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Posts Tagged ‘road building’

It’s rained cats and dogs here this winter.

In fact, think vertical tsunamis and you’ll be about there. Andalucia’s largest lake, Lake Iznájar, has filled from practically empty to four metres below full and it’s a 999,000 hectolitre immense body of water so … yes, we’ve had LOTS of water.

That’s a good thing. Andalucia is considered a very dry place. The locals moan relentlessly “nos ruinamos” (we’re ruined), because we’ve had droughts every year for, well years, so you’d think that the entire community would be leaping for joy.

So not happening.

It’s causing chaos.

The olives can’t be harvested because the ground is so claggy you can’t walk in it let alone get a car through it. And now the sheer force of the rainfall is washing away the hillsides, trees attached, because there’s no underplanting policy in Andalucia ever since the grants stopped. Prior to that, the people used to intercrop their olives because they were paid to do so.

And, the latest thing that’s going on is the mountainside roads are being washed away from beneath by new “arroyos” or naturally created watercourses, being made by the incredible torrents of flash flood rain careering off the hillsides.

The thing is though, you can’t see that that’s what’s happening from the road – all you see is little and not so little cracks in the tarmac. You’d have to step off the road to notice the causes.

You’d have thought though (and I know nothing about road building), that sod-off great big cracks all along the cliffside of a 20km stretch of hillside road would tell the road people that “something’s not quite right” wouldn’t you?

(Excuse me while I laugh a kind of hysterical, demented laugh) ……

The local Spanish carefully thought out solution has been to pour glue in the cracks because “clearly there’s no reason why the road would be cracking so we’ll just glue it back together”.

A day later (and another 40 litres of rain later too), the cracks reappear, along with a noticeable “dip” in a long stretch of the road. The crash barrier (where there is one) has dropped a foot or so, and the tarmac has definitely slumped downwards.

No problem! Along comes Enrique and Manolo with a dump truck of left-over tarmac and they tip it into the dip – loading possibly a ton, maybe two tons of weight on top of what is patently obviously a stretch of road that is already not coping at all.

A few days later, we have exactly the same thing happen again – more huge cracks, and the “new” area of road sinking. And yes, Antonio and Francisco come this time and put a HUGE quantity of tarmac onto the road to level it out again, completely ignoring the fact that the crash barrier is now leaning so far away from the vertical position it used to have that it’s horizontal and two feet lower than the road.

Then four nights ago we had yet another storm of biblical proportions. The road is now three quarters of a metre lower than its partner that hugs the hillside.

Finally on Monday, driving my son to his kung fu class, I witness Enrique, Manolo, Antonio and Francisco standing around a set of makeshift traffic lights, Orange Cone Disease having taken over the world, where they are scratching their heads and smoking heavy black tobacco cigarettes. The truth has finally dawned. This is not a “stick a plaster on it and no-one will notice” state of affairs. They are, it is apparent for all to see, going to have to do a PROPER JOB. And they don’t like that one bit.

And said PROPER JOB is going to cost them thousands of euros, thousands of hours of disruption and possibly even road closures which will have incredible repercussions to anyone who needs access (like me) to Rute on a regular basis.

Zack and I think that Nature is trying to make new water-causeways all along the stretch between Iznájar and Rute. In which case, they’re now likely as not going to have to make a bridge, or several, to maintain a road link between the two towns. And how they’re going to do that, on a cliffside stretch of road, with their allergy to doing a PROPER JOB, is frankly causing those of us who would have done it well in the first place, great amusement.

I’m afraid I have to put this Bernard Cribbins song in at this stage … it’s poetic … !!

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