Mn/DOT unveils 80 construction projects in the Twin Cities this year

Photo by M. Gifford.
Get ready.
Worst sign of spring ever.

The snow hasn't even melted yet, and Mn/DOT is already announcing a construction plan for the year that's sure to make you slam your head against the steering wheel.

The $900 million program will fund a total of 258 construction projects throughout the state in 2011 -- 80 of which will be the Twin Cities.

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Minneapolis Fire Department would lay off eight under GOP plan

Years of cuts have already left the department below industry standards.
If Minnesota Senate and House Republicans get their way, the Minneapolis Fire Department is in for even more bad news.

Republicans announced a budget proposal yesterday that recommends cutting Local Government Aid to help balance our $6.2 billion deficit.

If the bill were to pass, Minneapolis would have to lay off eight firefighters, says John Stiles, spokesman for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

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St. Paul's slothful pothole crews get off easy

Categories: potholes

We'll fix this pothole after our paid siesta.
When news first broke last spring that St. Paul's road repair crews had been caught twiddling their thumbs on the public dime, there was a huge uproar, and city officials promised the slackers would be punished.

But then time passed, the media spotlight moved on, and now those promises of discipline appear to be wafting away like asphalt fumes in the breeze.

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Bruce Beese, St. Paul public works boss, resigns after KSTP exposes slacking pot hole crews

Categories: St. Paul, potholes

bruce brees.jpg
It's been an unusually shitty year for potholes throughout the Twin Cities, as you might have noticed. This is especially true in St. Paul where pothole crews are taking a lackadaisical approach the job barely working at all.

A KSTP expose that ran Monday showed workers taking hours-long breaks while on the clock, in many cases spending more time on break than actually working. (Government employees half-assing it on the public dole?!  Shocking!).

As a result of the findings, Bruce Beese, the director of St. Paul's department of public works, announced his resignation yesterday (at Mayor Chris Coleman's "request.") But don't go crying for Beese. He'll take up his old post as "administrative manager for public works," which carries with it a $111,900-a-year salary-- $12,100 less than his current gig.

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Fed up with potholes? Fill them yourself

Categories: potholes
Photo by akeg
Well that's probably not the best idea we've suggested, but some Chicago residents are taking street repair into their own hands.

Residents on one block of Chicago's Austin neighborhood were so fed up with their treacherous street of potholes that they picked up their own equipment and started filling the gaps on their own.

Community service or just a bad idea?

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Pothole of the day: A triumph for the ages

Categories: potholes

Tired of reading about the Strib's financial tribulations? Sorry about that. Ready for some frivolity flecked with good news? You know we've got you.

You may remember Foucault's Pothole on North 17th St. and Washington. Hold that memory in your heart, because that's all it is now.

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Pothole of the day: Haiku version

Categories: potholes

Perspective is everything. A little seasonal shift alters moods, sways perceptions, gently nudges the very reality around us.

This includes our friend the pothole. Because two images of a particular road crater just hours apart afford the viewer entirely divergent experiences -- and because there ought to be more poems about potholes -- I am moved to create verse.

In the first image, spring precipitation collects in this masterpiece of decay from 44th and Wentworth. The resultant reflection fuses nature (the water, the overlooking pine) with that most urban of creations, broken asphalt.

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Pothole of the day: Discipline and punish

Categories: potholes

True genius is measured in both depth and breadth. The great works -- Melville's Moby Dick, Joyce's Ulysses, Flair-Steamboat from Clash of the Champions 6 -- impress not just with length, but the fullness and richness of experience.

So it was with this now-filled pothole. Wide it was, but deep, too. Its like will be seen again, to be sure, but in the meantime we're forced to choose from among its lessers. Hence, this gem from North 17th St. and Washington Avenue.

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POTD: this is dedicated to Mayor Rybak

Categories: potholes

Panic has set in at City Hall. Our relentless (i.e. highly sporadic and rather lackluster) expose on the distressed streets of Minneapolis finally elicited a response yesterday from the city's communications department. Here's the rather tepid acknowlegment of the city's burgeoning pothole crisis:

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POTD: Let's hear it for the 651

Categories: potholes

I've discovered one absolute truth during the last two weeks of (admittedly sporadic) pothole-ology: Minneapolis has a lot more craters in its streets than St. Paul. My efforts to find suitably impressive potholes in the 651 have largely been unsuccessful, while the 612 offers an abundant array of distressed streets to choose from. But in the name of diversity, here's a reasonably formidable swath of destruction discovered on Pascal Street near the Midway Shopping Center.