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Class Action Lawsuit re: Duluth Roads?

With tax time upon us,  one has to wonder where all of the money is going that is supposed to be maintaining our roads?

How many roads have gone without repair this year because funding was instead redirected to horrific ideas like installing an ‘s’ curve at the end of the freeway where it joins to London Road?

What kind of brilliant ‘road engineer’ would go out of the way to bend traffic with a ‘I’ll show you’ attitude regarding a speed drop from 50, to 40? Is the message here that he would rather see faster moving men, women, and children in a horrific accident then to be traveling fast?

Is that the same mentality behind the ‘speed bump’ pot-holes? What’s next?  Barrels in the road that we will have to weave between?

44 Comments

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

I would conduct a study to prove my theory that the level of bitching on this website always peaks in February, but that would be depressing.

Bret

about 9 years ago

Seems like a lot of road have actually improved in the last two years: Central Entrance, 2nd Street East, Glenwood Avenue, Woodland Avenue, Rice Lake Road, etc.  I'm actually quite pleased.  Then again, I also like February.

vicarious

about 9 years ago

RE: local streets

It's embarrassing. We had European friends in town last late-summer. Driving around one day, one of them said, "Your roads are so..." 

He paused, lacking the correct English.

I finished for him, "broken."

"Yes, broken," he said.

My instinct wanted to say, "It's due to the lack of priority-spending. Also, streets in the eastern part of our fair American city receive much more attention than the streets in our mixed-ethnicity neighborhood."

Instead, I said, "It's the weather."

G R

about 9 years ago

Seems 6 months ago everyone was complaining about detours and all the roads closed for repair. How quick we forget.

vicarious

about 9 years ago

G R,

Starting in April, those detour-based bitchings begin anew.

RandomPerson

about 9 years ago

Woodland, just before it connects to 4th street is one of the worst spots. Glenwood?  Isn't that the road they reduced from 4 lanes to 2?  At least it's fresh pavement, but it wasn't even that bad, again money that could have gone to roads that actually needed repair, and for what?  To take away a lane?  If anything lanes should be being added, not removed.

Lojasmo

about 9 years ago

Sue Pawlenty for cutting LGA.  You can also point to him for your 75% property tax increase.

dbb

about 9 years ago

Welcome to the rust belt.

People bitch about the poor condition of the infrastructure out one side of their mouth and about high taxes out of the other. You can't have it both ways.

Don Ness

about 9 years ago

For many years Duluth was fixing just 2-3 miles of streets.

In 2009 we improved 18 miles, in 2010 we improved another 20 miles.  This year we will do an additional 18-20 miles.

But you're right, the roads are terrible right now. Just imagine if 38 of the most traveled streets hadn't been improved over the past two years.

But let's also point out, our winters are really tough on our streets.  It is especially bad when you have:

1) a wetter than average fall - which saturates the ground and results in heaving and exaggerated seems - which create the washboard feel.

2) a winter of freezing and thawing - which is the recipe for potholes.

Street repair will always be an issue in Duluth - but we ARE doing something about it.  With 80-100 miles of improved roads in 5 years, we will be able to better concentrate our maintenance efforts on the streets we haven't yet got to.

I hope that someone re-posts this in August when we are in the middle of fixing the next twenty miles of roads.

Timk

about 9 years ago

In parts of Scandanvia, they put an 8' layer of engineered concrete into the road bed before surfacing. Super expensive up front, but it survives the freeze/thaw cycle resulting in the need for little maintenance. They pay much higher taxes, of course.

vicarious

about 9 years ago

Mayor Ness:

Please address the East vs. West dichotomy of street/road repair investment.

zra

about 9 years ago

Funny, you'd think that with all this "job building" bullhooey being bantered about like yesterday's snowstorm that they'd "build some jobs" by "fixing some streets."

Nah, couldn't be *that* easy, could it?

RandomPerson

about 9 years ago

It is nice to hear that plans are in the works to repair our depreciated roads, however I still question the qualifications of the engeneer responsible for many of the decisons and resulting poor designs. While most of the changes have 'only' resulted in more and more backed up traffic and congestion, some of these decisisons such as that "s curve" are going to eventually kill someone. Was it meant to slow people down?  Really?  Come summer I wouldn't be surprised to see people posting youtube videos on how fast they can take that curve.

