There is a patch of road between my home and my workplace that the town decided needed repaving. So they ground off the top layer of asphalt, pulled up the sidewalks, regraded the dirt under the sidewalks, and then let the site sit.
For a couple of months.
A week or so ago, someone must have looked at a calendar and started to worry, because they slapped some new asphalt down in the center of the road, but left the edges as is. The sidewalks are still dirt, and regrading is temporary if left exposed; there’s a small washout around a pipe outlet now, and some ground-in debris from when a local homeowner tried to put a pile of loose branches from his fall yard work out with his regular trash, and the occasional drift of leaves.
It snowed briefly yesterday morning. That patch of road is done for the year.
Those unpaved edges are rough already. What will they be like after a dozen rounds of snowplowing? Will the new asphalt peel back up around the edges? In chunks, maybe? Will the sidewalks even be passable? Will the weakly secured curb-stones come out and wander around in the street?
And next year, when the town wants to raise property taxes and the state wants another “transportation” bond to “fix” “our” “crumbling roads and bridges,” what will our answer be? The same as usual, I suspect: to sigh and fork over more money and trust that Our Betters Know What They’re Doing.
In my more cynical moments, I wonder if that’s by design — whether the roads are left crumbling in spots as an advertising tactic. I used to ignore that possibility, preferring to believe that the town had just mismanaged its projects, but Hanlon’s Razor is starting to dull from overuse.