May 2010 Archives

Hacked Road Signs

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Klaatu Barada Nikto Const Sign.jpg
This morning, we featured on the air a collection of changable road signs that had been hacked so their messages said something besides the original message. Most were pretty creative. Some we have featured on the air before.

My favorite is pictured here.

And here is where you will find the rest.


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Roundabouts: Whadya Think?

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MDOTroundabout-diagram-220_269925_7.gifWhile the City of Grand Rapids considers building another roundabout, MDOT wants to know what you think about them.

I think Michigan drivers are confused by them. There aren't enough of them in the state to get everyone familiar with how they work. Traffic officials say they cut down on the number and severity of accidents at intersections that are converted to the merry-go-round layout.

I spend several years in New England, where these creatures are common and called "rotaries." They tend to be a intersections that carry much more traffic than the roundabouts in Grand Rapids that are at the intersections of Wealthy Street and Lafayette Avenue and at Cherry Street and Jefferson Avenue. I haven't driven through the new roundabout at the junction of M-37 and M-46 south of Grant.

("Rotary" in West Springfield, MA)

I drove almost daily through the rotary in West Springfield pictured here, many times with the rotary packed with traffic, with never a backup and never a crash.

Back to what you think. If you have an opinion, the place to express it is on the MDOT web page dedicated to roundabouts.

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Memorial Day Weekend: Construction Reprieve

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Several years ago, MDOT began suspending construction work on long holiday weekends, most notably Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. That meant that some lane closures were removed. And even when they weren't, drivers could go through construction zones at 60mph instead of the 45mph required when workers are present.

MDOT says the same rules will apply this Memorial Day weekend. Work will be suspended on most projects from 3 p.m. Friday (5/28) until 6 a.m. Tuesday (6/1).

But some projects will still be active, and we will have to drop to 45mph as we pass through them. Here is a partial list of projects that will remain "active" or will continue to have highway and lane closures:

The Fix On I-196: All closures will remain in place. Some work may continue through the weekend.
M-21 over the Flat River: Westbound is still closed, one lane eastbound.
M-21 in Ionia: closed between M-66 and Lovell Street.
US-31BR in Muskegon: Northbound remains closed between the Causeway and Getty Street.
I-94 at Westnedge Avenue: All kinds of traffic shifts and ramp closures.

Here's the complete list.

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Downtown Grand Rapids: Finishing Ionia Avenue

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Work on IONIA AVE, which has been pretty disruptive for downtown Grand Rapids workers and people who enjoy the Arena area bars and restaurants, will end soon. The street has been closed between FULTON ST and MONROE CENTER since March.

The plan for these final days calls for laying down a major layer of asphalt on Friday (5/28) and then pavement markings on Tuesday (6/1). The street should be open by the end of busines on Tuesday.

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VIDEO: Dog Trapped In Car Grille

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Somewhere in Chile, the story goes, a car hit a dog. Instead of the dog going to heaven, as all dogs do, it went through the grille of the car and, still alive, became lodged therein.

Some doubt the veracity of the story, but at the end of this video, the dog is obviously hurt, showing scratches and an obviously injured forelimb.

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VIDEO: An "Art Attack" In A Traffic Intersection

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This piece of art in an intersection in Berlin required the "cooperation" of drivers. Paint was poured on the pavement and the rest was left to the drivers. Signs were posted that assured drivers the paint was water-based, but I wonder if that made a difference on how hard it was to get it off their cars....

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New I-96 Lane Closure Thru 5.27

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I-96 logo small.jpgI-96 WB Approaching M-66/IONIA EXIT

  • WESTBOUND traffic will be reduced to one lane for pavement repairs
  • Thru Thursday (5/27)

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Vanity Shots - 5.24.10

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Intermittent Lane Closures on Chicago Drive

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Various pavement repairs, construction in intersections, and driveway jobs will cause lane closures off and on along M-121/CHICAGO DR this week:

  • CHICAGO DR between 40TH AVE and Rush Creek
  • Monday (5/24) through Friday (5/28)
  • WESTBOUND lane closures begin daily at 6 a.m.
  • EASTBOUND lane closures being daily at 9 a.m.

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Weekend Road Construction: 5.21-5.24

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  • It will be a busy weekend for road crews ...

Logo fix on 196 100X100.jpgThe FIX ON I-196

The freeway will be closed at different exits this weekend:


  • Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • All eastbound traffic will exit at OTTAWA AVE
  • Access is available to EASTBOUND MICHIGAN ST to get to Spectrum.


  • Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • All westbound traffic will exit at FULLER AVE
  • Use WESTBOUND MICHIGAN ST or WESTBOUND FULTON ST for access to downtown Grand Rapids.

