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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have you taken a road trip lately from Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area to Houston Texas???

Google Map -Spokane Washington to Houston Texas

I recently took a "road trip" across a portion of the United States, from Spokane, Washington to Houston, Texas. We traveled through the following states:  Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.  I have to say, that I have never driven that far non-stop and until now I never fully realized the "state" of the current highway conditions. Most of the way, the highway posted speed limit was 75 mph.  From what I saw, the problems appear to be across the nation or at least a large proportion of it.  I couldn't help but think, about the dilemma we are facing with the transportation funding, and I thought about how critical it is to maintain the integrity and foundation of our highways.

I found that after driving for 36 hours straight (while trying to sleep and switch off with the other two drivers), I could barely sleep, due to all the road noise... bumps in the road, changes in the texture or vertical profile of the pavement (dropping from one grade to another), grooved pavement that pulled the car in two directions at once, alligator cracks, irregularly patched pavement areas, and long stretches of highway with expansion joints in the concrete going "bumpity bump, bump", every 50 feet or so.  Thank goodness, all the noise, kept me "quite awake" for 32 of the 36 hours that we drove.

Surprisingly, many of the highway corridors we traveled were freight trucking corridors.  I can't remember when I've seen so many semi-trucks on a highway at one time and at all hours of the day. I've also never seen congestion as I did, as when we arrived in Houston, Texas.  Too many people (2.2 million) and not enough highway lanes to drive in.

Almost There to Houston, Texas

I don't have the answers, I am just a transportation planner with no influence on the transportation funding or the budget of our country, but I can't help but feel concerned. 

I just hope it gets figured out, and soon!

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