Driver Beware: America's 5 most haunted roads

Halloween: The time of year when ghosts, goblins and all things haunted try to scare the living daylights out of us! Whether you believe in that stuff or not, millions of people do. In celebration of all those trick or treaters, here are five of the spookiest roads in America.

Haynesville Woods (Route 2A)

 

Haynesville Woods

If this road doesn’t look scary enough for you, click here to listen to the song “A Tombstone Every Mile,” by Dick Curless. The song is based on just how dangerous Haynesville Woods is.

The road has claimed several lives, which has led many people into believing it is haunted. Some people claim it’s haunted by a woman begging for help after a car accident involving her and her husband. If you choose to help her, you’re overcome with a deep dark chill and the woman disappears.

 Archer Avenue

 

Archer Avenue
Some call it the most haunted area in all of Chicago. The stretch of Archer Avenue between Resurrection Cemetery and St. James-Sag Church leads drivers through forests, lakes, and multiple cemeteries. There are several horror stories to go along with Archer Avenue, including the well-known Resurrection Mary.

According to the stories, Resurrection Mary hitchhikes her way up and down Archer Avenue, which is the same road she was killed on over 80 years ago.

Mona Lisa Drive

 

Mona Lisa Drive
Legend has it that a rich man once donated a collection of statuary with the stipulation they create one statue to pay tribute to his deceased daughter, Mona. There are several versions of her story, but many believe Mona was in love with a sailer who she walked hand-in-hand with through what is now New Orleans City Park.

Some say Mona’s father forbid his daughter from seeing the sailer, so she killed herself. Others say the sailor didn’t really love her and when he dumped her Mona’s reaction was so violent he killed her.

Whatever happened, Mona now haunts young lovers in the area.

Shades of Death Road

 

Shades of Death Road

Legend claims a group of anti-establishment types hung out in the woods around Shades of Death Road. They would often kill each other and anyone who dare approach their woods. The low-hanging branches are believed to have been used in several lynchings.

There have been several supernatural activities reported near the road, especially at Ghost Lake – a popular area nearby.

Clinton Road

 

Clinton Road
This road is possibly the most horrifying road of all. It has been said to host KKK meetings and Druidic ceremonies. After the roads sharp “Dead Man’s Curve,” drivers will come to the Ghost Boy Bridge.

Legend says anyone who tosses a coin off the bridge and into the water will have it tossed back at them by a boy.

Further up the road drivers will come across the ruins of Cross Castle, which is supposedly a hotbed for Satanic activity.

Ray LaHood: 'We need a big pot of money' to fix America’s roads and bridges

Ray LaHoodContinuing his “America is one big pothole” theme, former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood used an appearance at a Caterpillar press event Wednesday night to lambast the present direction of U.S. transportation policy.

Calling the 2-year transportation bill passed in 2012 “chintzy,” LaHood called upon Congress to think as roads as economic corridors. “I hear people today talking about alternative methods of funding, but what we need is a big pot of money. We need to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon. Do it over two to three years, but index it to the cost of living.” If that index had happened in 1993, the last year the gas tax was raised, America would have the “big pot of money” that LaHood advocates. Even a 10 cent raise is not near enough, “but it would send the message that America’s serious” about its roads and bridges.

Even though politicians don’t want to raise taxes, the states have taken another direction, LaHood says. “In states where they’ve had a referendum to raise the gas tax one or two pennies, 95 percent of the referendums have passed because people know it’s going to roads.” His advice to these politicians: “Don’t be afraid to raise the gas tax, because people won’t be made at you. “

LaHood, who served as DOT secretary from 2009 to 2013, calls the movement to transfer highway funds to state coffers, to be used at their discretion, “a terrible idea. “There is value in having a national program,” he says. “Do we really want 50 states doing their own thing,?” he asked.

He calls the Nov. 4th elections critical. “We need to elect people who want us to be No. 1 in infrastructure development, instead of where we are, at No. 16,” LaHood says. “It’s an important election but there’s a lot of apathy.”

Contractors have a responsibility in this election to let their Congressional representatives know the importance of a 6-year highway bill, LaHood contends. ‘Persuade your Congress people to be bold, and to have vision” with regards to a long-term highway bill.  “Almost every segment of the economy benefits,” he says; “there’s no downside.”

This article was written by Editorial Director, Marcia Gruver Doyle.

VP Biden urges for increase in infrastructure spending

Joe BidenVice President Biden wants to see an increase in infrastructure spending, saying it would spur growth and create jobs.

“Build, build, build, build. … We built the transcontinental railroad,” Biden said at an event hosted by CG/LA Infrastructure. “The first federal road was built from Washington to Ohio … [We] built a thing called the Eerie Canal … ladies and gentlemen, we always have to build. That’s who we are.”

Biden went as far to say it’s “absolutely brain dead” not to be spending money on infrastructure that improves U.S. ports.

