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Round and round the circles we go…

By on March 29, 2018 in Columnist with 0 Comments

By G. Wayne Hawks

You used to hear that the early pioneers had to circle their wagons. Today, it seems, the Department of Transportation is circling the roads.

I remember when I was a kid I rode a merry go-round until I threw up. I’m not proud of the fact that I’ve had a similar experience recently with more than one of the round-a-bouts the Department of Transportation (DOT) is so enamored with.

As you know, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. However, the DOT believes that the shortest distance between two points is a series of inter-connected round-a-bouts. Exit one, enter the next, repeat…

I saw recently that the city of East Wenatchee decided to try to stop this unnecessary circling by cancelling two planned round-a-bouts slated for 9th street that almost touched… However, the DOT has fought back by circling their wagons around some previously signed agreement that might end up costing the taxpayers an extra million dollars to spin their wheels.

Besides adding unneeded miles to everyone’s driving every day, and causing confusion about just when one should go or wait for that car coming around the bend, my biggest concern is for the semi-truck drivers.

The average length of those trucks and trailers is 70 to 80 feet long. And, as you know, those people haul all our food and goods around for us. Can you imagine trying to drive an 80-foot truck round and round without running the wheels up and over the curbs?

Now, in the past I was a town council member in Waterville. Thanks to my remaining highly-placed political connections, what I’m about to tell you is a secret-decoder-ring-level-7, piece of insider-only news. Please don’t tell anyone else.

The DOT has two major projects for our area planned as demonstration projects and when proved successful, they will incorporate these projects in other communities.

The first project is to put a round-a-bout in the middle of each runway at Pangborn Airport. That’s the real reason behind the 2016 runway expansion, so that hopefully the planes can get slowed down enough to be able to do the round-a-bout in the middle of the runway without flipping over.

I’d recommend that instead, they put them in the taxi-ways, but I doubt they’ll listen to me. They claim this is to help the self-flying planes orient their compasses, especially during takeoff. So, make sure your seatbelts are buckled, tightened, and keep those trays and seats in the fully upright position when you fly.

The second and more impressive project they have planned is the world’s first three-dimensional round-a-bout, perhaps better called a round-and-up-and-down-a-bout.

The plan is to connect ALL the Wenatchee and East Wenatchee streets together in one central location. Every time you would normally have just turned onto another street, you’ll get to drive to the centrally located round-and-up-and-down-a-bout to change streets.

To do so however, they can’t just build a massive horizontal round-a-bout, they’ll have to go up and down as well. And by down I mean underground, using lots of tunnels. And by up, well, let’s just say the airplanes will need to be routed around it.

To get from level to level, think of those SeaTac parking garage cork-screw like ramps, with multiple on and off-ramps on every level. Ah, it will be a thing of beauty.

One side benefit is that between the various on and off ramps there will be plenty of space for the DOT’s traffic camera drones to land, recharge, and take off again.

Another side benefit is that it will help your self-driving car orient its compass. And, it will promote commerce, especially automotive brake shops and other repair centers, which will be conveniently located near the foot of ramp 1736B. Just watch out for drones taking off nearby.

Of course, we don’t have enough bridges to get across the river for this to work, so there will also be several round-a-bout ferries to get you across the river.

After you get on one of these ferries, you will be required to keep driving in a circle.

Just don’t drive too fast and fall off the ferry.

Now, if these dizzying planned projects don’t make you want to throw up, you’re luckier than I am.

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