We have all seen them.  When you pull on to I-88 going towards Albany, almost immediately road construction begins.  Lanes change, speed limits change, construction crews and vehicles are everywhere and there are orange construction barrels trying to guide you through this mish-mash.

Lots of orange barrels.  Thousands of them.  Would it be a safe guess that between Oneonta and Cobleskill, now both way, that there are 25,000 barrels?  50,000?  And what about the rest of the state.  This is the season for road construction so whoever the barrel-makers are are cranking them out by the hundreds of thousands.

But, did you ever wonder how much those barrels cost?  Each?

For a little background, in the 1970s and 1980s highway construction used solid 55-gallon steel drums as road warning apparatus.  They were painted orange with white stripes,filled with sand or water and placed on the road.  Becasue they were so heavy and formidable, they caused a lot of damage if your car hit one.  So they were phased out.

The era of the molded plastic construction barrels came to a head in the 1990s.  They were relatively lightweight and had a handle on top for easy mobility.

Now, the cost.  As far as I can tell they range from about $60 to about $90 each.  So, lets split the difference and say they average about $75 per barrel.   If in fact there are 25,000 barrels on I-88 (nobody has counted them, but that might even be low) then lets do the math.  25,000 barrels times $75 each.  Wow!

So remember this, when you drive through a construction area like the one I mentioned above and you wonder how much the whole project costs for the highway repairs, don't forget to add in $1,875,000 just for the barrels!

Flagger directing traffic, holding "Slow" sign

Barrel making.  I think I am in the wrong line of work........

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