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COSMIX voyage

click to enlarge Next time youre stuck in traffic, take comfort in the - knowledge that the Interstate 25 widening project has - a - catchy  and expensive  name.
  • Next time youre stuck in traffic, take comfort in the knowledge that the Interstate 25 widening project has a catchy and expensive name.

Iam currently working on a yard project at my house. The complex master plan involves placing CPBs (Concrete Paving Blocks) along the EOOD (Edges Of Our Driveway). The RIDT (Reason I'm Doing This) is to BDP (Better Define the Perimeter) of the driveway as it abuts the dead grass where the neighbor's dog LTC (Likes to Crap).

But mostly, I'm doing this project, which involves a lot of heavy lifting, because my wife TMT (Told Me To). And when SNH (She's Not Happy), NIH (Nobody Is Happy.)

TMOTO (Trust Me On That One.)

Anyway, I'm using a lot of acronyms because today we'll discuss an even larger construction project, the $150 million Interstate 25 widening project through our village. And I'm trying to work myself into the RFM (Right Frame of Mind).

Early on, the government workers who make these decisions realized that a project to widen the big road through our town definitely needed a name -- a name so long that it would then need an acronym.

So CDOT (the Colorado Department of Transportation) spent $21,000 in taxpayer funds to hire Colorado Springs-based PRACO (Public Relations and Advertising Company). The folks at PRACO immediately rolled up their sleeves and went to work on a name-finding project they quietly called SNOBNAR (Scribbling Names On Bar Napkins at the Ritz).

Then, after waiting several months so people would think naming a road-widening project was RHTD (Really Hard To Do), they made their big announcement: The project would be known as COSMIX (Colorado Springs Metro Interstate Expansion).

COSMIX narrowly edged out other fine proposed names for the project, including HOGLOS (Hundreds Of Guys Leaning On Shovels) and MASOS (Moving At the Speed Of Sloths).

The project is scheduled to begin in a few months and will go on UWAD (Until We're All Dead).

Six minutes of Polhill

At the Independence Institute in Golden, a think tank often critical of government spending, people sit around TATS (Thinking About This Stuff). Senior fellow Dennis Polhill said that by giving a highway project a catchy name, officials hope we'll forget that we're paying for each and every one of those orange highway cones that SOTH (Stretch Over The Horizon) and are FTRO (Fun To Run Over).

"If this was the private sector and not a government project, we'd just go do it and wouldn't waste time and money naming it and talking about it," said Polhill.

"Naming a highway project is a mechanism they think will make us feel good about the enormous amount of our money they're spending and that voters will be friendly to such projects the next time they come back to us for another transportation tax."

Polhill then went into a very long speech about such things as "political realities." After about six minutes I HUP (Hung Up the Phone) because I was GAH (Getting A Headache).

CDOT executive Dave Poling said: "A catchy project identity with a local tie will be easier to remember and help residents, commuters and businesses identify the construction activity and how it impacts them."

This "catchy project identity" will come in handy starting this summer when you are detoured around COSMIX, end up in Limon and somehow find your way home at midnight.

Your wife: "Where the #$%^& have you been?"

You: "COSMIX! You know, the Colorado Springs Metro Interstate ... uh, that highway thing."

Your wife: "Oh, OK. And just so you know, YWBGAT. You know, that You Won't Be Getting Any Tonight thing."

Hair care essentials

Anyway, the name COSMIX was unveiled two months ago. Since then, highway workers have accomplished what is known as a Series of Quasi-Upgrades And Troubleshooting (SQUAT).

Eventually, COSMIX will supposedly widen the interstate between the Circle Drive/Lake Avenue interchange to the south and the North Academy Boulevard interchange on the north end of town.

This will give us three lanes in each direction, which will make it ALARC (Almost Like a Real City).

Although if you want to go east or west in this marvel of modern transportation infrastructure we call home, you'll still be SOL (you know what that is).

The groundwork for COSMIX began in 1999 when Colorado voters passed Referendum A, a request for new transportation taxes. (As part of that new tax approval, Gov. Bill Owens was allowed to spend an additional $26 million on industrial strength wood varnish for his hair.)

Then, in September of 2004, the federal government gave the environmental approval needed for the Colorado Springs project. This led to the following actual news release from Denver last Sept. 22:

"The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), allowing the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to proceed with improvements along the Interstate 25 corridor."

That sentence is now sealed inside a glass case in the Acronym Wing of the Smithsonian Institute.

As for the FONSI, well, be prepared for 2,500 really cool construction workers with slicked-back hair, wearing leather jackets, giving you a two-thumbs-up salute and shouting "AAAYYYYYYY!" every time you drive by.

If they can pick themselves up off their shovels.

-- richt@csindy.com

-- Listen to Rich Tosches Thursday mornings on the "Coffey and Alisha Show" on KVUU-FM, 99.9.

  • COSMIX voyage

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