Monday, July 3, 2006

July 3, 2006 Cone Zones

Consider This for July 3, 2006—Cone Zones

A few weeks ago there were nine of them in Clear Creek County.

There has been one at the Summit County Justice Center and Park Avenue now for a couple of years.

Cone zones.

Every time I write or say those words I think of Dan Akroyd on Saturday Night Live playing the husband in the family of cone heads.

We need to consider traffic cones in a positive light. They prove your tax dollars are hard at work. Your dollars down where the rubber meets the road. Right there where the asphalt meets the concrete.

My House of Representatives district covers all of Summit County, Lake County, and Eagle County, excluding the Basalt, El Jebel area in the Roaring Fork Valley. That is in Representative Kathleen Curry’s district and is about as large as many states.

I have two Transportation Engineer districts in my district. Region 1 headed by Jeff Kullman out of Aurora has everything to the west side of Vail Pass. Region 3 led by Ed Fink out of Grand Junction has everything else, including all of Lake County and even part of Fremont Pass down to Copper Mountain. Both of these men have a huge amount of responsibility keeping track of all the new construction and maintenance on I-70 and hundreds of miles of state highways.

They are the people who decide where the cone zones are located and what happens in those zones. They have some great crews of men and women on those projects along with probably hundreds of private contractors.

It is almost like having to invade Normandy every day. D-Day every day during construction season.

The most distressing thing that can happen is when an employee or worker is injured or killed on the job.

In recent years we have seen the signs indicating that fines are doubled in the construction zones. Double the fines, double the points, double the pain and aggravation.

From what I have seen, I think we should make it four times the penalty.

In Clear Creek County a 40-mile-per-hour limit is in place along the construction area. For some reason, drivers don’t seem to understand. All I see are cars continuing to drive 65 miles an hour until they get behind someone driving 40.

Then they get right on the rear bumper of that car all the way through the cone zone.

I think this is a form of road rage.

I see drivers shaking their fists and giving the one-finger salute to drivers who abide by the law.

It is those times that I wish I was back in a patrol car so I could do something.

I did do one thing. I put the Colorado State Patrol on speed dial on my cell phone. It works great. Call *CSP or *277 on your cell phone and you get the dispatcher right away. Road rage is one of the things they love to deal with. Road rage is not only annoying but deadly.

Eric Mamula was rightly concerned about the intersection of Park Avenue and Airport Road near City Market in Breckenridge. He warned that bicyclists were in jeopardy. I agree with him.

I also think that mankind is in danger.

The other day I saw two cars crash together as they raced to be the first car through the intersection. They both lost. What a mess. I am sure there might have been some road rage involved, but their stupidity ended the rage very quickly.

Think of the orange cones as your friends. Think of them telling you to slow down and not run over a worker or hit another car as our roads are being repaired this summer.

Gas price update: As of last Thursday the cheapest gas in Summit County is at the Sav-O-Mat in Silverthorne at $2.87 a gallon. You can buy a gallon for a penny less at Loaf and Jug in Frisco with a pump price of $2.89 but with your City Market Discount Card or King Soopers Discount Card you can get three cents off making it $2.86. Right now the cheapest gas I can find in Denver is in Golden where the 7-11, Conoco at Highway 58 and Washington are at $2.71. That is 18 cents a gallon cheaper than the average price in Summit County. You can save 10 cents a gallon all the time in Georgetown at $2.79 but the other day both stations were out of gas. I guess the secret is out.

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