“It’s like that old line from the baseball movie ‘Field of Dreams’: ‘If you build it, they will come,” Biden said. “Invest in these ports and guess what? Manufacturing will come.”

The purpose of the event Biden spoke at was to bring together top business leaders in hopes of encouraging investment in the largest 100 infrastructure projects in North America.

“Vice President Biden knows infrastructure and is a great spokesman for our industry,” said CG/LA President and CEO Norman F. Anderson. “He relates well to this crowd and can speak in their language as few can. We are honored that he took time out of his unimaginably busy schedule to join us.”

Biden has always stressed the importance of infrastructure. Back in July he released a video explaining the “Grow America Act.”

Cat’s mini hydraulic excavator compact radius design works well in congested spaces

Cat 303E CR Medium ExcavatorCaterpillar’s 303E CR mini hydraulic excavator is 61 inches wide across the blade and has a compact-radius design that limits tail swing to less than 5 inches (127 mm), allowing it to work efficiently and safely in small spaces and on congested job sites. With a maximum operating weight of 7,782 pounds, the mini excavator expands the Cat mini excavator line and gives buyers more choice in the 2.5-3.5 metric ton size class. The new model’s 23.5-horsepower (17.5 kW) Cat C1.3 engine combines with a powerful load-sensing hydraulic system – delivering flows to 23.1 gpm. The machine is available both in cab and canopy configurations. All operator stations, cab or canopy, are ROPS, TOPS, and Top Guard Level 1 certified, and the Cat interlock system, which prevents hydraulic movement when the safety bar is raised, adds further to operational safety, as do the standard travel alarm, automatic swing brake, and three-inch-wide retractable seatbelt.

A large, adjustable suspension seat keeps operators comfortable, and a monitor that displays gauges and general diagnostics keeps them informed. An automatic two-speed travel system enhances overall machine efficiency and ease of operation, and an automatic engine-idle system conserves fuel and reduces sound levels.

Cat 303E CR MHEX & 289C CTL working on a hillside - C10295836The 303E CR’s hydraulic system uses low-effort, pilot-operated joysticks that provide more precise, more consistent control than mechanical-linkage controls. For operator convenience, auxiliary-hydraulic controls are integrated into the joysticks, making the 303E CR work-tool ready with both a one-way-flow circuit for tools such as hydraulic hammers and a two-way-flow circuit when using work tools with cylinders or bi-directional motors. An in-cab pattern changer allows easily switching controls to suit operator preference.

Steel tracks are available for the 303E CR, as an alternative to the standard rubber tracks, for use in applications that require higher resistance to sharp debris.

The Caterpillar 303E CR at-a-glance

MACHINE SPECIFICATIONS

Engine Cat C1.3
Net power, hp (Kw) 23.5 (17.5)
Weight, canopy, lb. (kg) 7,297 (3 310)
Weight, cab, lb. (kg) 7,782 (3 530)
Hyd. flow, gpm (L/min.) 23.1 (87.6)
Relief pressure, psi (bar) 3,553 (245)
Dig depth, max., in. (mm) 108 (2 750)
Dig height, max., in. (mm) 178 (4 530)

Doosan Telematics allows for remote monitoring

Doosan_Filter_Oil_ReportDoosan Telematics is an upgraded telematics package for its heavy equipment including excavators, wheel loaders and articulated dump trucks and will be standard on all of the company’s equipment, except for DX63-3 and DX85R-3 compact excavators. The new system includes a GPS unit; a Q-Pro wireless data modem and wireless service – the modem sends data collected from sensors on the machine to a website via a cellular signal; a satellite antenna and service that provides a communication link when the Doosan machine is working in remote locations and cellular service is not available; and the CoreTMS website, which provides access to reports and important machine data.

Each new machine that arrived after July 1, 2014 at dealerships for the manufacturer came with a complimentary three-year subscription, including prepaid wireless service. Customers monitoring their equipment remotely from an Internet-enabled device or on the CoreTMS telematics website have access to three years of prepaid wireless service. Once it expires, customers will have the option to purchase a service extension. Doosan has offered a telematics solution since 2008, and customers who have an active telematics subscription can access the CoreTMS website for machine details and reports.

Cement shortage taking its toll on Minnesota projects

cement-406822_640Construction projects in Minnesota are struggling to get done in a timely manner due to a cement shortage. CBS Minnesota reports the shortage is due to flooding from the spring, and some problems at cement plants down south.

“We have a problem right now. We do have a cement shortage,” Jerry Lang, president of the Aggregate and Ready Mix Association of Minnesota, said.

With projects like new Minnesota Vikings football stadium and the St. Croix River bridge currently under construction, Lang says it can be difficult to figure out where the limited amount of cement actually goes.

“And then we deal with these customers. Which customers are going to get the cement and which ones we’re cutting back, and what projects are going to be held up whether it’s a state project, a DOT project, commercial or private residential,” Lang said.

