Tuesday, February 08, 2011

First-World Priorities

-or-

10,000 Whiskey Miles of Hot Southern Blacktop*

Truth: Georgia has some of the best roads in the United States of America.

I think I realized this when they re-paved the FJ Torras Causeway from Brunswick to St. Simons Island. I'd driven on that road for a decade, and didn't think it was in any state of disrepair. This was part of an ongoing project where they also widened and resurfaced the Highway 25 spur from I-95 to US-17, and then widened and resurfaced that road from at least the spur to the new $65 million Sydney Lanier Bridge, named after a poet and opened in 2003.

(I think they're still 3-laning I-95 south of town. That project has been going on since I was in high school, to run 95 to three lanes from South Carolina to Florida.)

All this for a county in Coastal Georgia that has a population of less than 80,000 people. Or, slightly larger than New Orleans East.

Over the years, I've seen this construction. The road foundations are laid deep in concrete, reinforced with rebar, more concrete and then topped with asphalt. It takes a while but these roads appear to last.

Or, they last longer - and have less potholes - than roads where the asphalt is poured less than four inches thick directly on top of alluvial mud in a city with a suspect drainage situation.

* Mentally image a black 1977 Pontiac Firebird moving at blistering rate of speed down a two lane road over red hills, shaking the tin roofs of houses in the sticky July heat. Doppler effect of Allman Brothers' guitar solo on AM radio static.

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2 comments:

Dante said...

Truth: Georgia has some of the best soil to lay road foundations on in the United States of America. Even in South Georgia where it's not straight red clay, it's still better than the black dirt and rocks you get in Louisiana.

Any state south enough to have to worry about the heat more than the cold is going to build roads more or less the same way. Those same Georgia roads would last a fraction of the time in New Orleans because in New Orleans the ground will shift underneath the roads.

"The road foundations are laid deep in concrete, reinforced with rebar, more concrete and then topped with asphalt. It takes a while but these roads appear to last. "

I was driving to the DFW airport recently where they are working on TX 114/121. That construction is just as impressive as anything I've seen Georgia do. And I saw something curious at the construction site: trucks full of red clay. I wonder if they're trying to emulate our soil conditions? I guess we'll find out in about 10 years.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Georgia does have some really good soil upon which to lay down roads, and that is something New Orleans lacks.

However, I refuse to think that there is not a way to get this done. Baton Rouge and Lafayette have similar, if not exactly the same, soil conditions and the roads I've driven on in those towns seem far more stable.