Hoboken conundrum – How to end potholes?
Before we get started – let’s take a look at this diagram of the general explanation as to why potholes emerge in quantity during the winter season. The fundamental “scientific” reason is due to the melting and freezing of water within the “cracks” in the road, causing expanding, contracting and eventual weakening of the pavement. Same holds true for ice-dams in many roofs. But this does not explain how to end potholes in Hoboken. Has anyone ever thought of a better way to handle road surfaces in the long term?
A conspiracy? A racket? Planned obsolescence?
Hey, if you were a scheming business owner, you’d figure out a way to always have customers. Heck, they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. It’s called planned obsolescence.
We’ve written about planned obsolescence here on Hoboken411 it before. The Gillette Model. The Light Bulb. The Auto Industry.
You see, if companies made things that last – their “growth” would be limited for the most part. But having happy customers isn’t enough. They want MORE, and because of that greed, they purposely design things to wear out. Read more about how they knew how to make bulbs that lasted almost forever – but put the kibosh on it long ago.
Perhaps the same is true for road surfaces?
Maybe the entire “paving industry” is in cahoots with one another. A secret pact, so to say. That under no circumstances will a road be made well enough to last a couple decades or more. This way they ALWAYS have a new contract to bid on somewhere in New Jersey.
But surely you’ve seen good roads, right?
In a somewhat temperate area like NJ – where we have four distinct seasons of moderate climate swings – you can probably get away with it (the raping of property taxpayers).
But have you been to more extreme areas? Head up to Vermont – or even as close by as Pennsylvania. Drive across the border on Route 78. The minute you get into PA – the roads are ROCK solid, and they typically get more snow than NJ. No potholes. Smooth surfaces. They appear to be made of concrete or some kind of hybrid material. Why is that?
I guess the politicians were sick of the backlash and decided once and for all it’s no longer worth it for a few extra bucks in the back room. Time to start doing things right. If you want to stay in office to enjoy the other rackets no one has caught onto yet…
Better materials – better roads
So what is preventing Hoboken (and the rest of New Jersey for that matter) to develop a plan (or in most cases hire a “planner” for a costly “study”)?
I could probably spend an hour – or maybe even half a day to figure out that doing it right from the beginning, would probably save so much money and grief in such a short amount of time. I could come up with contractors, building materials, total cost and ROI (in rough draft) just like that.
Better building materials last longer. The return on investment here would probably be no more than a year or two (not 17 years like those dopey energy audits). Plus, good PR is priceless!
So why are they so cheap when it comes to roads? Are there nice favors being passed back and forth? A $20k envelope is nothing to laugh at. (Ask Peter Cammarano) Can buy you a nice vacation and help pay down some bills. More than enough to look the other way.
But over the past few years, Hoboken has relied on meager “grants” from either the county or the state, and were in the $500k ballpark. Which is why only 3% of our roads were paved in a given year.
What would your solution be to stop band-aiding the problem and come up with a long-term solution (hint: getting rid of cars and adding 1000 bike lanes is not the answer.)