Vail Daily’s Randy Wyrick: Harmony on the highway
Channel the Blues Brothers today when you’re crawling down the highway traffic during I-70 “speed harmonization.”
You remember the scene from the Blues Brothers movie when they’re sitting in the Blues Mobile and Elwood says, “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.”
This is what they call in screen writing as “the call to adventure,” to which Jake Blues responds, “Hit it.”
And they lead lots and lots of police officers on the most gloriously destructive chase scenes in cinematic history.
Well, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s I-70 “speed harmonization” today won’t likely be like that, but you never know.
Sometime between 11 a.m. and noon, police cars will begin pacing vehicles over the 39 eastbound miles from Silverthorne to the bottom of Floyd Hill near Denver. You’ll be traveling between 45 and 55 mph, unless you release your inner Blues Brother or Indy 500 pace car driver and decide to get your right foot down and pass the police.
The Colorado Department of Transportation says this is a monumentally bad idea.
“CDOT is reminding drivers to please comply with directions from the lead police vehicle, including not passing the police car pacing traffic,” CDOT said in a written statement.
Life in the fast lane?
It’s all designed to keep Sunday afternoon eastbound traffic flowing, which tends to pass with all the ease of a kidney stone.
Politicians and those who spend other people’s money for a living had more grandiose visions.
A few Front Range politicos decided that millions and millions of dollars worth of lane shifting equipment were needed to keep those motorists motoring. Shift the concrete barrier in the middle to create another eastbound lane when traffic is impeding the progress of taxpaying voters, they said.
Others continue to extol the potential glories of a magnet-powered monorail, and its multi-billion dollar pricetag.
But wouldn’t it be fun if I-70’s commuting conundrum could be solved with a few police pace cars — the vehicular equivalent of a Lucky Charms secret decoder ring?
There are questions, of course.
In some spots you have to go faster than 55 mph in the fast lane. If you don’t, police officers will pull you over and ask what on God’s green earth the problem seems to be.
So, if those officers are traveling slower than 55 mph, do they pull themselves over? Do they give themselves a ticket, or do they let themselves off with a friendly warning?
And yes, you’re supposed to yield to emergency vehicles. But what if there’s no emergency?
If you get too frustrated, pull into a diner, smile as you think of Jake and Elwood Blues and order some dry white toast, four fried chickens and a Coke.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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