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News of the Weird

Tuesday April 02, 2002

A tardy note from the Department of Transportation 


PITTSBURGH — Slackers and sleepyheads now have a new excuse for getting to work late, courtesy of the state of Pennsylvania. 

The state Department of Transportation is offering Pittsburgh residents ready-made excuse cards on the Internet allowing them to blame their tardiness on the Fort Pitt Tunnel and bridge construction project. 

A PennDOT Web site — — devoted to the three-year, $60 million repair project allows the city’s 75,000 daily commuters to click on “Excuse Me!” and fill out a form explaining their untimeliness. 

The forms have blanks for users to type in their bosses’ names, their names and one of five excuses for being late. The reasons range from construction on the tunnels to “the sun in my eyes on the way to work.” 

There’s even the old classic, “because my puppy chewed up my assignment.” 

The excuses are signed by PennDOT spokesman Dick Skrinjar and have the agency’s official logo. 

“We felt obligated to create a valid excuse card for motorists to use during the closing of the Fort Pitt Bridge and Tunnel. We now have a way for those affected by the closure and slackers,” Skrinjar joked. 

The Fort Pitt Tunnel connects the city’s two largest arteries — Interstates 376 and 279, known locally as the Parkway East and West — which carry about 145,000 vehicles a day.