Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Road Construction Complete: An Ode to Practical Genius


The heavy equipment is gone and the
road signs are up!
The Los Pecos Trail extension and
Los Pecos Loop are complete!

The utilities are humming at the side of road.
Until Los Pecos Homeschool made a project
out of following all the phases of
road construction across previously undeveloped land,
we had no idea what really goes into building a road. It has been a great learning to experience this project from start to finish. Such learning does not come everyday.

It is kind of amazing to consider that ten months ago, this road was a line on a map, and before that it was a spark of inspiration in the developers head as he walked through the tangled woods.

Now, it is something new under the sun!

Everything is in place: the grades, the drainage, the utility lines underneath. Soon we will forget that this hill was a tangled mass of juniper and scrub-oak, and very difficult to navigate. It is already beginning to seem like this road belongs here; that it has always been here.

And therin lies a certain danger. Many people in this country have no idea what is required to have roads, utilities and houses. They do not understand the creativity and ingenuity that go into our modern infrastructure.

And thus it has been neglected. From highways to levees, we just expect it to be there. We often don't stop to consider the amazing work of the human mind and imagination it takes to build even a simple road. We don't believe we should have to put up with the cost and inconvenience that go along along with maintaining infrastructure. And so we don't appreciate this kind of practical genius that makes our lives so rich and full, and immensely easier.


ChristineMM said...

That is so true about not appreciating the roads.

Many people look down on the people who work on the road crews and don't even appreciate what they are doing when they are repairing the roads for our benefit.

Melora said...

It is a very nice road! And it must have been neat, seeing all that went into building it. I don't really know anything about road buiding, but we are reading By the Shores of Silver Lake (one of the Little House books) and there was a lengthy description of the building of a railroad grade which completely lost me (I needed diagrams!). You are so right about how easy it is to take these things for granted.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Christinemm--it is amazing that we consider much of the necessary work done to keep us safe and happy as "low" and a lot of the paper-pushing as "important." And yet, during our road building process, I saw all of the workers confering with the site manager every day. Hands flew and pointed, suggestions made, argued, taken and rejected. Each worker had his (there were no women on this job)area of responsibility. This contractor was very good and the results show it.

Melora--I didn't know very much about road building either, and I have learned a lot, but I still would not be able to operate the heavy equipment that so enthralled my guys, but I came away with a new appreciation of what these guys do!

Jenn Casey said...

Awesome! We have really enjoyed watching the progress to completion from afar. I'm so glad you took the time to post pictures along the way.

You're absolutely right--what the human mind can do is amazing, and it's all too common for people to dismiss a project such as a "simple" road. When people or peopleguys!) reshape the earth in the image of their values (to paraphrase Ayn Rand), it is truly a wonderful thing!