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RE: METRIC - WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE????

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> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> Sent:	Friday, October 01, 1999 8:46 AM
> To:	'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
> Subject:	METRIC - WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE????
>
> Here in Texas, TX-DOT started a metrification program a few
> years ago, but
> since "it was cumbersome" decided to permanently join the
> past again and
> stay with their feet and inches, which make so much more sense....

I was going to touch on this today after hearing the news about the NASA
debacle, then saw your post.

The specific reason that TxDOT went 'back' to the English system of units
was not that "it was cumbersome" to use metric, but that the CONTRACTORS,
who in the State of Texas swing a whoppin' big cat in the state legislature,
forced the move backward.

The really frustrating aspect of this is: The metrication process was
already nearly complete. After the predictable period of upheaval in
1995-96, when we were all getting our SI "chops", things were beginning to
flow very smoothly. In fact, we completed earlier this year, an extensive
new-location freeway job in Texarkana, all in SI units, that went VERY well
indeed.

Now, we're actually floundering around here trying to "move back" to the old
system. We're having about as much of a problem adjusting, actually, because
we've had to go back, dust off our old standards, and we now can find ONLY
metric-unit bid quantities in the TxDOT online database, which we must
convert to English!

Many of TxDOT's standard drawings were updated within the last couple of
years for Metric, with the English version lagging behind because such an
update wasn't considered a high priority. Now, suddenly, they are scrambling
to get the English versions up to date, to account for the inevitable
divergence from the Metric versions. Word from the Design Division people in
Austin who handle the standards is they've been under a real ordeal for the
last year or so.

In short, although the Contractors will now be happy they don't have to
teach their sub-high-school-educated workers the metric system, it is
costing a us design folks PLENTY in time, money and aggravation.

It has been a very frustrating process for all of us, client and consultant
alike.