3. Tennessee 3. New York and California (tie)
The best and the worst road segments as ranked in Overdrive:
BEST HIGHWAY SEGMENT WORST HIGHWAY SEGMENT
1. I-40 Tennessee 1. I-10 Louisiana
2. I-75 Florida 2. I-95 New York
3. I-10 Florida 3. I-40 Arkansas
Ontario bans hand helds, with exceptions. Over.
When one of North America’s largest jurisdictions banned hand-held use of cell phones and two-way radios by drivers, the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) kicked into advocacy high gear for highway workers.
“OGRA was triumphant in getting accommodation extended to municipal employees under Bill 118, an Act to Amend The Highway Traffic Act. This Act, which became law on Oct. 26,2009, made it illegal for motorists to use hand-held wireless communications devices or any hand-held electronic entertainment device while driving,” noted the February-released 2009 Annual Report of the OGRA, which represents 433 municipalities and 24 First Nations across a Canadian province larger in area than France and Spain combined. “Municipal employees were granted a three-year exemption to this law.”
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation approved an exemption, through Jan. 1, 2013, for both drivers of certified commercial vehicles and for drivers employed by or under contract to a “road authority” such as a municipality. To qualify for the first exemption to hold the microphone of a two-way radio while driving, a person must be operating the vehicle within the Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) system and be carrying a CVOR certificate. To fit the latter group, the driver may likewise hold the microphone when they are engaged in road patrol, repair, maintenance or construction activities.
For commercial and maintenance drivers who do not qualify for either of the exemptions, the new law does permit a driver to push and hold the button on a two-way radio to talk and release to listen, as often as necessary to conduct a conversation.
Highway, transit purchasing power eroding
Spending by all levels of government on the nation’s highways and transit lines has increased substantially in recent years, but steep increases in construction costs have eroded the purchasing power of this investment, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which recently released its report documenting the conditions and performance of the nation’s transportation system.
The report, started in 2007 and released this month, was prepared using 2006 data to satisfy requirements for updates to Congress on the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure and future capital investment needs. (Given the size, complexity, and importance of the report, it has traditionally undergone an extensive review process prior to its release.)
Findings of the document, 2008 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance, focus on changes in various indicators since 1997. That timeframe spans the TEA-21 authorization law era in its entirety — which was in effect between 1998 and 2003 — and the early period of SAFETEA-LU, which was signed into law in 2005, expired Sept. 30 2009, and has been temporarily extended as a new bill is being considered
“In nominal dollar terms, combined investment by all levels of government in highway and bridge infrastructure has increased sharply since TEA-21 was enacted,” according to the report. Those expenditures jumped 58 percent between 1997 and 2006.
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