Opinion on government works projects?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by JoEw, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. JoEw macrumors 65816

    JoEw

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    #1
    Not trying to start a huge argument, but does anybody feel like there is a definitely a motivation problem in workers when it involves a government (state or federal) funded project like road work? In my area (Portland, Oregon) I have noticed very little progress on the highway for years of work. And it can only lead me to believe that there is no motivation to work harder/faster because the quicker it is finished the workers will have to find another job. So therefore there is a large lack of motivation to work hard. Anyone else agree or disagree with me?
     
  2. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #3
    People have agreed with you for years. Take a look at any project in which fines are built in for missing deadlines or bonuses paid for work done early. Surprise! They always seem to get done on time or before.
     
  3. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #4
    Well, I doubt the workers are all just sitting around ********ing to be doing it. But the government is largely an inefficient machine, with funding and oversight issues. Most likely the work isn't being completed due to that, or some corrupt government official making money off it being incomplete or being delayed.
     
  4. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #5
    Every state and locality is different, but, in most cases, these big state projects are contracted out. Since more often than not these days, there is going to be a fixed price, plus some award fees (sometimes for an on-time finish), so there is often little or no incentive to drag something out on purpose. Often, but, who knows about the project in question?

    The project in your area may be going slowly because they don't want to impact rush-hour traffic. In California, they solved this problem years ago by making a lot of this work happen at night. Presumably you have to pay people a little more to work at night, but, projects actually get done a lot faster and may actually be cheaper in the end.
     
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #6
    Well remember the people doing the work are not government employees. They are private contractors who got the job in competive bidding.

    There are huge chunks of cost that go with those projects. Generally speaking their are penalties for missing dead lines. The bonuses for finishing early are pretty minor. Heck the bonus they generally get in finishing early is not having to pay to keep renting the equipment or having their resources tied on on that project extra days.

    As for it seeming like little progress it might mean you need to look closer. Those projects are miles long and they might be using one section as a lay down area/storage while they work on another. THe DOT does charge them for lane rentals and have rules on when they can do those.

    Also they a lot of these projects are on going so they finish one part and then bid on the next. The same company generally gets the next one because they do not have the cost of start up to deal with plus they can remove the shut down cost from said job as well because they can just role it into the next job.

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    spoken like someone who has zero clue how heavy build construction works.
     
  6. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #7

    Ok, explain how heavy build construction works and how the possibility of corrupt government officials, or budgeting problems can't interrupt that work.
     
  7. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #8
    That's a pretty good explanation.

    I've been covering the construction of a huge science experiment and even at that scale delays are bound to happen. Small mistakes, such as someone forgetting to bore a hole in a steel beam can grind the operation to a halt for a day.

    Without knowing the specifics of the project (is it over budget, dramatically delayed, etc.) it's hard to comment. Keep in mind that the construction companies are usually under contract, so delays will cost them money and while there can be graft, that's usually drawn up in the original contracts to do the work. Delays can be circumstantial or happenstance.
     
  8. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #9
    Well read up above the post it filled in most of the gaps as it is pretty clear you did not.

    The other part is in reality very little is that way. Vast majority of states have pretty strike guidelines on how contracts are awarded and how the bidding process is done.

    Same guy can generally win multiple contracts because they already on site so they can remove their start up and shut down cost from the bid which gives them a huge edge over someone else.

    You pretty much put problems in were their are none. Now if things seem to be moving slowing it could be a long list of reasons. One for example is hour limitation. They might only really around 8 hours of open time and over that 8-9 hours only 4-5 hours of real progress can be made because the other time is spent on getting set up and tearing down.

    It is fairly complacent on all the rules and restrictions they have to deal with.
     
  9. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #10
    makes sense
     
  10. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #11
    That's why I always secretly wished that the construction that really shuts down major roads should go on 24/7. Two 12 hour crews, no taking down detour cones just to out them back up. Finish the job and move on to the next. I live in the NYC area my whole life. No need to milk it, there will always be more work to be done.
     
  11. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #12
    Well, why are the limited to work 9 hours per day on site?
     
  12. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #13
    Who said they were? The poster before you said might. R u trying to tie this into the other thread ? ;)
     
  13. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #14
    They are not allow to shut down lanes during rush hour and they are not allowed to close a major freeway during the day. If they shut down a road it has to be open back up by oh 5am at the latest. The fines are pretty steep and are done by the minute (as in 1-2k per minute late)

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    A city can not afford to have one of their major ways in closed down during rush hour or during the day. The alternative routes can not handle the extra traffic.

    Plus more man hours does not mean things can go faster. There are other controlling factor that can not be sped up. For example they can only get concrete at a max set rate. Plus one can not speed up drying time. Plus material can only be brought in so fast. YOu only have a limited amount of lay down area. Also if you shut down the road it hurts your ablity to bring in material. It also drives up cost quite a bit because they have to pay for the lane rental.
     
  14. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #15
    no I'm not

    and read above
     
  15. Mac'nCheese, Jun 17, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012

    Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #16
    What state doesn't allow lanes to be closed during rush hour? They do that here all the time. I understand what u mean by adding man hours doesn't mean that that the work will fly by but it's gotta go faster then starting and stopping like they do now. How much time is wasted just laying out the cones and stuff like that?

    http://esecaucus.com/2011/12/coming-soon-more-route-3-lane-closures/

    This is a Major highway running through bergen county from the gw bridge west. They closed down lanes in both directions 24/7. If the crews worked 24/7 they could lessen the amount of time the whole project takes.
     
  16. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #17
    All 50's. A lot of the time it is the city putting those restrictions in place. If it is a major road no way in hell is it going to be allowed to shut down completely during rush how.

    If a road can be closed or not during the day really depends on traffic load of the road. Are there alternatives routes for that road and if so can they handle the extra traffic load. Things like that are what come up. It really comes down to traffic engineering.
     
  17. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #18
    Ok that's two different things. You wrote they can't shut down lanes during rush hour. That's not the same as totally shutting Down the road.

    Not sure how major this road is but it does happen:

    http://www.ktrs.com/news/local-news/item/3058-modot-to-shut-down-lane-of-i-64
     
  18. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #19
    Same logic applies to the rush hour. If the reduce lanes can not handle the traffic and their are not alternatives than can handle the excess load it still a no go.
     
  19. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #20
    Of course. It's a pipe dream of mine, nothing I ever think would happen. 24/7 work on one bridge, one road, whatever. Get Er done and move to the next place.
     
  20. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    Illinois
    #22
    I did highway construction, specifically the waterproofing of bridge decking prior to the installation of asphalt. I can tell you from experience that 90% of the time when you drive by a construction site and see guys just "standing around" they are actually working, but need to stand aside to allow something else to happen before they can jump in and do their job. Those kinds of jobs are a chorographed dance between men and machines that requires a great deal of experience to get right. Even when you are getting it right, there are engineers who need to keep an eye on things, and that can make it look like things aren't happening.

    Yes, there are ways to make construction more efficient, but you would be hard pressed to find many on projects like that. Even though they are government projects, the contractors don't make money by being lazy.

    (edit) Oh, one more thing. You can't work 24/7 on job sites because often times there are scheduled delays to allow for curing of concrete, epoxy, waterproofing materials, etc...
     

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