31 JAN 06: MESSY MONDAY
First a logjam on Manchester Expressway in the morning, then a big wreck on Interstate 185 in the afternoon - OK, who invited all the Atlanta drivers to come down to Columbus Monday for a convention?
Some Columbus drivers may have felt like they were in a big city Monday. It began during morning rush hour, when the traffic lights went out at Armour Road and Manchester Expressway. Add some morning fog, and this tricky intersection might as well have been in the middle of Rome - only with SUV's instead of midget cars.
The traffic lights went out at Armour Road and Manchester Expressway when a school bus went out of control, and hit a transformer at Willy's Wings. If you want your wings hot, this is NOT the way to accomplish it....
At least all the other drivers were careful on Manchester Expressway -- but I'm told the mess backed up westbound traffic to Peachtree Mall. And to make matters worse, none of the drivers knew the exact time when the mall's coffee shop opened.
The Columbus city traffic engineering department turned into traffic reporters -- urging drivers to use Gentian Boulevard or Warm Springs Road as alternate routes. Why did Clear Channel Radio drop its traffic updates, anyway? Was Kohl's tired of advertising in a city where it doesn't have a store yet?
The intersection of Armour Road and Manchester Expressway finally was cleared for traffic around 10:30 a.m. The school bus driver had no passengers, and received only minor injuries. And when countless other Columbus drivers reached work, they wrote down a "Plan B and C."
Then came mid-afternoon - and a hailstorm hit parts of Columbus. A friend of mine says she wondered to herself, "Why is the rain so noisy?" The answer - it was a lot more solid.
Not long after pea-sized hail fell, a chain-reaction wreck developed on Interstate 185 near Manchester Expressway. Six separate collisions occurred involving 11 cars - prompting some guys to say, "Woo-hoo! Only 20 more days until the Daytona 500!"
The good news is that traffic improvements are on the way this year, in parts of Columbus. The bad news is that none of it will occur in the areas of Monday's big wrecks -- so find another route, before the insurance companies find out and raise your rates.
Interstate 185 will undergo a widening this year - but in the area between St. Mary's Road and Victory Drive. Those Hummer drivers heading to and from Fort Benning need every extra foot they can get....
When the widening process on I-185 ends in a few years, a curve between Victory Drive and St. Mary's Road will be straightened -- the one with a sign claiming if lights flash overhead, you're going too fast. I've NEVER seen these lights turned off! So maybe the city knows how Columbus residents really drive....
Another widening project planned for this year will turn Warm Springs Road from two lanes to four, between Hilton Avenue and the Doctors Hospital area. This will mean a wider road past Buck Ice - so you could wind up with ice that's been touched by human car exhaust.
If you asked me what part of Columbus is most in need of widening, I'd propose Veterans Parkway between Airport Thruway and J.R. Allen Parkway. It's a big growth area, with Columbus Park Crossing as a hub -- but the city of Cataula should pay half the cost, since its residents may benefit most.
Now let's slow down to explore other issues from Monday:
+ The trials of "S.O.A. Watch" trespassers began in U.S. federal court. Supporters of the 32 suspects staged a march with crosses downtown - which puts to shame the children of St. Luke School, who never carry crosses when they have Easter parades.
+ Speaking of marches, what's this I'm hearing about plans to protest the Starship store on Veterans Parkway? Apparently some people are upset about the "adult items" on sale there. Why they aren't starting up the road at the Cat Walk Lounge, I have no idea....
+ "One Columbus" began a series of seminars on your constitutional rights. Mayor Bob Poydasheff told WRBL the series is designed to show the things we all have in common. This is probably also the point of the "Trim Down Columbus" campaign, to lose thousands of pounds....
+ A study released by Emory University in Atlanta found most political speeches are motivated by emotion, as opposed reasoning. So if you've resisted donating to this blog, think of all the poor and starving children in Haiti I could help if you gave.
+ Instant Message to WRBL's Creshon Saunders: OK, so a Shaw High School student was "yelling verbal threats." But how else do you expect someone to yell a threat? I mean, other than typing e-mails in all-uppercase?
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