There are many jokes about the seasons in Wyoming. One variation says that there are two seasons in Wyoming: Winter and road construction.
Well, despite some of the recent snow storms, there is no doubt that we are smack in the middle of the road construction season. Crews wearing orange vests are thicker than mosquitoes, and motorists are already mumbling and grumbling about the inevitable slowdowns and altered routes.
That’s true on city streets, county roads and major highways. And the construction zones will continue to grow until next fall. But if we want smooth, safe roads and a reliable highway system these inconveniences are just part of the price we have to pay.
Every weather-dependent activity is compressed in Wyoming. That’s true for recreation activities, house building, landscaping, sports and, yes, repairing and resurfacing the streets and roads we depend on.
It really is necessary to exercise some patience and understanding when dealing with some of these inconveniences. It is far better to take a few extra minutes to drive across town or somewhat longer for lengthier trips than to put up with potholes, degraded roads or potential highway danger.
Part of that patience needs to manifest itself in the form of courtesy and consideration for the construction workers who are doing the work. The construction zone speed limits are there to protect these men and women as well as those in passing cars and trucks.
Obeying those special speed limits and other regulations is necessary to keep the workers safe on the job. But it also keeps motorists and passengers safe. Not to mention that violating those rules can result in hefty fines or even jail sentences.
Wyoming has very little in the way of a mass transit system, so these roads are absolutely vital to life here. Instead of grumbling about delays, we really should be thankful for every mile of roadway that gets improved during the summer.
It is also important to remember that this is the time of the year when many newcomers or visitors are on our roads and streets. That means we should all be aware that the other driver may not know exactly where to turn or where to look for parking.
That’s another place where consideration and courtesy comes into play. Don’t crowd or honk at a hesitant driver. Be generous about yielding the right of way at an intersection. These visitors are our guests so it helps us all if we are courteous hosts.
And during the potential confusion of changed lanes, detours and unfamiliar traffic patterns we also need to keep an eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists who may be just as confused as the motorists. Let’s help keep each other safe.