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Tom Ouellette

Pass at Your Own Risk: Secrets of the MDOT
By Tom Ouellette
Apr 3, 2004 - 4:09:00 PM

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Aside from the warming weather and the sudden influx of robins, there is one other sure sign that spring has arrived in Maine - an orange one that reads WORK AREA AHEAD.

I have always suspected that there was more to the Maine Department of Transportation than just a bunch of guys mowing down mailboxes and slingin' cold patch. I did a little investigating, and sure enough, I have uncovered the true nature of the DOT. It is actually comprised of many smaller covert departments, each of which specialize in insidious policies carefully designed to maximize the frustration levels of Maine motorists.  I will now list some of these departments and their stated missions, thereby confirming what you, the average Maine driver, has suspected all along.

DMP - Department of Misguided Priorities

This agency simply assures that roads that are already in good shape get re-paved while others degrade into suitable habitat for mountain goats and bighorn sheep.

DUN - Department of Unnecessary Noise

Responsibilities: Making sure that jack-hammering will begin no later than 6:45 am - all construction vehicles WILL idle in reverse so that backup beepers will sound constantly - and THE STATE will purchase dump trucks ONLY if their tailgates bang loudly enough to register on seismographs in Japan.

DUD - Department of Unnecessary Delays

These are the folks responsible for hiring 'flaggers' , which are highly skilled workers who must perform successfully in rigorous testing involving (1) chain smoking and (2) not falling down. (A slightly higher hourly wage will be paid if (1) "the candidate can utter unintelligible phrases into a walkie-talkie while chain smoking" and (2)"said candidate does not fall down while doing so").

DDS - Department of Damaged Suspension

Requires ANY utility to leave gouges the size of World War I trenches across the entire width of the road for a minimum of 3 weeks after utility work is completed.

DNR - Department of Needless Redundancy

I cite their mission statement; " Motorists shall be inconvenienced for at least 2 months until the so-called 'paving' is completed after which said area will be excavated AGAIN and, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Dept. of Damaged Suspension, shall remain unpaved for a minimum of 3 weeks, or, if large enough, shall remain unpaved for an indefinite period and designated as an Unorganized Territory and given a name that best reflects it's appearance, such as Gravel Plantation or Rutted Gore."

Lastly, a department that is simply known as Department 45, and is not acknowledged by the DOT on any level, much like the military's mysterious Area 51. I cannot confirm this, but it is rumored that this agency engages in stealth paving projects on the interstate highway system. This may have been evidenced, albeit unknowingly, by many Maine travellers. A possible indication of a highway stealth paving operation; you navigate through 20 miles of traffic barrels and concrete barriers that restrict travel to the left lane, where speed is restricted to 45 mph, but you NEVER ACTUALLY SEE ANY WORKERS OR EQUIPMENT!

In my book, that's stealth ! Happy motoring!

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