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take your detour and shovel it

19 December, 2007

So I’m extremely frustrated with the Adair County roads department. They decided that it would be a good idea to rip out a bridge for replacement on one of the main paved roads in the county. In December.

It happens to be the road that I use to get to the interstate from home, and despite the fact that the road crew tends to do a less than tip-top job clearing it of snow and ice, it tends to work out okay. Now, however, I get the distinct displeasure of driving on gravel roads for the detour of four miles. This is a problem for a number of reasons.

First, gravel roads are bad news for your car. The dust gets into small cracks and crevices and can cause issues. The gravel itself chews up your tires in a bad way.

Second, gravel roads aren’t as safe as a paved road with lines painted on it. For some reason, people think that they will be the only person on these roads, thus driving either 2.2 miles per hour or a bazillion miles per hour right down the middle of the road.

Third, the road crews don’t bother to do a good job on gravel roads. Ever. With all of the ice we’ve had, gravel roads can still be quite slick despite the myth that the gravel “adds traction.” When the roads go unplowed, the portion of the road that is acceptable for a car like mine is severely diminished, forcing me to drive unsafely because I have to stay in the middle of the road to avoid getting pulled every which way by snow and slush. It also becomes unclear where the edge of the road is when they don’t plow.

Finally, the gravel roads upon which I am now required to drive have a serious tendency to drift shut. (Especially since the plows don’t generally run on them until days after a snowstorm.) This can mean getting your car stuck, or barrelling through snow trying your damndest to make it to the paved road. Either way, not satisfactory.

Do these people have no common sense? Not only do they close a fairly safe route to the interstate in the middle of winter, they force us to drive on subpar roads that jeapardize our safety every minute we are on them. I want to know if the bridge was so bad that it couldn’t wait, why wasn’t it done sooner? And if it wasn’t so bad and they could have waited until April, why didn’t they?

I have a sneaking suspicion that I will be waiting until April to use the normal, safe, paved road that I usually drive on, and that’s absolutely ridiculous.

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