Monday, November 06, 2006

Pet my peeve!

On Saturday as I was returning from a trip, I was driving westbound on Interstate 84. The time was about 5:15 PM, so it was starting to get November dark. It was also dumping rain and blowing wind something fierce.

At that time I was just coming out of Biggs Junction. Generally, a lot of truckers come through the Biggs area as its a hub for a couple of major state highways coming in from both Washington State and Oregon. This shuffling of truckers can make driving intimidating under the best of circumstances.

As I'm traveling westbound toward The Dalles, it begins to rain even harder. Traffic is somewhat sparse with the exception of the trucks leaving and entering the freeway. But I'm noticing that as it begins to rain harder and darkness forces the street lamps to come on, the striping on the road virtually vanishes.

On the west end of The Dalles, the street lamps disappear. It begins to rain so hard that the windshield wipers can barely keep up. Water has started to collect in the ruts in the freeway, causing the tires to hydroplane. Traffic is getting heavier. Oncoming headlights show up in long strands, blinding an already tenuous road view.

By now, the striping on the freeway can't be seen at all. The only thing keeping motorists in their appropriate lane are the little reflectors embedded in the asphalt.

Have we cut the ODOT budget so much that we can't afford to buy decent reflector paint to stripe this treacherous stretch of Oregon freeway?

Its not just 84 where I've noticed this lousy striping. The I-5 corridor from Portland to Salem has the same problem. As soon as it gets dark, its almost impossible to differentiate the lanes unless there happens to be the odd street lamp from one of the off-ramp gas-n-go spots.

The recently completed stretches of the Sunset Highway do appear to have upgraded striping paint. It actually shows up when its dark and rainy. What did the good folks in Washington County do to get the good paint?

The inability to see the lanes at night has become a serious pet peeve of mine. I want it fixed, dammit!