Saturday, September 12, 2015

Irritated With Infrastructure

One of Casper's many closed roads, due to construction.

You can't get there from here.

Or at least it seems that way.

I realize that a person is not supposed to complain about improvements or repairs to infrastructure.  Indeed, a person is supposed to be worried about how little of this occurs in the United States.

But you wouldn't realize that from around here.

Due to a really weird fluke in budgeting all sort of heavy construction that normally takes place in the summer commenced just before Fall.  This isn't the fault of the contractors, I'm sure they'd rather work in summer, when they have more help and better weather, but due to some budgeting oddity, it didn't happen that way.

And I should really be glad for all this work being done, particularly when state revenues are declining and there's a real danger now that such work might not be as well funded in the future.

But it's easy to forget that on the way to work.  I now can no longer easily get anywhere in town as there's so much road and sewer construction going on.   I should grit my teeth and bare it, but it's easier to whine.

Much of the sewer work being done is being funded by Natrona County's .01 Cent sales tax, which generates a lot of revenue at next to no pain for local residents. Signs have been put up reminding us of where the money came from, but early in the morning, before the coffee kicks in, that might not send the best message.

And in regards to signs, the School District put up a nice sign down by one of the high school construction projects about how that was budgeted.  That, however, irritates me as I can't help but continue to feel the pain over the loss of the pool at NCHS as it undergoes massive reconstruction.  It's not the only high school undergoing that, however, as KWHS is also undergoing reconstruction, and the third new campus that will serve them both is undergoing reconstruction.  Would that the strategy had been just to put in a new high school, and then perhaps necessary repairs and preservation of the pool could have been undertaken at the other schools, a more modest goal.

The reconstruction at the high schools themselves is slated to take years.  That also amazes me, as construction projects on public works that take years to complete baffle me.  They likely baffle me as I'm not an engineer and I have no knowledge of the real practicalities of heavy construction.  I looked it up, however, and I note the Pentagon only took 18 months to build.  But, in fairness, it would have taken years to build under normal circumstances, and World War Two was not normal.

So I have no real complaint there either, but I do wish the construction was complete.  Probably everyone does.  But I also wish it was complete with a pool at NC.

I also wish the highway construction just getting up and rolling (that fall thing again) west and east of town was complete.  There's construction now going in either direction. 

Here, on one project, I really have to wonder.  The state is building another bypass around the city, way out, under the concept that this relieves traffic that otherwise goes right into the city. But does it?  It seems to me that the main impact of bypasses is to direct development into a new area, so the plan never really works. 

If they are going to do it, however, and I wish in that case they were not, I do with they'd get it done. The one project, complete with a highway bridge, has been lingering in a state of incompletion for some time, and it's odd to now see it recommence.  Again, it's a budgeting thing.

The state is also doing something out by the area we call Government Bridge, but which maps like to call Trappers Route.  That rural area has undergone a slow development in recent years, but the project doesn't seem related to that.  It looks like a huge turnout for trucks is being built.  I hope that's all the more it is.

So, I guess I overall have no complaints here, but it's sure odd to experience all of this is the Fall of the year.

I guess, in context, Casper of the late teens and early 20s must have been a lot like this, as a huge amount of construction all over town was going on.

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