A Drive Through Hell Friday Night Really Brought Home the Need for New Transportation Leadership in Georgia

  The trip up to Cumming Thanksgiving morning was, fortunately, uneventful. Heavy traffic, but no delays, even through the construction obstacle course the state continues to operate endlessly, but I cannot say the same thing for coming back Friday night. That was like a ride through hell. 

  Instead of continually adding lanes at billions of dollars expense, which is stupid, because all that does is encourage more cars to fill up the lanes, it would be nice if the highway department would concentrate on safety features on the ones we have. You know, things like repainting lane lines, and dotting them with reflectors so you can see them at night. Lines one can see at night when it’s raining would be very helpful. There were times when I couldn’t see the lines because they were so dull and dim, and the glare from the lights reflecting on a wet highway surface added to the problem.  We are talking six lanes of crazy Atlanta drivers on a rainy, slippery surface,  at night, and not being able to see the lane lines! Insanity!

  The construction obstacle course along the stretch that spans the Newnan and Grantville exits, really became a challenge Friday night. Two small lanes, walled in on each side by concrete barriers and idiots who slow down for nothing and come screaming by in their monster SUV’s and pickup trucks, make it a nightmare. Rain, glare from headlights, barriers that eliminate emergency lanes, and those idiots I just mentioned and you have to wonder why there aren’t more wrecks than there are. I was afraid I was going to sideswife one of those concrete barriers at any moment, and guess what, I did. As a monster truck came whizzing by, I moved over a little too far and learned there is a buffer that gives a little when you hit it so you don’t hit the actual concrete. Scared the hell out of me, though.  

  The best stretch of road was on I-185. The surface was smooth, and dark asphalt didn’t reflect headlights, the white lines were bright and contained adequate reflectors. It was the only decent Interstate section betweeen Columbus and Atlanta.  

  Somebody in Atlanta is crazy. Well, I’m sure it’s not just one person, but whoever is running the highway show seems to be stuck in the past. Just keep adding lanes and highways is their solution. Hey, that’s the way we’ve always done it. Detroit and the contractors who build the roads love it, but, as we have seen, Detroit lives in the past. Look how long it has taken them to start building cars that get high gas mileage and cut down down on air pollution. Hey, selling the monster SUVs and trucks worked a couple of years ago so why change until … it’s too late? Ever heard staying ahead of the curve, Detroit?

  Point is, highway pols,  stop adding lanes and make the ones you have safe, and start putting down rails. It’s the future. It’s going to have to be done.  Switch those billions from concrete to rails. Actually, they should be cheaper to lay than all of those millions of tons of concrete you’re pouring into road beds.  Look to places that have faced this problem a long, long time ago. Places like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut where commuters ride to work and home everyday on trains. A rapid rail line between Columbus and Atlanta would have people living in Columbus Commuting to Atlanta just as people who live in Connecticut commute to New York City.

  Barring a catastrophe like a plague, population is going to continue its rapid rate of increase. You can’t just keep adding cars and highways.  Yes, it will require people to change their habits. But, it can be done. It has to be done.  It’s going to be done.  Change is inevitable. In order to made it positive, get ahead of the curve, transportation honchos in Atlanta. Better yet, put some forward looking people in those positions of power. NOW!

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One Response to “A Drive Through Hell Friday Night Really Brought Home the Need for New Transportation Leadership in Georgia”

  1. Joann Locascio Says:

    Hi Dick,

    The reality of a rapid commuter rail from Columbus to Atlanta has been crushed. The line in Pine Mountain is being dismantled from rail to a trail! They’re in the process of it as we speak!

    Rob and I lived in Atlanta for a few years in the late ’90’s before we retreated back to Harris County/Columbus. It took me 40 minutes to drive 7 miles to work, where now it takes me 45-50 minutes to drive 35 miles to work. It was a great trade off and I get great gas mileage driving my Honda Civic Hybrid! There has always been opposition in Atlanta to extending the commuter rails to the suburbs because of the supposed decrease in property values and increase in crime along the rail area. P

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