The picture above is of a retaining wall on the PA turnpike. I pass this wall every single day. And every single day, it infuriates me. Remember, I now have 45 minutes in the car to think, and stress, and obsess over many many subjects. This wall is a regular trigger for my angst.
I travel the turnpike between Monroeville, exit 57 (Old exit 6 for those long time PA turnpike travelers) and Cranberry Township, exit 28 (Old Exit 3). This wall happens to be right at the Allegheny Valley exit where they are replacing the bridges over the Allegheny River.
So, what's the big deal about this wall?? Well I will tell you... The oh-so financially responsible PA Turnpike Commission spent $250,000 to make this wall look like this - with all the crevices and the staining. Did you read what I just wrote?? $250,000- GRRRRRRR! Yes - this wall started out as just a plain old economical wall! But that just wasn't good enough for the fine PA turnpike! I have been so irritated by this wall, that I finally looked it up last night and found an article here about this wall. And what's the justification?? Well it only cost 0.13% of the total project budget?!?!?! Are you freaking kidding me???
I tell you what - I could have let me kids have at that wall for $250,000 - paint it / chisel it / whatever!
I can seriously think of many MANY better ways to spend $250,000! The American Society of Civil Engineers recently released a report giving Pennsylvania's bridges a "C" and its roads a "D-." Yet it was important to spend $250,000 to decorate a wall!