Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hello, and might I introduce myself: My name is I- 5, and I live in Seattle.

by guest blogger Jamie Holter

I recently celebrated my 50th birthday. Happy birthday to me, right? Thing is, I’m starting to feel my age and, frankly, I’m starting to look it, too. My genes are good. I come from a long line of rock-solid Cascade gravel. I’ve been told that I have held up longer than most highways my age across the country. Those who have cared for me, WSDOT maintenance crews, have done an excellent job of keeping me humming along. They are so attentive and watch over me constantly.

But like I said, I’m feeling old. I look old. Cracks, potholes, even entire sections of my body are simply falling apart, especially in one of the spots that matters most: the University District, where you have to look and feel your best. More than 250,000 vehicles a day –cars, trucks, vehicles with Boeing airplane parts, cars with studded tires – run roughshod over me. Yes, I know it’s my job. But still. I need a little lift. How can I be the backbone of my economy when I look and feel so…old.

But here’s the good news: In time for my 50th birthday (give or take a couple years)  in late spring, WSDOT is giving me the concrete version of Dermabrasion and a Botox treatment. Every Friday night for the next two months on southbound I-5 between NE 50th Street and Lakeview Boulevard, they’ll bring out an industrial strength diamond grinder to smooth my surface. They plan to take anywhere from a ½ inch to ¾ inch off the top.  This will get rid of the small cracks that can lead to big cracks, which means more costly face work later. In fact, if it gets too bad, not even major surgery will help. I could be looking at an entire emergency face transplant.  I don’t have the budget (or the coverage) for that.

They will also give the worst-of-the-worst sections a little Botox-like treatment. Between you and me, I have more than 32 concrete panels that must be completely replaced, but that’s all I can afford right now.

I’ve heard it’s a little painful on the ears. I mean, it’s noisy, but it’s only Friday nights. (Thanks, guys, for letting me sleep through the work week and doing all the work on Friday night when I get to sleep in on Saturday.) 

Yes, I realize that my siblings Alaskan Way and SR 520 Floating Bridge are in worse shape and more vulnerable than I am. That’s why they get to be replaced first. But I am hoping that this lift which will last about 10 years and can get me to my 60th birthday, when WSDOT plans to give me the billion dollar, full replacement that I really deserve after everything I’ve done for everybody.

I do plan to live to be 100, you know.


Bridget said...

Sometimes, I think about what our freeways would look like if everyone died and nature took it's course. How soon until the wind would blow enough dirt on the road for plants and trees to take root? But then I push that out of my mind...I'm pretty sure there are Roman roads from the ancient times that are still uncovered.

The Geezer said...

Deep thoughts, Bridgit. You ever go over to less used roads in E. WA in the springtime? Yup, there is plenty of detrious growing in the cracks, until the heat of the summer sun does them in.

As far as botox and dermabrasion, only the blog post author would think of such. I prefer "pavement grinding", so much like the men who drive those Boeing parts, and the Geezer get a grinding driving over those surfaces.

You guys hear Mizzzz Holter doing her pavement grinding machine imitation on KOMO radio last week? Most excellent, sounded like the real thing.

Ok, gotta go do penance, having said something nice about WSDOT and it's employees.

The Geezer

Anonymous said...

Check out the ghost ramps on the West side of the 520 bridge. They've never been used for cars. Plants grow through them. People used to use them to jump into the lake.

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