What’s Next!!??

August 28th, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Earthquake and hurricane in the same week…nothing outside the realm of normal probabilities but the mind does drift to the imposition of retribution for mistakes in the eyes of higher powers, like turning to austerity measures too soon.

Our northeastern infrastructure—buildings, in particular–performed well in the earthquake, and that was a quake of real magnitude.  The slow, lumbering Irene dumped so much water in some places that flooding is to be expected, but a great, long-term infrastructure project in this country would be to move electrical lines underground.  We actually did pretty well in Northern VA, but the average sustained winds were in the 20s, I believe.

Generally speaking, we’ve got a grid that’s way too fragile, and I believe that’s the case for the whole Northeast.  When we think of repairing our public infrastructure, this one–the grid–should be right up there with roads, bridges, and schools.

That’s particularly the case because of the linkage between warmer climates, warmer oceans, and the associated increase in the quantity and strength of hurricanes.


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4 comments in reply to "What’s Next!!??"

  1. Brenda says:

    “What’s Next!!??”

    Lion, tigers and bears. (Oh my!)

  2. Bill says:


    Your assessment for attention to the grid is pragmatic and appreciated. However, if I may share a personal experience from Washington, D.C. this morning, I think everyone needs to share more of the burden.

    After first clearing the branches that had fallen to the ground on my apartment’s property this morning in Dupont Circle I went for a run around the neighborhood of the National Cathedral and Kalorama. While running I was impressed to see caution signs that had been quickly placed on streets in order block entry onto them because of fallen trees.

    However, the public’s response was much less impressive. I’m proud to say that I picked up every branch I could lift that would disrupt a car or pedestrian. But in my two hours of running in the perfect weather I only saw four other people doing as I was. Instead I saw dozens of runners jump over branches and others with cameras taking pictures.

    I think other people didn’t help out because they knew someone else would come along and eventually clean it up. However, I strongly feel that -as a public- we need to help our government us its resources efficiently.

  3. rjs says:

    Above ground lines cost around $10 per foot and underground lines cost in the range of $20 to $40 per foot.[1]


  4. Jim says:

    One major new infrastructure needed is a system of aqueducts to channel overflow into needed areas and/or out to sea. For example, every year the Mississippi overflows – wouldn’t it be great to build a channel (or two) to move the overflow into central Texas and other areas where it is needed? A series of above ground and below ground (tunnels) would be a boon and could also be used for electric generation.