I had to spend a few minutes thinking what inspired me to think of writing today. I knew it was something I felt was important enough to write about, but I just couldn't retrieve the thought - until just now.
We were retrofitting some bridge rail on a small bridge on a city street. The old rail - which was probably placed in the 40's - was inadequate according to the newest standards.
Anyway, we closed the road at both ends, since the amount of room to work was more than one lane would allow. To accomplish this task, we placed a type three barricade (two legs, three horizontal panels, with reflective tape) with a sign that stated: "Road Closed" at locations which allowed the traffic plenty of time to make the right decision and take another route.
I'll need to digress a little at this point. Yesterday, when the job started, we did the same thing. We had the usual drivers that were a little inconvenienced, but what really caught my attention were the eighteen wheeled trucks and trailers with full loads trying to use the road. Since the bridge is load restricted to weights far below the allowable limits for large trucks, and there are signs stating this fact, I wondered about the truck drivers. Don't they know it's dangerous? How about the huge fines they could face? If they're illiterate, how can they read their gauges and know they're out of fuel?
Today, after about an hour of work, my ears caught the sound of approaching traffic. At the time, we had a one ton truck, a loaded 25 foot gooseneck trailer and a boat load of equipment in the middle of the road. Beside the huge obstruction, the truck had a high intensity visi-bar on the roof, which can be seen for miles.
I looked up to find four cars approaching the job site. I just stood up, held out my arms and said: "What?"
The first car had driven around the barricades and the other three followed like ducks behind their mother. They had no place to go, except back the way they came. So, they did.
As they pulled up, backed, pulled up, backed, pulled up, backed and finally arrived in the right direction to go the way they came, I noticed they cheerfully smiled, waved and mouthed words of apology...not really. They weren't happy, although I really didn't care. In fact, I felt moments of extreme happiness as I watched them realize their foolishness, showed their anger (even well dressed people, in nice cars, have a salty vocabulary) because I had the audacity to make their road safer, and hoped they were late because they were so arrogant to think I put up barricades to intentionally ruin their day.
There's a lesson to be learned here, but I doubt seriously those drivers have enough mental clarity to understand. They're too important...at least they think they are.