Arizona’s Asphalt Jungle: why the City of Glendale can stick its Corrugated Drainpipe up its own Drainpipe

The Crank

As I sit here at my place of employment, gazing out at what has become the biggest fiasco-slash-cluster fuck of any city utility improvement project ever, I can’t help but think, wow, there really are more incompetent people than at the dailydiscord.com.  Hey, if you hyperlink to where you already are does that create a virtual wormhole?  Try it.

It started almost one year ago, when the City of Glendale, AZ, sent a letter warning all those businesses potentially effected that the city was about to embark on a mission to install a six-foot diameter drainpipe down the center of  Northern Ave. This pipe would re-route the massive amount of water we here, in the DESERT, need. Set to take a reported three months, it’s been about ten now, but who’s counting?  Well, I am, because for most of the time they have been at this, it has been nearly impossible to egress or ingress the parking lot from which I derive my income.  The Discord only pays me in Twinkies, you see.  I’m not complaining, but rent money would be nice too.

When they first started this, the lovely lady from the City of Glendale, in charge of traffic flow for the project, came to my place of employ for a meet and greet. She then made what was to become the biggest mistake of her life. She gave me her cell phone number and said to call her with any complaints/questions. As she did so, I giggled, knowing full well that this New Yorker—pre-destined by his gene pool to spend the rest of his life on the surface of the Sun—was gonna have some ‘fun’ with this traffic flow lady.

First, they took the four lanes of traffic down to two outside lanes, closing off all left turns in either direction indefinitely. That was the start of the ‘round robin,’ the ‘you can’t get there from here’ madness that was to become the flow of traffic around my workplace going on for nearly a year. With little else to do, as there was only sound of crickets in my driveway, I watched them as they dug up a large trench down the middle of the road to install a six-foot diameter corrugated drainpipe. They then filled and paved the trench…little did I realize, this would be the first of many times.

When they got to the intersection of 61st Avenue and West Northern, they exhumed the pipe hole a total of six times. Each time doing something, like: running a power line, then filling and paving, then re-exhumation, then run a telephone line, then refilling and repaving, ad nauseam.  Then they re-exhumed the beast to run a gas line, followed by some more refilling and repaving. A total six times total, over six months. Still no left turns anywhere. I was reduced to reading the Daily Discord hourly (not recommended). When someone would actually come in to my place of business, it was usually a worker or rent-a-cop to use the bathroom. When they finally got done with the intersection, they went on to a dozen other intersections, doing the same fucking crap-dance for each one. I guess the thought of scheduling ALL of the utilities there AT THE SAME TIME was a foreign concept to them.

By this time, the only people filling our parking lot were workers from the project (even the crickets had moved on because of all the noise). Soon after another complaint to the traffic flow lady, a large hard hatted fellow burst into my store…surely to intimidate me into passivity, as it were. He did not figure on me. As he started his rant about “just doing his job” I slowly stood up. It was then that the hard hatted man got an earful of angry New Yawker.

“I don’t get a salary like you, I am full commission, and I have to sell something to get any. And your fucking trucks are blocking the few clients I have left from accessing my store.  So MOVE THEM NOW, Bob the Blunder!”

In ten minutes they were gone, never to appear again.

With the workers temporarily away from our business, we thought we would soon return to normal. That was not to be the case, oh no. We received a notice that the, now buried-like-James-fucking-Hoffa, drainpipe had failed its test. A test they did after it was installed. And well covered. And paved over. And guess what? Yup, it all had to come out. All the utilities had to be re-exhumed and re-routed and a new pipe needed to be installed. It all was happening again, like a bad fucking dream.  It was kind of like that movie Groundhog Day only slightly more repetitive.  I guess this is some of Obama’s ‘shovel ready’ jobs…jobs designed to bury my own.

As this was all going down, I was in, shall we say, constant touch with the traffic flow lady. She was by now feeling the full-blown effect of her previous decision to give me her number. It was not good for her, but it did help alleviate the urges to commit mass murder that I was having at the time.

Now, keep in mind, all of this was week day-daytime only work.  You know, union type 9am to 5 pm, no nights, no weekends.  Nothing to “upset the residents,” or so I was told. Upset the residents? This was all to appease the ‘residents’ so that the once per millennia we have rain it would not leak into their poorly designed houses?  Fuck them.  Keep them up all weekend for all I care.  Did I mention this is a business district?

After eight months, watching six of my co-workers take ‘the final trip home’ due to the drop off in business, they told us they were about to do the final paving and striping. Final, well…not so much.  These people’s idea of final is worse than those Final Destination producers.

First, they had to dig up all the asphalt that was the result of eight months of cluster-fucking, plus some 30 years filling potholes and repaving. They then had to lay down two layers of asphalt. All this meant the re-closing of various lanes over various weeks. They got about two thirds of the way done with the final coat, when all work stopped. For about two weeks the pylons were there, but no one was working. Then came the news: the initial layer of asphalt had failed ITS test, a test done after it was down and covered.

Then the lovely Vogon-type, planet-devouring machines returned…the ones that eat asphalt like I eat Twinkies. Have you ever been near such a device as it was happily eating fresh laid asphalt? Fillings get loosened, windows vibrate, bladders lose their loads, and tempers flare. By this point I was calling the poor traffic lady hourly but was only getting her voicemail (wonder why?).  I adapted to this by just screaming into the phone for as long as the message would allow.

Yesterday the final striping went down. I fully expected to come in this morning and see something I haven’t seen in almost a year, a road unencumbered by cones and workers—a silent road. It was then I saw the men with the air powered hammers cutting a large trench across the newly laid and striped asphalt. Traffic flow lady’s phone had been completely disconnected at this point.  The only good move she’d made in months.

As the Philatrenchia Experiment continues, keep in mind, I have watched the City of New York rebuild two-million-cars-a-day roads, like the Cross Bronx Expressway, without ever closing it. They worked all nights and weekends and managed to keep all lanes open each and every rush hour.  If they failed at this, there were fines aplenty. They also gave the construction companies a large bonus for work done early. What a concept, huh Arizona?  Meanwhile, does anyone know the new number of that traffic flow lady?

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