I just got back from L.A., and I think my spleen is bruised. Or perhaps some other organ is hurting after jiggling through the pavement landscape of southern California en route to the American Concrete Pavement Association's annual meeting in Indian Wells.
Pretty much every stretch of route I rolled on had my car convulsing at an alarming rate. I cannot remember a moment's relief from all the shaking. I understand that the state of California is going through a budget crisis the size of King Kong, but I also know several referendums have been passed over the years to help improve the transportation system. The cause of the bumps were not pothole in nature, either. So what caused them? Is it due to seismic activity in the region, or simply poor design and/or construction? I would like to think the former is to blame rather than the latter, but I am not very confident.
I also noticed all of the smog-covered overhead street signs dotting the scenery. At least, I assumed the brown-colored muck smothering the green was due to smog. With tougher retroreflectivity standards coming in to play, I am also assuming Caltrans will have to pay a heavy price to replace them all in the coming years. So much for investing in the pavement.
I also noticed the lack of the traveler-information signs I am used to seeing during my travels throughout the Midwest. Somehow I managed to find a Wendy's to soothe my grumbling stomach. Or perhaps it was just bothered by all the shaking?
As you can tell, I am not a big fan of SoCal, and I think the state can do a little more to satisfy the every day traveler. I'm not so sure I will take my spleen with me the next time I tackle those roads.
Bill Wilson is the editorial director of ROADS & BRIDGES magazine and has been covering the industry since 1999. He has won seven Robert F. Boger Awards for editorial excellence, including three in 2011. He also was the creator of the Top 10, Contractor's Choice Awards and Recycling Awards platforms, as well as ROADS & BRIDGES Live.