Report from I-35 in Southern Oklahoma

Kim is driving and I am working in the passenger seat. We are on our way to Dallas as part of the book tour for Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.

We are in something like our 6th ‘work zone’ along I-35. I put work zone is scare quotes because these people in these zones are hardly working. I snapped a few photos..

Lots of equipment, no one using it.

Miles and miles of torn up pavement, practically no one working, plus the hazard of one lane traffic and slow travel.

This very typical, bare dirt…no one working.

I will be the very first to acknowledge that I know nothing about road construction, but because of the book tour, I have covered over 5,000 miles since May by car. Whether its Iowa or Oklahoma, we frequently encounter ten or twelve miles of an interstate constricted to two lanes with no one working on the other side.

[We are now at Exit 42 and are entering the seventh construction zone! Not a single person visibly working in the construction zone.]

The 236-mile Kansas Turnpike was constructed in 22 months from 1954 to 1956. That is more than ten miles per month. Presumably, we have better tools today. Why in the world does it take (literally) two years replace a single bridge (I-70 near Lawrence) or 18 months to rework ten miles of roadway? Does this strike anyone else as odd?

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