The football stadium and the St. Croix River bridge are currently getting priority shipments of concrete. However, those projects are also facing disruptions and likely delays.

Several contractors and workers in the concrete industry have asked Gov. Mark Dayton for an executive order, which would allow truck drivers to increase their hours on the roads, and haul loads up to 100,000 pounds.

MoDOT chooses GroupCast to stay connected

MoDOTThe Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has chosen to use GroupCast as its mass notification service. The GroupCast system will facilitate communication between 3,500 of MoDOT’s field and administrative personnel.

“We’re thrilled to help the Missouri Department of Transportation stay connected to its employees all over the state,” said GroupCast co-founder Paul Langhorst. “Whether MoDOT staffers need to coordinate salt trucks in the winter or manage construction projects during the summer, we’ll be there to help them communicate.”

MoDOT is currently the seventh-largest highway system in the nation and works with a budget of more than $2 billion. It’s clearly one of the most important agencies in Missouri state government.

The GroupCast notification platform can be used to send voice, text, and e-mail messages to a mass number of people at a moment’s notice.

“With more than 11 years in the mass notification industry, we know that organizations like MoDOT can have a positive impact on people by sending timely messages on important issues,” said GroupCast co-founder Paul Langhorst. “GroupCast will allow MoDOT to communicate in very targeted ways with different groups of employees across the state.”

SCDOT now offering online traffic streaming

SCDOT logoThe South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) now offers online streaming video of traffic as part of its 511 Traveler Information System.

The streaming video from SCDOT’s traffic cameras replaces still images that were updated online every few seconds.

“Streaming video was always a top requested item from the public,” said Director of Traffic Engineering Tony Sheppard. “From day one, when we put any image on the web, people wanted streaming video. They wanted those up to date, live images. Technological advances now provide us a chance to do it.”

The streaming video will also prove useful to first-responders in areas where the lack of fiber optic cables had made it impossible to connect to SCDOT’s streaming video in the past.

“In places where they didn’t have the IT (Information Technology) infrastructure, now these first responders can receive it over the internet,” Sheppard said.

SCDOT has installed 336 cameras along interstates and other major highways. The cameras are linked to the agency’s Traffic Management Centers where employees communicate with first responders, including SCDOT SHEP trucks, to help manage traffic. The cameras do not record video.

In addition to the website, there are free apps available for cell phones and tablets that operate on the iPhone and Android platforms. To download them head over to the 511 website and look under “Extras” and “511 Tools.”

Man survives excavator falling 60 feet from overpass

The jobsite where an excavator operator survived a 60-foot fall inside his excavator. Credit: Calhoun Times.

The jobsite where an excavator operator survived a 60-foot fall inside his excavator. Credit: Calhoun Times.

A machine rollover is one of the scariest things an operator in the construction industry can face. In northwest Georgia recently, an excavator operator has lived to tell about one of the more extreme examples you can think of.

While working on the construction of a new overpass on Highway 136, off exit 320 of Interstate 75 near Calhoun, Georgia, the operator and his machine fell 60 feet from the overpass, according to a report from the Calhoun Times.

It’s unclear exactly what led to the excavator falling over the side of the overpass.

When paramedics arrived at the road work site, they found the operator with his leg pinned beneath the machine, according to the paper’s report. Firefighters were able to pull the man from beneath the machine and he was taken by helicopter to the hospital with injuries to his leg and his head.

Rollovers have killed at least three other operators in the U.S. this year. Roller-compactor rollovers killed an operator in Florida in August and an operator in Maryland earlier this month. An unspecified machine killed another operator in Iowa earlier this month as well.

We’ve put together a set of tips for operators in the event of a rollovers that you can check out here. Though it’s tempting to jump from the cab during a machine rollover, securing yourself inside is key to surviving such an accident and it appears the worker in Calhoun was able to do just that.

This article was written by Wayne Grayson, Online Managing Editor of Equipment World.

How the change by large employers to only offer consumer-driven health plans affects you

shutterstock_222452038The National Business Group on health released a study in mid-August that found that nearly one-third (32 percent) of large employers only plan to offer consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) next year. That’s 10 percent more than in 2014 and almost triple the percent of the employers that offered CHDP-only plans in 2010. The study results were based on a survey of 136 large employers, most of whom have at least 10,000 employees.

A survey released last year by Mercer LLC found that the average cost of coverage through CDHPs was nearly 20 percent less per employee than PPO coverage, a Business Insurance report noted.

This cost factor is important because a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will levy a 40-percent excise tax on health care premiums that exceed $10,200 per person for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage starting in 2018.

Is your employer only going to offer CDHPs next year? If you’re the employer, what type of health plans are you offering and why? I’d love to hear from you on this. Send me a note at tinabarbaccia@randallreilly.com and let me know if it’s O.K. to share what you send me.

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