I haven’t made too big a deal about the state of America’s highways – and wasn’t going to – until the past day of travel had us spending an inordinate amount of time (delays) either running on the shoulder of freeways under repair and generally down at 45 miles per hour.
We noted the road we took through Oklahoma Sunday morning was bumpy and lumpy but it was at least made out of concrete.
On I-80, what is going down is asphalt of some kind. You can smell the oil and the hot tar as you (eventually) get past what’s holding people up.
And that’s the trouble with America: When we do get around to working on our roads, we don’t go first class. Steerage is more like it. Asphalt is like crack cocaine in that once you put it on, it will have to be reapplied again and again. Which means road work contracts into eternity and, lest we forget, state highway agencies that bloat beyond belief.
Toss in the planned destruction of concrete highways by allowing people to put studded tires on and you’ve got another recipe for eternal debt and damnation.
The right surface for a highway is concrete. The plain tires will work just fine.
But six months from now, the general public will be wailing and crying about how cold it is and how slippery the roads are, even if they find one made of concrete.
So out will come the sanding trucks – which do a peachy job of taking off the layer of cement on top. And this then exposed the rock (aggregate).
From here it gets even better: Because the rocks that are exposed to the studded tires quickly become polished and thus more slippery and up go the accident rates.
Quick, hire more people to study that problem, would you?
And to top it off, let’s put the very worst thing for concrete all over it: Salt. And now let’s freeze and give in to the studded tire people who believe in some God-given right to grind off public roads.
People who, I might add, should not be on the streets in the first place if conditions are that dangerous, or if they can’t learn to drive with their brain instead of their brakes.
It’s all about how Americans don’t think.
We look at every project and problem like it’s the highway mess. “The best answer is the cheapest one,” says the political class.
They don’t build light rail. They don’t extend people movers. And we all know why all the L.A. street cars were torn up: Because GM wanted to sell diesel busses. Here came smog and there went the first light rail systems.
It would be largely laughable, except on two counts.
First is that we continue to re-elect idiots to office who don’t get questioned about their inability to look at old problems in new ways.
The second is that the people who vote in this country must be even dumber than the quacks we put in office.
If America had done things right, it would not have taken 2.5 hours to go 10 miles on I-35W in Ft. Worth this weekend.
I’ve been meaning to mention this disaster in urban design for several years. I think it has been about five years since “highway improvements” began in Fort Worth.
It is so miserably bad that I’ve thought about recommending (to anyone who would listen) that the City close down all tourism promotion until the damn roads are built.
Still, There Is Hope
Two roads that I strongly recommend you take if you get a chance when you’re out and about looking for sane people in the U.S.: The canyon road from Flagstaff, Arizona down through the town of Sedona.
The other one was Monday’s ride from the I-80-I-64 split at Echo, Utah down to Ogden, Utah where we are this morning. Take the time to pull over at “The Devil’s Slide” which is an amazing feature.
Bet you will never guess who didn’t stop for a picture, but it’s developing in a weak solution of gray matter.
A Kind Word About Oklahoma
I mis-wrote. Since it is such a rare thing, I thought I’d amplify the reader correction that noted Oklahoma’s governess stopped the state cops from scanning money in people’s cars if they looked sketchy and like they might have something to do with drugs.
I apologize for the Oklaholdup moniker, as well but only for now.
Bad government is a growth industry so no telling what will happen when the next “sharp” comes to power up there.
On this one, several Colorado readers objected to the idea that the state would vote in the Bolshevik healthcare plan with it’s 10% payroll tax and a 10% state income tax.
“We’re smarter than that” a reader insisted.
Regrettably, while UrbanSurvival readers do have above room temp IQ’s (with the exception of some of our trolls) there are ever-more free lunchers.
I heard an ad on the radio again today again “selling” free phones for unemployed people so they could “stay in touch.”
If you’re a Peoplenomics subscriber, go look up the article from a couple of years ago in the Master Index titled “Dr. Ron’s Leisure Class.” I think we’re making the conversion to a 100% useless citizenry that is totally dependent on government already.
With almost 95-million people out of the workforce is there any other alternative?
The one thing I have been noodling on the trip when there’s a lull in the conversation is “What the Panic of 1909 Key?”
Very interesting notion and we’ll get into that tomorrow. But that is still three states from here.
Miles to go before we sleep and such…
Write when you get rich,