It’s an asphalt jungle |

It’s an asphalt jungle

by Staff

Drive in this town and expect to be rattled by more than rude and pushy drivers. They’re potholes. And the natural relationship between asphalt and winter will make you and your vehicle overheat.

Take a gander at the privately-owned street behind Embassy Suites and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. There are gaping chasms along Van Sickle Street large enough to swallow up any front-end alignment. One reader called the other day and told of a nightmarish ordeal wherein she and her minivan found themselves taking that much-used thoroughfare straight to the mechanic.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Pioneer Trail. U.S. Highway 50. Almost any other street in town is showing the incessant decay caused by Old Man Winter.

The city does what it can, but it’s like spitting in the ocean. Hard or cold fill, the crews are out there on any given sunny day. But that doesn’t even begin to stop the potholes from rearing their ugly heads.

What to do?

Well, the obvious answer is fix them. Constantly. Use sparse city funds to go around and put a Band-Aid on each one. It costs $8,000 for a crew to do even the most menial work over the course of a couple of weeks. Tell the California and Nevada departments of transportation to get out there and make the roads safe. Otherwise, South Lake Tahoe will once again take it on the chin for being just a little more backward than other resort destinations. By the way, while you’re fixing the debilitating potholes, how about adding a few sidewalks?

Through all the inconvenience of blown shocks and broken axles is mountain living and all that comes with it. But that doesn’t mean we have to relegate ourselves to playing “Dueling Banjos” and squealing like a proverbial pig.

Potholes are caused by water molecules that permeate through the asphalt and then freeze, causing up to 3,000 pounds per square inch in pressure on the street surface.

It’s enough to make a motorist cry.

And they are. Profusely.

“It wasn’t as bad last year as it is this year,” noted Leo Tate, a street supervisor for the city of South Lake Tahoe.

Still and all, our pothole problem is another reflection of a city whose infrastructure is crumbling. Perhaps redevelopment will change things for the better. At least city leaders and local taxpayers hope so.

Perhaps not. In the meantime, try and avoid Van Sickle Street or driving at night, period. Until this city and our two counties get its street act down, there’s really not much you can do, except drive to the nearest garage and belly up to the alignment machine.

Good luck. It’s an asphalt jungle out there.

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