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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gridlock Recipe

"One Step Backward,
Two Steps Forward" Dept.

Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.

--Winston Churchill

Never in the history of Twin Cities road construction have so many been inconvenienced by so few for so long.

--Ross Kaplan

Take two of the Twin Cities' biggest traffic arteries (Interstate 35W and Crosstown, also known as 62).

Funnel their combined 7 lanes of traffic into . . . one.

At rush hour.

What do you get?

Predictably, (one of) the world's biggest traffic jams.

Flunking "Cost-Benefit"

I conservatively estimate that I -- along with perhaps 50,000 other Minnesotans -- lost at least a half hour this morning navigating the 35W-62 bottleneck about 6 miles south of downtown Minneapolis (OK, I recouped a little of that making cell phone calls).

Multiply that number by 2 (evening rush hour), then by $25 (a guesstimate of what the average commuter's time is worth), and you get $2.5 million. Per day.

That's a helluva a productivity wallop to the Twin Cities economy, especially when you consider the Crosstown Project has been going on for years.

Adding insult to (financial) injury: no more than 100 construction workers -- max -- were visible on the half-mile stretch of construction causing the massive backup.

Ever hear of night construction? Adding workers? (Apparently, some in the construction biz are looking for work now).

Thankfully, the project is apparently now in the home stretch -- and I don't need to traverse South Minneapolis on my (mercifully short) daily commute.

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