California’s Roads and Highways are Crumbling

By | 2017-02-25T13:53:08+00:00 February 25th, 2017|
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Did you hear about the freeway that ate the firetruck? It’s no joke.

The big storm that rolled through on Feb. 17 had most of us nervously eying the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam. But the torrential rains have also played havoc with the roads, with sinkholes and potholes the size of Volkswagens appearing at alarming rates up and down the state.

And so San Bernardino County firefighters watched helplessly the other Friday night as one of their engines tumbled off the side of Interstate 15 in Southern California. They were on scene to assist with a big rig that the freeway had already claimed. I-15, of course, is the main thoroughfare between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

About 90 miles to the southwest in the Los Angeles suburb of Studio City, a 20-foot sinkhole appeared on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, taking two cars and injuring one driver.

This wasn’t the first time recently that the roads have opened up and pitilessly taken a few cars in the process. In July 2015, a bridge along Interstate 10 between Palm Springs and the Arizona state line suddenly collapsed and partly washed away during a freak storm. An investigation later found that the bridge had at least four crucial design flaws that led to its failure.

No doubt about it: Our roads are terrible. Everyone knows this. Crawling or idling in bumper-to-bumper traffic every day is a fact of life for millions of commuters. A recent study by a private transportation analytics firm ranked L.A. traffic as the worst in the world. (Although, in fairness, the study didn’t include China.)

It’s also the case that California’s roads and highways are crumbling faster than work crews can repair them. Municipal road workers cannot patch and fill quickly enough, even when the weather is congenial.

Fun fact: Caltrans in 2015 received 4,106 claims from motorists for pothole damage. The agency paid just 423 of them. Why so few? Because most of the responsibility falls to cities, which lack the manpower and the money to keep up with demand. For a city like L.A., the tab will run into the hundreds of millions, if not billions.

And statewide? It’s a $500 billion problem. Easily. . . .

Read the rest in the Sacramento Bee

About the Author:

Ben Boychuk
Ben Boychuk is managing editor of American Greatness. He is a regular columnist with the Sacramento Bee, a weekly syndicated columnist with Tribune Media, and a veteran of several publications, including Investor's Business Daily and the Claremont Review of Books. He lives in California.
  • AEJ

    It just hasn’t been presented ‘properly’, Ben.
    Here’s how they can be enticed:

    1) Every ‘undocumented alien’ and every legal immigrant, regardless of income, is given a free autonomous vehicle every 5 years. Oh hell, that’s not compassionate, make it three years.
    2) If you’re an ‘undocumented alien’ or a legal immigrant and a registered Democrat, or register as one upon taking ownership of your free vehicle, you also get fee-free registration and an insurance policy with no life time limit for as long as you remain so.
    3) If you’re an ‘undocumented alien’ or legal immigrant and you vote, you also get a gas card entitling you to a free fill up twice a week.

  • alinla56

    …sinkholes and potholes the size of Volkswagens appearing at alarming rates up and down the state

    And by “alarming rate” you mean three such incidents in the last three years in a state that has 39 million people traveling on 400,000 miles in roadway miles stretching over 163,694 square miles.

    Left uninsured:

    How does Calif. compare to other states in this area?
    How much of the damage is attributable to natural disasters?
    How does 4,100 damage claims in a state of 39 million people constitute a major problem?

    Our roads are terrible. Everyone knows this.

    Sorry, Ben Boychuk, but “Everyone knows this” is NOT the standard real journalists use. You have offered a few anecdotes but overall, some pretty sloppy and incomplete reporting. Just more garden variety California bashing from conservatives infuriated by the this bluest of blue states economic success

  • alinla56

    …sinkholes and potholes the size of Volkswagens appearing at alarming rates up and down the state

    And by “alarming rate” you mean three such incidents in the last three years in a state that has 39 million people traveling on 400,000 miles in roadway miles stretching over 163,694 square miles.

    Left unaddressed:

    How does Calif. compare to other states in this area?

    How much of the damage is attributable to natural disasters?

    How does 4,100 damage claims in a state of 39 million people constitute a major problem?

    Our roads are terrible. Everyone knows this.

    Sorry, Ben Boychuk, but “Everyone knows this” is NOT the standard real journalists use. You have offered a few anecdotes but overall, some pretty sloppy and incomplete reporting. Just more garden variety California bashing from conservatives infuriated by the this bluest of blue states economic success

    • So the following paragraphs, including the bit about $296 billion in deferred maintenance, seemed to wash over you? Do you actually DRIVE in California?

      • alinla56

        As a reader, I want to know what constitutes “deferred maintenance” and who makes the decision to defer it? I also want to know how that $296 bil. stacks up against other states? (On a per capita basis, of course.) ARE the roads in Ca. appreciably worse than, say, Miss. or Nev. ? You don’t say. And that undermines your argument, my friend.

        Full disclosure: I did not initially make the jump to the full piece in the Bee because it was evident that you aim was a cheap shot at the Golden State. AND yes I have lived in SoCal for 16 years and drive the roads everyday. I am a NYC trans-plant who would advise YOU to traverse the BQE or the Van Wyck, if you want to know from awful roads.

        (I appreciate your response.)

      • Aaron1960

        Hasn’t Moonbeam’s admin been purposefully diverting road monies in a quest to somehow ‘convince’ motorists to embrace his desire named streetcar?