Monday, May 15, 2006

Open letter

May 15, 2006

To: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation

From: Concerned Taxpayer

Re: Marquette Interchange project

The Marquette Interchange project ( “mchange”) coordinated by your office is an incredible feat of civil engineering that I have the crappy luck privilege of participating in first hand, not only on my daily commute, but from my very office window. What an honor it has been to witness the backhoe knocking one of our light standards over onto several parked cars, the swirling clouds of asthma-inducing yellow dust filling the air, settling on cars and seeping through our office windows, and the myriads of earnest construction workers starting at the stroke of 7 a.m. and knocking off precisely at 3 p.m. diligently striving to keep the project on schedule.

I am concerned, however, about the state of the on-ramp nearest my office. It is apparent that your office plans to save on demolition costs by letting the 8th Street on-ramp fall apart on its own. The urge to forego ongoing repairs to a structure that will be replaced within the next two years is understandable; yet, there is a situation brewing that simply must be addressed. In short, the on-ramp has developed The Pothole That Could Eat Milwaukee.

The crumbling of the concrete guardrails on the freeway itself is not an issue; those loose chunks of concrete are out of the drive lanes and generally only cause deep pitted dents and broken windshields minor scratches. But TPTCEM is directly under the left side wheel line of the road bed, and is positioned at a point where the on-ramp is one lane wide, with (crumbling) guard rails on either side. The choices available to the astute driver are:

1. Swerve to either side to avoid the pothole, driving through the (crumbling) rail to land on the street below.
2. Continue on a straight course, hopeful that the car will not simply disappear into the pothole, never to be seen again.

Fortunately, I have a small car, and was able to maneuver around the hole tonight without serious damage to anything but my nerves. The Astro van behind me, I fear, was not as lucky.

Please, I beg you, use the $XXXX in taxes I paid this year to fill in TPTCEM. If it is not enough to pay for the supplies needed for the repair, I’m sure the accumulated construction mud on the undercarriage of my car may be enough to fill the hole, and I am confident we can scrape enough tar off of the car to patch the surface.

Jane Q Public

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