Alaska editorial: A call for patience during highway construction season

Posted: Monday, June 05, 2006

This editorial appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

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By this time of year, drivers are tiring of having their behinds and their belongings tossed around from one frost heave to another, from one pothole to the next, and from this rut to that one.

And that can only mean that Alaska is staring right square at one of its bemoaned and beloved seasons: highway construction season. People hate it because of the delays the extensive repairs and upgrades can cause, yet they love it - probably secretly - because the end result of the work is a smoother and faster ride.

Getting through this sometimes-long season requires patience. Repairs don't come overnight. And they don't come all at once, either; it's possible that for some people the summer could be filled with a variety of encounters with road crews, heavy equipment, rocks, gravel and people holding the ubiquitous "Stop" signs.

Patience is the word.

Having patience means cutting the workers and the sign-holders some slack. It means not mouthing off to them while they hold you up in line so that work can proceed, and it means obeying the traffic rules that might be in place for the particular construction zone you are in.

There's no way around it - no detour, if you will - because Alaska is in constant need of road repairs and upgrades.

Notice the ever-present double fines in those projects? They're there because officials put a premium on getting people to drive responsibly in construction zones. They do that because they want to reduce the likelihood that highway construction workers will be injured or killed on the job.

So have some patience and, like the saying goes, "Give 'em a brake."

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