Case in point:

Desert Hills Fire Chief Mat Espinoza said, from initial investigation, it appeared the woman was driving westbound on Retail Centre Boulevard when her red Ford pickup truck hit a curb on an ***S turn*** and rolled over several times, landing on its side facing eastbound.

"(The driver) was ejected out of the passenger side door at which point the weight of the vehicle rested on top of her," Espinoza said. "When I arrived on scene, we had numerous bystanders and witnesses attempting to raise the vehicle off of her."

Espinoza added that the woman appeared to be under 30 years old and may not have been wearing a seatbelt.

"It is an unfortunate incident," he said. "Had she been wearing her seatbelt, it probably wouldn't have been as bad as it was."

The crash is only one of "numerous incidents" at the S-turn on Retail Centre Boulevard, Espinoza said.

Source: http://www.havasunews.com/articles/2011/02/09/news/doc4be25b075112e974050575.txt

adam

about 9 years ago

Lundgren posting "Happiness is a warm puppy" images. What kind of bizarro world have we stumbled into?

David

about 9 years ago

Meh.  The east-west split seems imagined [at least in road repair] as my 1996 Plymouth Breeze feels it.

vicarious

about 9 years ago

David,

Hardly imagined. Revisit the actual road work being performed

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

What do you mean there's no road work being done in West Duluth? They've been working on the collapsed culvert on Cody Street for nine months now.

Rimshot, and thank you.

(Back to happy place ... back to happy place ... puppies ... puppies...)

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Oh, it should be mentioned that Grand Avenue, from 40th to 59th avenues west was redone in 2005/2006. And with the I-35 construction this past summer it would have been hard to work on any busy road in West Duluth without inspiring insanity.

(Flowers, bunnies, Gandhi ...)

Don Ness

about 9 years ago

Here's the story on the east - west issue.

There has been significant projects on Grand, Central, West Superior Street, Commonwealth, 23th Ave W, and many West Duluth neighborhood streets in recent years.  It is true that we are not doing additional arterial streets in West Duluth in 2010 and 2011, because of the I-35 construction.  But we are doing the Morgan Park Loop this year (one of our most expensive projects) and planning for a full rebuild of Riverside (by far our most expensive project of 2012.  We are also making a significant commitment to West Skyline Blvd, which is in desperate need - we'll be starting that project next year.


I cannot speak to the s-curve issue.  That is a MN-DOT project.  I understand WHY they did it - to slow down traffic on London Road, but I was not involved in the discussions regarding the design.

Cody Street - now there is an issue we can talk about.  One day, I get a call that the culvert collapsed, ok, so a week?  two weeks?  Turns out this is a major culvert buried 30 feet under Cody.  Not only that, but it carries a designated trout stream - which requires State sign off on all plans and a assessment of impact on trout populations.  It was many, many months of waiting for the state to give us approval of the plans before we could even put a shovel in the ground.  This unanticipated project is going to cost us $1.2 million dollars.  To fix something that everyone takes for granted, or more accurately, doesn't know is even there.

hunter

about 9 years ago

I've drove by there kind of scary at night... a huge 30 plus foot deep hole with two road block signs.... I could see a darwin award..... someone driving around the barrier and in to the abyss

David

about 9 years ago

We are lucky to have a mayor with tech saavy and civic participation both.

Although his avatar has aged him.

Swan

about 9 years ago

You get what you pay for.

RS

about 9 years ago

Hunter - some drunk chick did a few weeks ago, possibly up to two months, I can't recall.  I'd dig the article up out of the newspaper's website for you, but they want people to pay for past articles and frankly I can think of a few better things to spend my two fifty on.

Ginger

about 9 years ago

Mayor Ness,
 
I appreciate your input. Do you happen to know when 4th Street will be put on the list for repair?

Shane

about 9 years ago

Roads in Minnesota should be built with concrete.

This winter, fairly new asphalt roads have speed bump like ridges. My speculation is that the gravel or whatever is under the asphalt contracts and causes the ridges.

