Annoyed Wis. Motorists Illegally Move Road Construction Signs, Barricades
Summer road construction annoys and inconveniences almost everyone, but in Roberts, Wisconsin some motorists are so fed up they're moving construction equipment out of their way. Officials warn their actions are both dangerous and illegal.
The problem is centered on a stretch of Highway 65, just north of I-94. Since April, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is building four roundabouts in close proximity of one another and the project has apparently become such a nuisance to some motorists that they're physically removing barricades, taking down traffic signs and repositioning tubular markers. It happens several times a day.
According to WI Dot's Dave Koepp, "They'll be moved into the middle of the road, thrown in ditches, tipped over, you name it."
Some people have even gone as far as yanking the pylons out of the road. And that's no east task since they're literally tarred to the ground. "I actually saw a little old lady doing it," Koepp said. "The amount of time she spent trying to pry it away, she could have just driven around the long way."
Motorists caught in the act by the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department could be fined more than $325 and sentenced to 60 days in jail. At least 10 people have been cited in the last month for driving around the barriers, according to Sheriff John Shilts.
"They come right through here when we're working, they drive right through," said Koepp. And that creates a huge safety issue, not only for workers but other motorists as well.
Plus, tinkering with construction materials costs taxpayers money--because somebody has to be paid to put it all back where it was.
The good news: this project should be entirely complete by November. Even better news: there have been no accidents or injuries as a result of the illegal maneuvering.
Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org