Reclaiming America

It’s all dirt and fire from here on out.

A luxury apartment near the highway, ca. 2020. Photo: s2art

In Omaha, paved roads are being “reclaimed,” which is a nice way of saying “torn up and turned into gravel.” It’s all part of the way we live now.

While President Trump has called for extensive investments in infrastructure, federally funded efforts are likely to go to decaying interstate highways and airports and dams. Some experts estimate that $1 trillion is needed to repair roads, bridges and rail lines over the next decade. But infrastructure is also decaying at the most local levels — on cul-de-sacs and in neighborhood playlots unlikely ever to see federal funding. So cities like Omaha have resorted to unusual solutions. In Youngstown, Ohio, officials closed off some uninhabited streets. In Gary, Ind., some of the city’s parks could close — a process city officials call “renaturing” — after years of neglect. And in one Michigan county, a deteriorating bridge was torn down, not replaced.

It’s going to be amazing to watch America revert back into its prelapsarian state. Painful, particularly if you are on one of those bridges as they collapse, but amazing. (Did you know Omaha has more residents than Miami? I did not. Although I guess Miami’s got problems of its own.) Anyway: Welcome to the new normal.

Omaha’s Answer to Costly Potholes? Go Back to Gravel Roads

David Byrne tried to warn us about this almost thirty years ago, but did you listen?