The Utah Department of Transportation has been operating in the immediate area of my work for the last several months. Their primary goal has been to disperse several million cubic feet of dust in the air and create significant inconvenience for everyone within a rough mile of the intersection. That mission has been accomplished, with laurels.
Of all the things I don’t like about summer (oppressive heat, hornets, sprinkler repair) the dramatic increase of road construction and repair might just be number one. The evil masters of UDOT have entered a new phase of their diabolical scheme for the road in front of this building: they seem to be positioning themselves to complete the project, although that remains to be seen. The tyrannical rule of our street has left us uncertain as to when the siege will end.
Without trying to exaggerate, I think this small reconstruction project has been ongoing for the last 37 months. But, if the celestial signs have been interpreted properly, we are very close to an end. The occupiers will move on to terrorize other streets and we will finally be free. Ironically, the road will look almost exactly the same as it did before, leading us to wonder what why it was necessary to begin with. The answer, as always, will be “infrastructure upgrading.”The siege continues, unhindered
It all leads to greater problems. A few weeks ago we had to replace the front windshield of my wife’s car thanks to a high velocity rock. Most of us are familiar with the heartbreak of windshield chips, but this mineral missile was moving fast enough to blow tiny shards of glass all over the interior of the vehicle.
A little over a year ago the same thing happened to the driver’s side fender of my wife’s car. The damage was significant enough that we had to take it to a body shop and claim it on our insurance. Between the windshield and the fender we have made two no-fault claims in the recent past, and I’m sure our folder has been moved to a special “high risk alert” section in a filing cabinet somewhere. Assuming it wasn’t the same rock carrying out a vendetta against us, these separate incidents have led me to ask two questions:
1. “What the eff going on around here?”
2. “Why does ‘infrastructure upgrading’ require so many rocks?”
I would like to rejoice in the ostensible completion of this moderate road reconstruction, but that will just free the crews to go tear up another road. I don’t know what their next target will be, because every road I drive on seems to be under construction, but I’m sure there is some corner of the valley that needs greater inconveniencing.
Still, it could be worse. My good friend Jeff lives on a street that has been under major reconstruction for over a year (without exaggerating this time). Every time I ask him about it he falls into a sort of faraway, haunted look and struggles to speak in rational or polite phrases.
Logically I understand that a society dependent on cars needs constant care of its roads. However, that logic doesn’t help when I am 20 minutes late everywhere I go. There must be a better way – a better system – that would allow for necessary road care and still provide the essential quality of convenience to drivers. Such a system must be reasonable and possible, right?
However, the answer is no. Such a system does not exist and will not anytime in the foreseeable future. We will remain under the thumb of the UDOT cabal and their cronies for many years to come. The best any of us can do is hope they finish the road nearest us sometime soon. It almost makes a person desperate enough to consider such radical, environmentally-friendly options as mass transportation. Almost.