FULLER AVE over I-196

  • Saturday, 6 a.m. to 12 noon
  • One lane closed SOUTHBOUND

I-96 logo small.jpgI-96 LANE CLOSURES

  • WESTBOUND between M-11 and 68TH AVE
  • From Saturday (5/22) 6 p.m. and Sunday (5/23) 11 p.m.

44TH ST OVER I-196

  • Right lane closed EASTBOUND between KENOWA AVE and CANAL ST
  • Right two lanes closed WESTBOUND between WILSON AVE and KENOWA AVE
  • Friday (5/21) 9 p.m. to Monday (5/24) 6 a.m.
  • Expect backups both coming off the freeway and approaching it from the mall.

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US-131 Bridge Over The Manistee River Is Open

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Anyone heading north on US-131 since last fall has known that the highway north of Manton was closed at the Manistee River because the bridge was being replaced.

That bridge is now finished, though cleanup work continues.

No more detours if you are headed to Petosky and points north.

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Overnight Lane Closures on US-131 and M-6

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M-6 100x100.jpgUS-131 logo 75x60.jpgCrews will be doing some crack sealing in the pavement on US-131 and M-6 this week, which will mean lane closures:

  • US-131 NORTHBOUND and SOUTHBOUND between 28TH ST and 44TH ST
    • Tuesday (5/18) to Saturday morning (5/22)
    • Overnights, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • M-6 EASTBOUND and WESTBOUND between the Kent/Ottawa County line and M-37/BROADMOOR AVE
    • Tuesday (5/18) to Wednesday morning (5/26)
    • Overnights, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • WESTBOUND: Tuesday (5/18


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Bridge Work and Lane Closures on I-96 at Fruitport Road

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I-96 logo small.jpgCrews will be back working on the FRUITPORT RD bridge over I-96 until the end of the month.

Intermittent lane closures
Weekdays only
May 19 - May 28


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Lane Closure Continues On I-96 In Ionia County

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I-96 logo small.jpgThe pavement repairs scheduled to end last week continue this week on I-96 EASTBOUND from Grand Rapids.

  • The right lane is closed just east of the M-66/IONIA EXIT for a couple of miles for pavement repairs.
  • Now the plan is for the lane closure to be in effect until the end of the day Thursday, May 20.

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Vanity Shots - 5.17.10

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Lake Michigan Drive Lane Closures Thru June 19

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M-45 80x80.jpgHeads up driving a night on LAKE MICHIGAN DR/M-45 between Standale and Allendale. Crews will be resurfacing, and lane closures will be in place:

  • Lane closures from FERNDALE AVE west of WILSON AVE to 68TH AVE in Allendale
  • Nightly May 17 through June 19
  • 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

lake-michigan-dr-LC to 061910.jpg

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I-196 Lane Closures Near Saugatuck

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I-196-logo-80x64Pavement repairs will commence on I-196 NORTHBOUND between M-89 and the US-31/Holland split. Lane closures will be in place until July 20:

  • I-196 NORTHBOUND between a spot about three miles north of M-89 and US-31.
  • May 17 to July 20
  • The barrels will be pulled back to open two lanes for the Memorial Day weekend, May 29-31

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Greenville: Flag Crews This Weekend on M-57

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M-57-80x80M-57 east of Greenville

Resurfacing continues between the FLAT RIVER BRIDGE and BERRIDGE RD. This weekend, things get serious enough to require flag crews through the end of the project:

  • Now through May 22
  • Flag crews will be controlling traffic
  • Crews milling and laying down asphalt

M-57 LC Greenville.jpg

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At Last! An Entertaining Car Commercial

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Yeah, it's a commercial. But it's fun.

Car commercials are notorious for their boilerplate style: video of the vehicle on the road, big letters and numbers superimposed shouting about the latest lease deal. No imagination.

Occasionally, the bleak landscape would be briefly brightened by commercials like the VW Jetta windshield wiper ad about ten years ago.


This is the full length web video. I expect 60- and 30-second versions on TV and cable.

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I-196 Westbound Closed At Fuller Avenue: Extended

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Logo fix on 196 100X100.jpgTraffic problems have been minimal in the construction zone that is the Fix on I-196. But occasionally, we are asked to make further adjustments.

Various pile driving and utility work requires that all traffic on I-196 WESTBOUND exit at FULLER AVE and not farther down at COLLEGE AVE on Wednesday and Thursday (5/12 and 5/14) during specific hours:
  • I-196 WESTBOUND closed at FULLER AVE
  • May 12, not May 13 due to the rain, and again on May 14.
  • 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day

196-fuller closure 051210.jpg

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Lane Closure on I-96 In Ionia County

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I-96 logo small.jpgDelays are possible when you head east on I-96 from Grand Rapids.

The right lane is closed just east of the M-66/IONIA EXIT for a couple of miles for pavement repairs.

The lane closure is in effect until the end of the day Friday, May 14.

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Would you pay $20 for this car wash experience?

