A Few Minutes With: Kelly Smith, Newaygo County Road Commission Manager
Ed. Note: Ok, wrong color for the song whether your taste runs Eddie Cochran, Blue Cheer or Alan Jackson but you get the point. The season is upon us so we asked our friend Kelly Smith for a few words of inspiration to help us all get through (or detour around) the inevitable reactions that come with delays.
It is that time of the year when the orange barrels are in full bloom, detour routes are plentiful and online interactive map sites are seeing more traffic than my wife’s Amazon Prime account.
Now before everyone yells at me about the inconvenience of having to take alternate routes or sitting in a flagging operation for what seems like an eternity, I get it and I sympathize. Most who know me would agree patience is not my strong suit and sitting in a line of traffic waiting for the person holding the little paddle sign to release me so that I may go on merry way to whatever exciting adventure awaits me... well, it can have a tendency to raise my blood pressure a couple points.
But, and here is where I plead for your patience, whether it be NCRC employees, contractors for NCRC, or any operation going on in the road system, that operation is being performed for you, our customers. You, the customers who pay for and deserve a road system that allows you, those trucks that deliver goods for you, the emergency service providers you may be in need of, the school buses that deliver your children to school and the countless other forms of transportation that traverse our roads to have as safe and as efficient a road system that we can provide.
In order to do so we will at times be in your way. This is an unfortunate side effect of attempting to maintain, preserve and upgrade the system.
A little over a year ago the funding increase that the legislature put into place started to arrive, and along with that funding increase of course comes a steady increase in work volume on a road system that is in desperate need of attention. Now this is where we become more of pain than we have been in the past because more construction equals more work zones and detours. So , until someone comes up with “ A New Road In Can” that we can just throw down in the middle of the night, ( My wife claims this is what she is looking for when online shopping) we will have to once again ask for your patience.
The positive side is we are working towards a sustainable, safer and more efficient road system. The reality is we are dealing with many years of stagnant funding all the while seeing steady increases in costs of goods and services so it will take time, but, we are making steady progress even in the short time we have been receiving the new monies.
On a final note, please be careful when within or approaching work zones. Those workers you see are someone’s loved ones and we need to do all we can to see that they make it home safe and sound. Please try and not be too distracted within these zones as there are many large piece of heavy machinery and lots of activities to watch.
And most of all, have a safe fun filled summer and don’t be afraid to wave as you pass by our workers.
We only ask that you have all 5 fingers visible.