Construction projects of any magnitude are a messy lot. Anyone who has ever remodeled a bathroom or kitchen - small potatoes compared with reconstruction of I-15 - understands the delays and miscommunications that plague even the best-planned efforts.

Given that perspective, motorists should take heart when considering the seemingly never-ending work to remake 17 miles of freeway. Believe it or not, the project is well ahead of schedule and earning plaudits for its relative smoothness.That's not to say that drivers along the Wasatch Front have lots to smile about. They still encounter snarls and detours at every turn from myriad road work. But for its size and scope, the I-15 project at this evolving stage should be considered successful, though it still has a long way to go.

Launched 15 months ago, this is the largest road-building job in the United States to use an accelerated fast-track construction method that has planners and engineers working feverishly as construction progresses. So far, the design-build methodology is working well.

Efforts to clearly communicate closures and detours have not been flawless but generally effective overall.

Some 12 million metric tons of dirt have been moved, and by summer's end 90 of the new freeway's eventual 144 bridges will under way. The mammoth project includes 1,000 workers performing physical labor, with a peak work force of 1,500 expected this construction season. Another 560 people are performing planning, designing, supervising and public communication duties.

That is one sizable job. So when the frustration becomes unbearable for drivers, they should remember that last home renovation job and how nice it turned out upon completion. The same should be true of I-15.

The only downside may be that upon completion, people will want to do nothing besides drive - a fact that should concern transportation planners hoping to see people aban-don their cars for light rail and other mass-transit options. But that is another editorial for a different day.