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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

This is sign of wasted money

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Did you know that if you don't buckle your seat belt you could get a ticket? I know, it was news to me too. But that is sure what I learned the other day when I drove back from Benton on Interstate 55.

No, I didn't get pulled over, but instead I read it on a large flashing message board. According to a story in our newspaper, there have been over 50 of these message boards installed across the state. The story also said the message boards only cost $75,000 each for the equipment, installation and other the other goodies that come along with them.

That is awfully expensive to be flashing the phrase, "Click it or ticket, it's the law." This has only been saturated across the state in newspapers, television ads and regular signs along the road for years. If a driver doesn't know it by now then I doubt a big, flashing message board along the highway is going to make it sink in.

According to the story, the digital message boards are going to be used to communicate traffic information like an accident ahead that is delaying traffic. That way motorists can take an alternate route if they choose or at least know the reason they are honking their horn while stuck in wall-to-wall traffic while sitting still for two hours. The message boards can also be used to issue Amber Alert information and other news items as well.

These are all good things in my opinion, but not for the cost. If my math is correct, and let's be honest, there is a good chance it isn't, the cost of 50 digital message boards is $3.75 million. That is a lot of money to just tell you that the road is closed up ahead or to buckle up your seat belt.

The signs are a part of a statewide initiative to improve highway safety. I think that is the same thing they said about those extremely helpful mile markers that you can find every two-tenths of a stinking mile. I'm sorry, but instead of wasting money on these senseless things, I wish MoDOT would just improve Missouri's awful roads.

I have worked at the Standard Democrat for over 10 years and every time I have driven to Charleston on Interstate 60 there is road construction of some sort. Yet the section of road between Sikeston and Charleston is some of the worst highway I have ever driven on. Missouri's roads in general are some of the worst I have seen. If you don't believe me, drive to any of the neighboring states and listen to your car exhale when your Goodyears hit that nice, smooth road.

Instead, Missouri has poor roads that sometimes make you feel like you are driving on a gravel road. Of course, that's nice for dentists that get to fix your teeth after so much chattering and also nice for mechanics who get to fix what the roads do to cars. I guess it's just MoDOT's way of helping the economy, huh?

Oh well, at least we have nice, pretty signs to look at while we bounce up-and-down. And when we rear-end the car in front of us reading the sign, all we have to do is look at the markers two-tenths of a mile apart to let the authorities know where to come save us. Highway safety at its finest.

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David Jenkins
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