Valley of the Potholes

Sunday morning we drove back from the Milwaukee area.

Because of the bad weather predictions I couldn’t even sleep in.

Across the bottom of the television screen church closings were being announced.

Even under the ad for John McCain, the only presidential candidate spot I have seen this year.

But the temperature was rising.

35 degrees.

When we learned it was getting warmer, we decided to get a quick breakfast.

It was a dangerous trip.

The parking lot was icy.

When I went out to get the car, I misjudged the depth of the water next to the car, which had been dry the night before.

Thank goodness my shoes were waterproof.

I stepped into water that almost was too deep.

Just getting out of the Brookfield Suites parking lot’s frontage road the water was so deep it hit the bottom of my wife’s Toyota Camry.

I could see the storm drains, but snow and ice were blocking the flow of run off.

There was water at various places on Moorland Road, the four-lane local road connecting the hotel to I-43. Had we wanted to drive to Milwaukee, we could not have gotten on the Interstate from Moorland.

But, we were heading west where there was no problem getting on the road.

It was closed past the roundabout.

Under too much water.

Arriving the night before, we took one too many lefts (my mistake) and ended up going in the wrong direction. A semi did not make the circle and had to be towed out, slowing our arrival at a dinner significantly.

There were potholes on Interstate 43 in Wisconsin in Walworth County.

That’s an unusual experience.

At a rest stop, the Walworth County Sheriff’s deputy told me it has been constant spin out calls since 6 AM.

We saw the red one that had been featured on the local news.

There were others.

The parking lot was so bad that I didn’t think I would be able to back up the car. Couldn’t get traction on the ice at first.

Fog was pretty bad for some parts.

The roads had ice until we reached the Lake Geneva exit to Route 12. The temperature finally started rising above 32-33 degrees.

By the time we reached Illinois, it was above 40.

It belies Wisconsin’s reputation for having better roads than Illinois.

I think Wisconsin roads are generally better than those in Illinois because the local county boards have responsibility for building and maintaining state roads.

That was the case back in the early 1970’s.

You can imagine the heat McHenry County board members would take if they were in charge of maintaining Route 31.

How different is the (non-)accountability system in Illinois from the local control approach I remember from interviewing to be Rock County administrator way back then.

Of course, the system may have changed since then in Wisconsin. Can’t find out the day I’m writing this, though.

After we drove past the

Welcome to
The Land of Lincoln
Rod Blagojevich, Governor

sign on Route 12 north of Richmond, potholes were everywhere.

Route 31 was no better.

The worst stretch of road was in the valley known as Terra Cotta.

This is truly an incredibly bumpy part of Route 31.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining the road. Some cold patch has been applied, but has worked its way partially out.

I believe it is the worst maintained state road in McHenry County.

= = = = =
The end of the John McCain television ad is on top.

Look at the wave created by a car leaving the Brookfield Suites parking lot.

The intersection of Moorland Road and Butterfield was under water.

I had plenty of time Saturday night to take the picture of the roundabout near Interstate 43’s Moorland Road exit.

The I-43 passing lane the snow truck was plowing was just plain treacherous.

You can see one of the about half dozen spin outs we saw on the way back to McHenry County.

The “Welcome to Illinois” sign in the photograph was taken in October 2006. The posts for the sign in front announced road work was being done just south of the Wisconsin state line.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining Route 31, the road where you see the picture of the potholes.

The fog and rain-covered windshield photos were taken in Walworth County on Interstate 43.

All pictures were taken on February 17, 2008, and may be enlarged by clicking on them.

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