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GRDadof3

Should the state spend $6.9 Million of stimulus money on highway message signs?

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I drive around town quite a bit for work, and can't believe the sad shape of the roads. I would rate about 10% of Grand Rapids roads and highways in good condition, the rest just plain suck. And I'd say 20% of them are downright un-drivable.

Now there's talk of an additional $150 Million in stimulus funds coming to Michigan, and they're looking at adding 29 more electronic message boards in Kent County at a cost of $6.9 Million. What's that, one sign every mile? I'm not ripping those signs per se, but do we really need 29 more of them? As much as I travel, I rarely see them broadcast anything other than public service announcements. How many roads could be resurfaced for $6.9 Million? How much mass transit could be funded for $6.9 Million (BRT?)

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/ind...ck_up_extr.html

I'm not running this as a poll because they can be annoying to some.

Thoughts?

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Now there's talk of an additional $150 Million in stimulus funds coming to Michigan, and they're looking at adding 29 more electronic message boards in Kent County at a cost of $6.9 Million. What's that, one sign every mile? I'm not ripping those signs per se, but do we really need 29 more of them? As much as I travel, I rarely see them broadcast anything other than public service announcements.

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I know MDOT was planning on broadcasting travel times on these signs starting last summer, but apparently that never happened. What's the hold up? The signs are virtually pointless 95% of the time, and 29 more signs in Kent County sure sound like a waste of money unless they start broadcasting those travel times.

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I know MDOT was planning on broadcasting travel times on these signs starting last summer, but apparently that never happened. What's the hold up? The signs are virtually pointless 95% of the time, and 29 more signs in Kent County sure sound like a waste of money unless they start broadcasting those travel times.

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Even if they do, surely 29 still seems like a LOT. How about 10 or 12?

To me it sounds like "Ohhh, we better get this money and spend it while we have a chance, because we'll never get funding for this again." But, maybe that's just me. I don't drive on the highways too much.

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Lame...I've gotta believe that are a lot more useful and better things to do with this money. Not to mention...how in the world would highway signs be considered an economic stimulus?

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even in cities where those signs display traffic times they are rarely useful. what are you going to do if you don't like what it displays, turn around and go home? sure you could get off the highway but in my experience that rarely pays off. the one exception would be accident avoidance during off peak hours. there are probably hundreds of uses that would be better than these signs.

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Lame...I've gotta believe that are a lot more useful and better things to do with this money. Not to mention...how in the world would highway signs be considered an economic stimulus?

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exactly. The problem we have is that the one highway we do need is not designed yet per the requirements needed. That would be US 31 in ottawa county. Had that been fully designed and just waiting on money we could have been able to get that project done but oh well. I think the only other road project in this neck of the woods would be extending US 131 from portage to south bend but that is not even in mdots master plan. The I-196 project in downtown has been set for a number of years and as a result is hopefully going to get some federal stimulus money to get it finished faster. I have not heard if Granholms proposal got through about widening that to 3 lanes each direction got passed yet.

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The I-196 project in downtown has been set for a number of years and as a result is hopefully going to get some federal stimulus money to get it finished faster. I have not heard if Granholms proposal got through about widening that to 3 lanes each direction got passed yet.

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COOL, well not for her having to put that many hours, but COOL that we hopefully will get that widened to what it needs to be. Of course 131 needs to be at 4 lanes both north and south but frankly I think they need to do something diffrent with the interchanges on 131 north of 28th street.

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COOL, well not for her having to put that many hours, but COOL that we hopefully will get that widened to what it needs to be. Of course 131 needs to be at 4 lanes both north and south but frankly I think they need to do something diffrent with the interchanges on 131 north of 28th street.

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Something isn't being reported correctly. The full build out might be 29, there's 10 already. The thing you need to keep in mind about highway stimulus funds, is the project has to be "shovel ready". That means all the environmental studies are complete, the historic SHPO review is complete, the DEQ permits are in hand, plans and spec about complete. The idea is to get contractors and their suppliers back working quickly. For a sign project it includes the contractor to put them up and the companies that build the signs and the hardware and software systems to operate them.

I personally think these signs are a waste but the Federal Highway Administration has been pushing these systems (and funding them) for some time. This GR project has been in the planning for a number of years and is just about ready to bid - hence it qualifies for stimulus funding.

Many agencies submitted projects for stimulus funding with nothing done, study or plan wise. That wasted a lot of paper and review time :(

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I guess that exposes one of the fatal flaws of the stimulus funding: just because it's "shovel ready" doesn't mean it's worthwhile, or that it will actually create jobs. I would estimate that if you polled Kent County residents, very very few would find value in the display boards, especially if they knew they were $6.9 Million.

Didn't the city of GR have a bunch of shovel ready projects that didn't get stimulus funding?

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Many of the city projects I saw on the list I don't think were close. The intent was to take projects almost ready to bid and get them quickly in the bidding process with "Stimulus funds" not the regular funding. MDOT has had the second phase of this signing project in the preparation phase for a while. Like I said FHWA has been pushing this for years.First in Detroit and then here in GR. I can't stress enough, if your project didn't have all the environmental review, permits etc in hand, there's no way an agency can meet the bidding deadlines. The agency still had to meet all the federal requirements - does not go fast :(

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I've had one situation where signs like these were useful. IIRC, it was on the east side of the state. Traffic was starting to slow ahead of me, and the sign said something like "accident ahead 4 miles." I had an opportunity to exit and take parallel surface roads (it was fairly rural, so not lots of stoplights).

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What a way to spend those simulus dollars! This money should be spent on maintaining the highways which are in need of repair this is a waste of money plan and simple.

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