Friday, August 28, 2009

Today's dispatch from the Ivory Tower

Comes from the Lexington Herald Leader's Tom Eblen, regarding the Newtown Pike Extension project.  According to Eblen, fellow Ivory Tower dwellers, Graham and Clive Pohl "sounded the alarm" about above ground utilities that were to be placed in the area.  Whew!  That was close!  This project almost got started!  SOUND THE ALARM!!!!!!!
I support the idea of burying utility lines, in the general "yeah thats a good idea" sort of way.  I also appreciate the TREMENDOUS cost associated with burying certain types of lines, and in certain places it just not being feasible. That's called having a basis in reality, otherwise known as something not to be concerned with when opining from the Ivory Tower.
If kudos are in order for all the elected officials who made this happen, and in all likelihood are the same ones that shot the idea down when it was recommended by some poor engineer in a meeting 10 years ago, then fine, give them their positive press they so fervently seek.  But let's talk about the practical impact of making changes to a Federal Highway project at this stage of the game.
When you make changes to a project as complicated as the Newtown Pike Extension, you affect funding from every level of government.  You affect environmental impact statements that take months to re-approve, you affect right-of-way needs that could seriously impact road alignments and property buyouts.   Just deciding to bury utility lines can have a tremendous ripple effect through the entire project.  There are politicians already who have had about enough of funding this project and many more delays could jeapardize the whole thing.  When it takes too long to get some results on the ground that they can take credit for, suddenly their support can shift to something more immediate.  This project deserves to be done now.  The time for line-item changes is way in the past.
You see, what royally pisses me off about Statler and Waldorf sounding off from the peanut gallery is that there are currently a few dozen people living in trailers down in Davis Bottom.  They've been yanked and pulled and cajoled by officials for decades about this project.  They've given up their homes, some without floors and proper plumbing to go along for the ride.  They deserve to get what they've been promised, because I swear to you, they live in The Land that Time Forgot. They don't have lawyers looking out for their interests, and in most cases they don't have politicians doing that either.  The vast majority of Lexington doesn't know that little area even exists.  Nor are many people aware of just how much work has been done to accomodate these folks.  This is way more than just a highway project.  I don't support any changes that put this project at risk, whether it is utility lines or gorgeous new overpasses that span Manchester St.  It's time to build the damn road, and get the residents of Davis Bottom back into their homes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Site Meter