By U.S. Air Force Photo By/Josh Plueger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
(Not pictured: The apex of road planning and maintenance)
April 21, 2014 – There are stories all over radio, TV, newspaper, Facebook, and Twitter every day about how bad our roads are – and they are bad. In some ways, this is not news, just as the sun rising isn’t news. But it is, because almost nothing is being done to improve them. I appreciate the fact that the media has finally caught on to a story that should have been getting more publicity years ago and not just every spring. But, I have a problem with headline after headline that refers to improving our pavements as “fixing the potholes” or the need to develop “pothole plans.” No, that is not what we want or should aspire to!
I understand that it is the potholes – AKA the deplorable condition of the roads – that may finally spur some action by the legislature. What we need is a plan for a more permanent fix that will give us nice, smooth pavements that are properly maintained. To a transportation professional, filling potholes is a necessary evil. It is an extremely short-term action, a band-aid if you will, on an injury that requires stitches or surgery. It is not a solution; it is a life-saving action.
I would like to suggest a far more elevating goal than just filling the potholes, one that provides enough resources that if managed and spent properly will allow us to build, maintain, and then rebuild our roads without having potholes at all! Dreaming? Probably. But let’s dream big as long as we are dreaming.
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