Concrete covered with asphalt is the way to go, the asphalt can be removed and replaced without rebuilding the entire road a few years later when it gets bad.

vicarious

about 9 years ago

Shane, 

I agree. Or at least thicker layers of bituminous, like they use in the colder parts of Europe. 

The new asphalt stretch on Park Point is already cracking and buckling.

vicarious

about 9 years ago

Mayor Don,

Thanks for your response. I get a little uppity about the east-west thing. In the latest (first?) Duluth Quarterly, the listed projects for 2011 are: 

- Arrowhead Road
- Anderson Road between Haines
Road and Chambersburg
- A four block stretch of 36th Avenue
East
- Rice Lake Road
- The final phase of Glenwood Street

And yes, Fourth Street is undrive-able.

Bob Loblaw

about 9 years ago

"Also, streets in the eastern part of our fair American city receive much more attention than the streets in our mixed-ethnicity neighborhood."

vicarious, I invite you to drive up East 36th Avenue near my mixed-ethnicity neighborhood.  Or even worse drive down it.  There is a nice ice slick at the stop sign of 36th and Superior.  It directs you straight into the pothole that forms there evey year.  
Or drive east 4th Avenue near Holy Rosary and East High School.  We should rent the frost heaves there to automotive manufacturers so they can test their suspensions.



"You get what you pay for."

Swan I really don't feel like I'm getting my money's worth.

vicarious

about 9 years ago

I stand corrected. I'm a little sensitive.

Baci

about 9 years ago

Underground Trout Stream is my next album title. I was watching cars coming on down woodland between 21st and 20th. They were looking like low riders with hydraulics bouncing the front ends. Actually it knocked off the wheel well ice clods very effectively. BTW, nothing wrecks roads like cars .. I say go to the source of the problem. Answer is ... MONORAIL!

[email protected]

about 9 years ago

I would die for monorail/PRT from downtown to UMD.

Jake

about 9 years ago

I keep a stock of factory fresh hubcaps for my car.  It's not uncommon that the potholes knock one off.

Also puppies...

Don Ness

about 9 years ago

4th Street is a County Road.  It would be wonderful if they would get to that sooner than later.  Contact Frank Jewel and Steve O'Neil to advocate for that project.

Heaving and washboard effect is all about the saturation of the ground below the street.  Freezing water expands and creates problems.  We've also increased our "crack-sealing" efforts to try to keep water from seeping into the road bed when the roads are relatively new to prevent them from getting worse.

Again, the freeze/thaw during the winter months, is the primary variable.  When the ground thaws the roads will settle again and the driving will be easier.

Walker

about 9 years ago

God damn that Don is a nice guy, for a politician. You could take some notes Paul. Both of you get back to work!  Why haven't they invented a road surface made of interlocking links from recycled Coke bottles or anything that stretches? Millions of young engineers and we're still wiping ass with our trees.   
My neighborhood seems to enjoy the car shredder road, keeps speed way down.  Only the Y.D. and F.O.C.  dare take it over 10mph. London's in good shape. Yahoo

Bob

about 9 years ago

What a nice crotchety old person topic we have here. Coming soon: complaining about denture creams and adult diapers.

Tip: get on a plane and go somewhere warm.

girlfromnorthcountry

about 9 years ago

OK I'll chime in with the road condition complaints since this is the place to do it, I suppose.  Why do our city streets have only minor curbs and gutters, and very little grade?  When the snow melts there's noplace for the runoff to go; it sheets across the street and creates more potholes.  Then the potholes are filled with weak patch which doesn't last a year.  If our streets were created with our massive annual runoff in mind, we'd have nice deep gutters to help the water run down the hill.

Karasu

about 9 years ago

MNDOT has made some pretty asinine choices over the last few years. People mention the so-called S-curve, but what they did on Miller Trunk across from the mall is ridiculous. The concrete at 26th E. is pretty nice, though.

[On the other hand, citing a story about an unbelted driver going too fast and getting herself killed is not evidence that S-curves are flawed. It's only evidence that some drivers can make some very poor decisions.]