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A car wash in California has brightened up the experience of sitting in the car in a dark tunnel with wet and noisy equipment all around using flashing lights and animated cows. The Happy Cow Car Wash charges $20 for the experience, calling it a "Lazer Wash," but we couldn't see any laser lights in the show. Maybe some LEDs ...

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Lake Drive Open in Grand Rapids

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The month-long closure of LAKE DR in Grand Rapids is scheduled to be over today, but construction will continue to finish up the project.
  • LAKE DR between DIAMOND AVE and CARLTON AVE in Eastown
  • Resurfacing is finished; pavement markings were expected to be finished Monday, May 10.

Lake Dr Closed map

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Vanity Shots - 5.10.10

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Does 2 vehicles @ 50mph in a head-on = 100 mph?

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When I first heard this question, I had no answer.

Some argue that when two vehicles going 50 mph in opposite directions are in a head-on crash, each vehicle will suffer damage equivolent to a 100 mph crash into a wall.

I heard this question on Car Talk, and the hosts (both graduates of MIT) sided against that argument, but they were uncertain.

Leave it to the Mythbusters to settle the question. The answer: both vehicles will suffer damage equivolent to a 50 mph crash.

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It's not gonna work ...

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I see plenty of kids wearing bicycle helmets in a way that renders them useless in saving little kids' melons. They are supposed to sit directly on the top of one's head.

Um, NOT like this .....


I'm just sayin' ...

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Fifth Third River Bank Run Traffic

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Fifth Third River Bank RUn.jpgThough the Fix on I-196 will complicate access to downtown Grand Rapids, I don't believe it will be a major problem for runners and spectators. That's based on how well drivers have dealt with the closer of I-196 since the project began.

A lot of people who seldom go to downtown Grand Rapids will be navigating downtown streets, but in the early hours of Saturday, it should not be too inconvenient if you remember these things:

  • EASTBOUND I-196, exit at OTTAWA AVE or swing south on US-131 and exit at either PEARL ST or MARKET ST.
  • WESTBOUND I-196, you can navigate through construction and be fine taking the COLLEGE AVE exit. You will have to wind your way downtown by using MICHIGAN ST, LYON ST, or FULTON ST from COLLEGE AVE.

Downtown Grand Rapids will have the usual street closures for the race:

Friday (5/7)
  • 6:00 p.m.
    • Ottawa Ave from Michigan St to Lyon St (access to City Parking Lot)
    • Lyon St between OttawaAve and Ionia Ave
    • Lyon and Ottawa intersection
    • Lyon east of Ellis Parking Lot to Ottawa (cars parking in lot can only exit to the west towards Monroe Avenue)

Saturday (5/8)
  • Monroe Avenue between Michigan St. and Pearl St.
  • Ottawa Ave from Pearl St to Fulton St
  • Intersections of Pearl at Ottawa
  • All downtown streets along race courses

Closings in more detail (PDF)

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28th Street Lane Closure Under I-96

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I-96 logo small.jpg28th Street Under I-96

Crews will be doing some work on 28TH ST under I-96. Heads up for anyone taking the exit ramp from EASTBOUND I-96 to EASTBOUND 28TH ST:

  • Right lane closed on 28TH ST under I-96
  • Saturday (5/8), 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Westnedge Avenue Lane Closures Extended

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I-94 logo 75x75.jpgWestnedge Avenue under I-94

Crews continue to move around some big sections of dirt, so lane closures that have been the rule on WESTNEDGE AVE under I-94 continue will continue longer than originally announced:

  • Daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • May 3 through May 14
  • There will be times when traffic is controlled by flag crews.

I-196 Ramp Closure Extended

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I-196-logo-80x64I-196 Ramp Closure

A last-minute email from MDOT this morning said THIS RAMP IS NOW OPEN.

The ramp from WESTBOUND I-196 to 44TH ST is closed for pavement repairs from through Thursday (5/6) at 7 p.m. The original completion date announced was Tuesday (5/4)

  • Detour: Exit early from the left lane to M-11/28TH ST. At the bottom of the ramp, continue straight onto WILSON AVE and continue south to 44TH ST.

Tulip Time Parade Routes

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The Tulip Time Festival is famous for its parades, one after another, beginning today (Wed 5/5) with the Volksparade.

Organizers have always observed a smart tradition: every parade marches down the same route (see map):
  • Proceed west on 8TH STREET
  • Bend south to KOLLEN PARK
  • Done

Here's the parade schedule.

Tulip Time Parade Route MAP

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M-37/Broadmoor Avenue Resurfacing

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M-37/Broadmoor Ave

Drivers between Grand Rapids/Kentwood and Caledonia and Middleville will find themselves dealing with construction for several weeks, beginning today (5/4):
  • Resurfacing
  • Traffic shifts and lane closures, mainly at night 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Through June 14


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Vanity Shots - 5.3.10

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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