Is this really needed?

December 19, 2012

If you’ve driven in downtown Washington lately, especially in the area of Washington & Jefferson College, first you have our sympathies, and second, you no doubt have spotted Washington police officers sitting in their cruisers, lights on the cars flashing, at intersections where motorists are prohibited from entering.

The officers are moonlighting, and the money they receive for this extra duty is eventually paid by the contractor working on the Route 19 corridor project. The city also is reimbursed by the contractor for use of the cruisers, gasoline, etc.

The real question is why this is even necessary. Wouldn’t it be sufficient for the contractors to put sawhorses across the closed intersections and post a sign saying that driving on those streets is prohibited? Though we couldn’t imagine why, perhaps there’s a law or some sort of state or federal regulation that requires such a police presence when a road is shut down for construction. If so, it should be rescinded.

Some might argue that since the city is not footing the bill, there’s no harm done. The contractor is paying. But ultimately, it is the taxpayers who are paying the contractor, and it’s a waste of our money.



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