I’m a curmudgeon, a cynic, a misanthrope, and a scoffer. I don’t believe in the unfettered altruism of any public servant sucking the blood from the public coffers.
They promote verbal solutions to problems they could instead solve if they simply got off their collective buttocks. Were they living in the real world, they’d be sitting in traffic immediately outside the ivory towers we know as the DOTD Building and other dustbin collectives of Progressive politics, failing to get the job done while sitting on soft butts and collecting hard money. The fact is, the “NEW” Bridge has been obsolete since the day they cut the ribbon opening it. This is because the motoring public grows DAILY as teenagers obtain driver’s licenses and parents give them cars.
DOTD should’ve been actively planning auxiliary routes (and here’s a radical thought): saving funds for the construction of another bridge to depressurize the “NEW” Bridge in the future. But no — everyone began accomplishing nothing to solve this problem for any motorist trying to get past Baton Rouge to points of civilization east of here. American truckers cringe at the idea of travelling Interstate 10 through West and East Baton Rouge to deliver goods through the only spot in the nation where traffic narrows to a single access lane (eastbound at Washington Street).
Now, DOTD is trying to convince us that spending 3.4 MILLION bucks to develop electronic signage advising us of the duration of our potential suffering, is a good idea. DOTD actually doing its job — planning new roadways and automotive routing, and poking our Congressional slackers and representatives to gain money for actually alleviating the problems – is, it appears, out of the question.
Local council representative Barry Hugghins said: “This is a good example of how dysfunctional DOTD is… [they] waste money to tell people how bad their misery is — I think they already know. I see this more as a sign of desperation that they don’t know what else to do.”
The Advocate’s Terry L. Jones quoted DOTD Spokesman Rodney Mallett as saying: “The network of signs is an important technological breakthrough and is an advancement of the ‘Intelligent Transportation System’ that provides travelers across the state with a lot of valuable information.”
Jones goes on to say: “The La. 1 sign will provide travel times from the sign’s location to the Interstate 110, U.S. 61 and U.S. 190 interchange. Mallett says its purpose is to herd drivers using La. 1 to get to the northern parts of Baton Rouge toward the old Mississippi River Bridge along U.S. 190.” What if you want to go south on I-10? (Crickets chirp.)
According to Mallett: “While the I-10 bridge is over capacity, the U.S. 190 bridge is underutilized.” But what if you want to go east on I-10? (More crickets chirping.)
This last statement shows the level of agnostic intellectualism directing our highway program. The “OLD” Bridge is in the midst of a years-long painting and refurbishment process requiring the closure of multiple lanes at any given time. Whenever traffic on the I-10 Bridge builds, there is an immediate back-up from the “OLD” Bridge to Port Allen. This happens on an almost daily basis.
Mr. Mallett would realize this if he pulled his head from his surveys and statistics and actually tried to exit West Baton Rouge on any day and at any hour after 2p.m. But I do not expect hyper-educated highway engineers to actually drive on highways they do not construct. The new governor (like every past governor before him) has access to helicopters and airplanes allowing him to arrive at political functions without being inconvenienced, thereby conveniently avoiding learning of situations and circumstances which disrupt taxpayers’ lives.
Alas, we have but ONE voice expressing our discomfort with the way DOTD wastes our time and money – that of Barry Hugghins, who says: “They’re going to spend [money] on a sign that’s not going to move anybody anywhere but tell them how bad their problem is? If you were a fiction writer, you’d have trouble making up this kind of stuff.”
Chris “Fish” Kershaw, our other councilman, issued his apologia to the throne of big government by contributing this pearl: “I work in Baton Rouge; I’m going over the bridge almost every day. If you tell me it’s going to be an hour to get to work, I’m probably going to turn around, go home and call in and tell my employer I’m going to come in later.”
Isn’t that special? Unfortunately, not everyone has such understanding employers. Many of us are docked for not being on the job. Some of us could be suspended or fired for excessive tardiness or absenteeism. That, Mr. Kershaw, means most people in this cruddy economy. And – surprise! surprise! – we are the people who are travelling across the “NEW” Bridge when it breaks down, almost without fail, DAILY.
Riley “PeeWee” Berthelot, our Parish President and one of the few people to advocate for sensible re-routing of traffic around the problem, said: “The money they’re spending … looks like we could have come up with some better solutions.”
I have yet to witness government offer solutions unless bureaucratic hacks see personal benefits in their ridiculous actions and/or don’t suffer the disruptions their inaction and incompetence create.
Let’s rent a dump truck and place everybody, from the governor down through the DOTD hierarchy, in the uncovered bed of that truck on a nice summer day so they can bake under a hot sun in stagnating, motionless congestion… or perhaps we could just disconnect the air-conditioning on their publicly financed drive-home vehicles as they sit on the “NEW” Bridge at high noon while stuck behind a lane-closing wreck.
Thanks for listening!