Published On: Fri, Oct 18th, 2013

Wright to the Point

By Jonathan Wright

It’s the same story every few years.

Everybody gets excited when the Division of Highways throws out hints that it may finally be doing something about the horrendous daily U.S. 219 north-south traffic snarls through Lewisburg. Opportunities for public input are announced with various models of what might be done: a bypass, a new interstate exit, and other possibilities.

Then—nothing.

Silence.

A long, long silence.

Is the whole thing dead? Why haven’t we heard anything? Is the possibility of relief going to quietly fade into oblivion as has been done way too often in the past?

To be fair, we know these things take time. Whatever decision is reached, whatever traffic changes and construction are implemented, they’re going to affect a lot of people—and some of them not too positively.

As the old saying goes, you can’t please everybody. Nowhere is that more applicable than in situations that affect the flow of traffic—where roads will be built, where lanes will be added, where vehicles will be re-routed.

What really bothers me about the whole situation, though, is the deafening, lengthy silence after public interest is stirred. It’s just seems it’s the way it happens in this part of the world: stir up lots of public interest every few years—but the bottom line?

Nothing.

My better sense tells me that the highway officials are indeed working on a plan. They’re probably sweating big-time in anticipation of the dreaded time when they have to announce their final plan to the public, incurring the wrath of those who will vehemently oppose it for one reason or another.

These things naturally take time. Numerous often-difficult considerations have to be taken into account, so it’s a complicated mess that must be worked through regarding rights-of-way, finding funding in a time of dwindling resources, and a multitude of legalities.

But in the meantime, it’s understandable that a skeptical, cynical public wonders if anything will ever really be done. After all, let’s face it: this traffic situation has been discussed to death for decades now. And once every few years the highway officials jump into it and give us reason to believe that something—whatever it is—will finally be done about it.

And then—nothing.

And more years go by.

And we give up hope.

Is that the way it’s going to happen this go-round?

Time will tell.

In the meantime, it would be wonderful if our highway division would at least give some periodic updates and possibly a few target dates to reassure us that this thing is indeed going to happen, that it hasn’t gone by the proverbial wayside.

Anything—anything at all—would be better than lengthy, discouraging silence.