Junior College Would Have Been Cheaper

The Springfield News-Leader has a story about the new dynamic message boards hard-coded into the Springfield traffic scene, and it’s almost critical:

Call it a model for how not to do a public project.

Plagued by delays, complaints and conflict, construction of the city’s Advanced Traffic Management System was an experience many would rather forget.

By the time the $3 million project wrapped up — more than a year after the original deadline — the mess had grown to include charges of biased oversight, a federal prevailing wage investigation and a threatened lawsuit.

Still, all the trouble has served some good, said Public Works Director Phil Broyles.

“It caused us to look at several things,” Broyles said. “There are some lessons learned that, going forward, I think are really going to help us.”

At the cost of $3 million dollars and ongoing annual budget for maintenance, Springfield got a number of signs that mostly offer PSAs, like “Don’t drive drunk,” “Buckle up,” and “Don’t watch these signs–watch the road!” interspersed with information on conditions, like “It’s raining! Drive carefully” or “It’s foggy! You can’t see this!”, and the occasional road hazard warning, like “With our remaining road budget after paying for these signs, we’re fixing a single pothole, but we’re blocking all lanes between here and your home overnight.”

Oh, and some lessons learned.

None of which are related to not splurging on cool things of dubious utility that other cities have so Springfield needs.

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