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Oh Wise One: Concerning slower traffic impeding the left lane, I often drive in the left lane on U.S. 67/167 if nothing is coming up in my rearview mirror. The right lane on this highway is like driving on a washboard like my mama used to have, especially from Cabot to Searcy and from Newport to Bald Knob. I drove from Newport to Searcy recently, and many drivers were in the left lane but would move over to let traffic pass, except a couple who can't read. -- Senior Citizen

Dear Citizen: You address two matters. Let's take the washboard part first. Then we'll discuss the get-over-dude part. Our source on both is the esteemed Danny Straessle of the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

Turns out several projects are on the table to improve the ride on U.S. 67/167 and U.S. 67. (U.S. 167 splits off and heads toward Batesville at Bald Knob.)

Here we go:

• The section of U.S. 67 from Newport to Bald Knob is under contract. It was just let in April. The contractor is just getting started on the project.

• The section from Beebe to the White County-Lonoke County line is scheduled for bid-letting.

• The section from the White County-Lonoke County line to Arkansas 5 in Cabot is in project development. No timeline on construction.

All these projects address pavement quality. Travel lanes will be smoothed through a diamond-grinding process. Various sections of pavement will be foam-injected for leveling, and effective patching of the roadway also will be included. Shoulders will be rehabilitated as will the bridge decks.

Now, regarding the getting over of drivers in the left lane, this is a favorite topic here. The department has recently put up yellow signs reminding people that state law says to do so. Specifically: "Get out the way!" Or some such legalese.

Straessle explains.

It's legal to drive in the left lane of a four-lane highway. That is, two lanes in each direction. The requirement is that if someone behind you is traveling faster, yield the lane, move over.

On a six-lane or wider highway, three or more lanes in each direction, it's legal to drive in the left lane. Other drivers are allowed to pass on the right.

Dear Mahatma: I enjoyed your column about millennials and driver's licenses. As an economist I love statistics along with gentle humor. Indeed, I've heard every economist joke and tell them myself. I also play the banjo and the button accordion, so I have heard all the jokes about those instruments of torture. -- Sent from My Etch-a-Sketch

Dear Sketch: Thank you for these jokes.

If you were to place every economist end to end, they would each point in a different direction.

How does one describe a banjo tossed into a dumpster and landing on an accordion? Perfect pitch.

Vanity plate seen near Hot Springs: TOMCAT3

Fjfellone@gmail.com

Metro on 07/27/2019

Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Rutty ride: This, too, shall pass

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