing they can do, that's the states highway. I even went as far as to drive out to La Porte and talk to the head of the INDOT district. He said we couldn’t paint new stripes until the highway is sealed. So in seven years they haven't gotten around to sealing it?
“For three years in a row, I called the state senator who represented this district at that time. She told me she would look into it and try and get something done. Nothing happened! She no longer represents this district.
“This spring Indiana Department of Transportation sealed the intersection. It is now fall; cold weather is coming on and guess what, no new striping. It is a ridiculous free-for-all out there and no one seems to give a damn.”
I posed the problem to Matt at INDOT and got this response: “Our paint crews work to replace 5,000 lane miles of lines every year in our district, and the weather in Northwest Indiana can make for a small window for a job that size. The lines at the intersection of US Hwy 41 and US Hwy 30 are on our crew's schedule to be repainted.” Perfect, thanks for the response Matt, but when? Is it going to happen this year? This decade? This century? After 5000 miles? This is by far the busiest intersection in NWI. So can this particular half-mile be raised on the list of to-do’s? Maybe the “window” would widen if we painted it at night when there is less traffic. There I go again, making sense. I’ll stop. We’ll keep you posted.
Rant # 2: Nancy wrote, “There are 8 light poles, 6 bulbs on a pole from the Ridge Road entrance ramp onto northbound I-65, 1 pole alongside I-65N, 1 pole coming alongside where I-65 goes to Interstate 80-94 westbound, 1 pole at that curve, 1 pole that goes up onto I-65N, 1 pole across I-65 southbound, another pole going north, shortly past a curved bridge with 2 street-type lights on the right side. All of these listed have been out since last winter! There are also 2 poles at the 15th Ave. exit that are out. In February, my husband stopped at the highway department to report this. He was told that La Porte takes care this. Nothing happened. I stopped in the end of March and reported it again. We come through there all the time, and nothing has been done.”
I passed this on to Matt and got this response: “The highway lights mentioned in your reader's email are still out due to a constant battle we are fighting with thieves. Your reader mentions speaking to an INDOT employee and being told that the lights were due to be fixed. That was indeed the case, but when crews arrived they found the lighting wires had been ripped out and stolen by scrappers. Now those lights must undergo extensive rewiring to be functional again. This is extremely expensive and a much more extensive project, which is why the relighting has been delayed.
“INDOT is working with state police to stop these thieves, but it is a growing problem. Despite the mortal danger than comes with stealing these wires, people continue to find ways to do it. We're increasing patrols and adding security to the lighting areas, but it continues to happen. As a result, some lights are taking much longer to get switched back on. We encourage your readers to call police if they see anything suspicious around the highway lighting.”
Hey Ranters, We can help with this. We all have cell phones and can call 9-1-1 when we see people stealing the wire out of the street poles. The thieves are putting everyone in danger, and risking their own lives, to gain a few bucks. The recycling industry has got to start asking questions as to the origin of the products they buy. When these facilities see someone come in with a man-hole cover, It might be good to see if that person had the authority to recycle it.
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It’s Audience Participation Time...Have a Dimwit Driver alert? Is there an intersection that gets you angry? What tune drives you? Send it to: RoadRants@nwi.com. You can also call the RANT LINE at 219-933-1010. Leave your message. Include all the details. We will work it into the paper. We are also on Facebook, NWI Road Rants. Until next time, be safe. No one else is.