Tripis interruptus

The road goes on forever and the construction never ends

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My brother and I made a roundtrip today to Tyler, Texas. It’s about three hours north of where we live. I made a point of checking the Road Conditions Web site for the Texas Department of Transportation. The site is supposed to have all the delays and closures from construction, floods, fires, pestilence, murder, mayhem and Jesus sightings. Sure enough, the site listed two spots where construction was likely to cause a delay on U.S. 69.

The good news was no road work or delays were taking place at that site. The bad news is construction and waiting for the dreaded “pilot truck” stuck us in traffic both ways for about 10 minutes each way just south of downtown Woodville, Texas.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of experiencing road work hell, which seems to be about every 10 miles in Texas, then you may not know what a pilot truck, or car, is. It is a vehicle that escorts traffic when only one lane of traffic is open. One side of the road doesn’t move and the pilot escorts the other side. Then the pilot turns around and gets to do it again. I’m sure it is a rewarding career for the foreman’s brother-in-law.

I guess it isn’t quite as bad being stuck in traffic when you know the reason why you’re sitting there. But when you see a bunch of equipment and men standing idle at the construction site while your side of the traffic likewise doesn’t move, it can be a source of road rage if you have better things to do. Of course, I’m sure everyone has something better to do than sit in traffic.

So drivers beware. The Internet may not always tell you the truth about where the delays and stops are along the highway paved with good intentions and millions of dollars thanks to the road construction lobby.

And you just might have to stop somewhere and wait for the foreman’s brother-in-law. But don’t worry. He will soon be back to take you down the path he has already traveled about 20 times today. Heck, by the time you get there he might even be good at it.

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