RandomPerson

about 9 years ago

You're right -- only belted drivers should be considered when referencing accidents, I take the saftey issues back, it's completely safe for everyone with seat belts on :)

Laura

about 9 years ago

I don't mind the road conditions.  It makes people go slow. I wish they hadn't done my residential road two years ago - we have tons of kids out playing on our block and now people just rip down that smooth new road.

I also think this is about priorities:  

We should invest in bike paths and public transportation instead of having nice shiny roads so that each of us can personally drive our cars with one person in it to and fro. There is talk about how the east end gets all the new roads, yet I still can't really safely get my bike over the hill, even after a road is re-done.

2) I would take the roads 5 times worse if it meant that funding government went back to something sensible.  Why does my niece have 36 kids in her class and half the electives as when I was in school? Why is our public library open like 5 hours a week? Obviously rhetorical, complicated questions, but I'm just saying nature's speed bumps are the least of our municipal problems.

Walker

about 9 years ago

Here's why I bitch and deliberately cancel all my flights to answer you Bobby, because petroleum is used in building roads, and the powers who become wealthy off petrol and mix it into all the food, clothing, homes, and roads don't want us to use anything else, including brilliant inventions and new ideas until they've figured out a way to make money on it, which is why people like you and me still wear our mental diapers, because we're too preoccupied Twittering and bitching about bitching to show any balls like the Egyptians did.  As long as they're selling gasoline burning flights to your favorite warm resort so you can Log onto your Facebook page by the pool, there really is no need to challenge the status quo, or for them to cut your puppet strings.

RandomPerson

about 9 years ago

Laura, smooth roads are far safer contrary to your understanding of it.

Most road funding comes from gasoline taxes.

The more fuel you purchase, the more you're paying for roads.

So I guess if you drive an SUV, you are doing your part to 'clean the earth' of 'dirty' oil while also paying several times your share of the road repairs.

It amazes me how many people don't seem to understand 'oil'

If you want to complain about oil, you might as well complain about batteries, or even milk.

If you're your self-righteous, and want to do your part, don't have children. (no single raindrop is responsible for the flood.)  No population means; no consumption.

Riding your bicycle is a status quo 'good thing' - but did you know, not riding your bicycle and staying home, would be more 'green' - blows the mind doesn't it?

Now go out there and live!  Spend money, be happy!  (get a puppy)  -- If your idea of a good time is to play in the decrepit streets, so be it. To each their own.

hunter

about 9 years ago

Staying home is more green eh? Well what if the bike was modified for foot pedal energy to make duluths electricity bill more green for bentleyville ;)

ruby2sd4y

about 9 years ago

Ha! 

My street, which by the way is concrete (and alley too for that matter - including the rusty rebar exposed - I used to just cringe waiting to see which kids were gonna wipe out on that), has resembled the moon's surface for the 19 years I've lived here. They come round to patch it every autumn (not bothering to sweep up any of the street's debris first - just tamp some patch on top of whatever, quite sloppily (in '09 even blocking the gutter/manhole edge on one side of the street preventing the rain/water runoff to drain properly). Do they even receive training?

Five guys show up with one or two trucks, and only one or two guys half-heartedly raking the patch into the craters (the numbers of trucks/workers vary year to year), the rest lollygagging walking or riding, generally looking like they 'have to try' to make an effort to appear to be working in between smokes. I cannot imagine how many man hours and how much bitumen has been wasted in those years vs. properly repairing the street.

Right off, the poorly applied new patch is kicked up by cars the first few days after application. Like clockwork, about a week later comes the first snow, and then the remaining new patch is mostly scraped up and deposited by the plow into the boulevard grass. Every year, for 19 so far. 

Spring comes and you can't even mow until you rake the massive amounts of patch pieces out of the boulevard grass. My neighbours and I have joked about sending all the raked up chunks and bits each spring back to the city to be recycled. Perhaps they could send some of those slackers around to rake up their mess themselves and collect it from each street.

Yes, I have photos saved somewhere too of the road ridiculousness. I should have captured a few of the workers too. Ah well.

Lucky for me I also own the book Paul has pictured.

...off to read it again.

zra

about 9 years ago

Recycled patch chunks ... there's a novel idea!

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