We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
Unless you live in New York City, or perhaps San Francisco, you probably drive a car. Right? How often do you drive for more than five minutes or so without coming up to a barrier, lane narrowing, or some other impediment to your trip caused by repairs or road construction?
Okay, I know we can’t leave all roads like they were in 1950. They’d be totally worn out, not to mention inadequate for the number of vehicles in today’s traffic. We do have to keep up.
But why do we have to spend half a decade repairing a pothole? All right, I admit I’m stretching that one a little, but you know what I mean.
Colonial Parkway runs front of Colonial Country Club, the site of one of the oldest tournaments on the PGA Tour. Months and months ago—probably just after last year’s tournament was completed—the city of Fort Worth started some sort of project on that road.
The first thing they did was dump a bunch of fill material and park equipment in the right turn lane of Rogers Road where it comes into Colonial Parkway from the north. Then they began tearing up parts of Colonial Parkway, narrowing the lanes to the point you almost had to creep past. On occasion they would fully close one side of the street or the other, posting guys to stop traffic from one direction while that from the other direction went through.
How long has this been going on? Couldn’t tell you. Seems like ages, and I know it’s been at least several months.
What are they doing there? Who knows? Digging holes in the pavement for some inscrutable reason. They’re not widening the road. There were no cracks or potholes in the pavement that needed repair. Did someone’s brother-in-law’s company need a new job? *Shrugs*
Let’s keep our roads up, but let’s only do repairs that are needed and make sense. When we do, let’s get with it and get the job done.
We have to keep building new roads—freeways, interstate highways, state roads—all sorts of roads. We keep adding to our population, at least here in Texas, which means more drivers, which means we must have both new and improved roads. I understand that.
What I don’t understand is why we have to tear up 20 or 30 miles of road at a time, bottlenecking traffic for that entire duration, so that we can build a quarter of a mile a week, or whatever the rate is. Traffic along the entire 20 or 30 mile stretch is slowed down for however long it takes to build that section.
Why can’t we tear up a mile or two, build that, and then tear up the next mile or two? Why must we creep along mile after mile after mile, looking at total inactivity almost the entire distance?
Of course, it’s a given that if a crew is working on a road there will be at least two people standing around watching for each one who is actually working. I guess all of us taxpayers can enjoy paying for that.
In the 1860s, we build a railroad all the way from Omaha to Sacramento in only four years. In that same era, the Suez Canal was built in ten years. These were mammoth undertakings, but they were built expeditiously and quickly.
Today, it may take as long as the Suez Canal took just to get EPA approval of a construction project. Although we have much better equipment now than 150 years ago, we have a couple of different freeway/tollway projects going on here locally that will take longer than the entire transcontinental railroad to build.
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