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Jeff Whitten: You can’t get here from there, part 500
editor's notes

I got off relatively early the other day and started heading home. I should’ve stayed at work. I would’ve got home faster.

By the time I finally got to the house and looked at my watch I realized it took me more than 90 minutes to go about 25 miles.

If my math is right, and I don’t claim to be good at it, that averages out to a speed of about 16.66667 mph, according to an online calculator. By contrast, an ostrich can supposedly run 43.5 mph if it is motivated enough, and a pig has a top speed of 11 mph.

Sawed off, fat old editors like me probably can wind ourselves up to about 5 mph, if we hustle.

Not for the first time, I thought it would be less trouble to just not go anywhere I didn’t have to be, or stay where I planned on going, or maybe ride an ostrich cross country, if I could find one with a saddle that knew how to swim and got good mileage.

That’s silly, of course, but if I know nothing else about myself, I know this: No matter where or how I go, there I am. Same is true with most people I know. B.J. Clark, for example, is in Pembroke, unless he’s somewhere else. Then that’s where he is. It’s science.

I would probably not be whining about traffic if that particular day was an isolated incident. I would instead chalk it up as part of the cost of having roads and cars filled with an increasing number of expert drivers who had to pass a test to be allowed to drive, presumably. Yet even expert drivers who passed a test are on occasion going to run into one another, sometimes with tragic results.

But it wasn’t an isolated incident. While I have no statistics readily at hand to back this up, people around here are running into one another more often than ever these days, as if it’s a contest to see who can require the most emergency services. And when they hit each other, it ruins their day and everybody else’s who has to get out and go someplace.

I have heard some geniuses blame GDOT, as if it can just go out there and throw down a road somewhere to keep up with the manic growth we’ve experienced hereabouts. That’s not fair.

You can’t pin on GDOT a couple decades worth of population growth and, until recently, little in the way of taxes to spend on growing road infrastructure at a pace to keep up with the runaway population growth this state has experienced. I don’t know, maybe the big shots assumed most of those who’ve moved here the past 10-15 years were going to walk.

Yet while I had misgivings about TSPLOST, so far it looks like it’s being used to fix problems caused by growth, not build roads to promote more of the same though that will inevitably happen. Naturally, it’s us working stiffs who suffer for it.

Case in point, Monday morning there was a wreck on I-16 that supposedly backed up east bound traffic headed into Savannah all the way out to Bulloch County. That’s somewhere around 50 miles. I hope folks who got stuck waiting hadn’t loaded up on the coffee.

To be fair, there is a new I-95 interchange in Bryan County, and GDOT is working 100 mph on projects to make driving safer and better. I’m particularly lookiing forward to the completion of the new “turbine” overpass where 95 meets up with I-16.

That said, the problem is as soon as a new road comes along, the developers are already pushing dirt everywhere and then, inevitably, the place gets filled up with vinyl buildings and houses and warehouses and people and vehicles with Michigan decals. And we’re right back where we were. Stuck in #*(@ traffic.

I can vaguely remember when I-16 was a sleepy interstate, which it is no more. But back at Georgia Southern in the early 1990s we used to say it was boring, and it probably was compared to roads like I-95, which then was two-lane through Georgia and busting at its seams. By contrast I-16 was a mostly empty highway, until you got on the other side of Macon and wound up on I-75, which still should be illegal.

Now, you get on I-16 wondering if today’s the day you get run over. Such are the wonders of our times.

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