The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

April 3, 2009

Pothole City


I MAY BE A SMUCK, BUT I ALMOST GOT SMACKED FRIDAY WHILE DRIVING TO WORK.

Such is the poor state of affairs in our Winterpeg, with the unbelievably long, cold winters and the spring thaw, that potholes are an annual hazard which I have never seen this bad.

I'm driving north on Route 90, also known at different portions as Kenaston Boulevard or Century Street, from my south Winterpeg neighbourhood to my office at the newspaper I work for.

I'm in the middle lane of a three-lane, horribly kept up major thoroughfare that runs north and south just west of downtown.

It's a major truck route for truckers coming up from the U.S. and it's a chronic eyesore and a traffic disaster.

I'm in the middle lane because I want to avoid the two lanes on either side of me, which I know are more prone to potholes.

I am driving defensively during rush hour, wary of the danger to life, limb, car suspension etc. that they pose.

In one nano-second, a pickup truck just ahead of my car in the left lane hits a pothole covered by water, spraying it all over my windshield and completely and utterly blinding me for a moment.

But not before I had seen a lane-wide chasm right in front of me, too late for me to slow down for and avoid.

Blinded and bumped simultaneously by water and my own pothole hell, I apply the brakes and quickly turn on the windshield wipers.

Still moving, but my windows now clear, I find myself in the right lane instead of the middle lane.

If there had been another car there, I would have been in a collision or I might have been hit from behind. I wasn't, and continued on to work.

When I got there, I hatched an idea for a story and video presentation. It's all over our front page Saturday and on our website.

I suggested it at the Friday morning news meeting: Our own pothole cam on our website.

I described my own incident and suggested we send our video editor, Tyler Walsh, out on the road to film that series of pot-holes on Route 90.

And that we package it with a story in our Saturday paper on potholes in Winterpeg this spring, which has been a brutal spring weather-wise, making the pothole problem worse than it usually is.

Our vid team did not film the particular stretch of Route 90 that I almost died on (yeah, so I'm exaggerating) but they did film another less busy road.

That vid is on my sidebar, over there on the right, because I couldn't figure out how to post it right into this story. Just click on it.

If you want to go right to our website to see the vid in its proper size, which would be a lot better, click on this:

It's funny and amazing, really.

And while all this was going on, I heard some Canada geese honking Friday afternoon, a lonely, cold, no doubt befuddled mating pair, wondering what the heck they were thinking flying back up here early to mate in THIS grey, gloomy, cold place.

If they were out of sorts, I can empathize.

17 comments:

  1. Those two looked like they were having fun checking out the potholes! Although, it might've been a different story if they weren't using an SUV. Great story idea. And the gov't usually takes quick action when potholes are featured in the news. Citizens hate potholes and the elected a-holes who do nothing about them.

    I'm glad you survived the potholes on your drive. That is the worst feeling when a puddle of dirty water gets sloshed on your windshield, blinding your view.

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  2. Eroswings:

    Tyler's a pretty serious guy, Joe's just wild. I wish they would have included a clip about the spot I almost got smacked in, though.

    The city has already spent more on pothole repair to this point than it did last year and I don't even SEE any repairs.

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  3. Tyler comes across as very professional (and is a cutie too), but Joe... well, Joe should remain silent and behind the camera. Was he drunk or stoned? What's with the sunglasses while talking into the camera? And he seems to sorta slur his words a little.

    I'm sure they could have found some worse areas. There are definitely worse areas around here.

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  4. Anna:

    Strangely enough, I never contemplated whether Tyler is a cutie.

    Joe's not drunk or anything, that's just the way he talks, yes he likes the sunglasses look, I could never live so dark.

    The whole point of the vid WAS to make it light, with banter back and forth.

    They had to have two people -- one driving and one doing the videography. I think it worked.

    Montreal has worse areas than Winnipeg? We'll have to have a pothole showdown!

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  5. Woah, that's some nasty potholes. That's the kind of road you need a motorbike or scooter on - it's much easier to dodge stuff when you only have two wheels to think about!

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  6. Stace:

    I imagine Australia does not encounter these problems.

    The reason we do is the brutally cold winter we have followed by the hot summer.

    In a climate of drastic extremes, the frost and cold has horrible effects on the roads when the thaw comes.

    Oh, to have Australia's warmth. But it is what it is.

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  7. Cities in Australia don't really have that problem... but the roads in rural areas aren't too crash hot!

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  8. I am glad you're okay dude, and how cool is it that you have a print and a video story out of that!?!

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  9. Stace:

    Well OF COURSE Australian cities don't have this problem! Does it EVER go below freezing there?

    Seriously, when you live in a climate that goes down to -40C in winter and, potentially, up to 40C in summer, the weather does dastardly deeds on your infrastructure.

    And when you're in a city that isn't oil-rich or full of wads of cash, it's not about finding a solution to fix the problem, it's about just doing your best to fix it every spring.

    The cold gets deep into our roads, freezes them solid, and with the thaw, it's total chaos and havoc.

    Potholes are one result. All they do is fill them with tar and gravel, smooth them over for the summer, and when the cold hits again in November for 5-6 months, the cycle begins again.

    Sigh.

    Angel:

    I'm glad they went with the idea and had fun with it. As much fun as you CAN have with it.

    :-)

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  10. You should also add potbelly sightings.

    All the roads in downtown Puerto Vallarta are rough stone hobnobby thingamabobs but their highways are better than ours..of course they don't get 6 feet of frost.

    I've always wondered if major cities in similar climates have better roads...they must?

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  11. Donnnnn:

    And the first would be yours!!! Ha ha ha ha!

    It's incredible to me how Mexico's highways can be better than ours.

    It's like we're a Third World country or something with New World tax rates combined with -40C temps. I guess that's our reality.

    Edmonton and Calgary roads are way better than ours in the spring, that I know, and I can't imagine Saskatoon and Regina being worse.

    Anna was saying that Montreal has worse potholes than ours...

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  12. Potholes are everywhere, but then so are ... well anyway. I am recovering from a total car accident. Second car of mine completely gone because of a crazy Michigan driver. Thank God I going home. Be careful out there, we do not want to see you hurt.

    T

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  13. Tara:

    I thought you had left us forever...I'm glad you haven't.

    But what do you mean, you are "recovering?" Do you mean you were physically hurt or you're recovering from the emotional trauma etc.?

    You're going home...from the hospital, or to NC from Michigan? (Note that NC beat Mich in the final of March Madness).

    :-)

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  14. Recovering physically and mentally. I am home now, but moving back to my hometown. I am hoping the change will do me good.

    I could never leave you forever.

    Soft love,
    T

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  15. Tara:

    :-)

    All the best in your recovery, in every way.

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  16. For a moment there I thought you'd sent your crew to my town! Yep! We, too, have some axle-breakers. Coupled with bad driving...
    (There is a gang here called "Potholes R Us" and apparently, if you call them, them come along with their tar truck and fix the hole. Not sure how the payment works!)

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  17. Tara:

    :-)

    Warm hugs and all the best with the move.

    Dinah:

    Well that's what we need here, maybe...a private company to fix all these potholes.

    But then, of course, I'd want my city taxes reduced. And we know that ain't happenin.

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