The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Los Angeles:
A dangerous transportation system

Oct 22, 2007

Two men and a child died in a fiery crash involving 30 big trucks in the area north of Los Angeles on the night of October 13. A part of the blazing Interstate 5 was shut down indefinitely, as authorities sought the cause of the crash. It has crippled part of the main north-south highway along the west coast of the United States, running from Mexico to Canada.

Truckers interviewed by reporters say there is no other route for them to take. One trucker said, “It’s the only interstate that connects Northern and Southern California. If any part of it shuts down, there’s just no good way around it. There are secondary routes, but they’re not made to handle heavier loads.”

Truck drivers said the tunnel was dark and had an enormous curve that created a blind spot. As one put it, “You don’t see what’s ahead until you get in the tunnel.... It’s like you’re going blind. The tunnel is so dark – you only have a second to react.” Some years ago, the speed limit in the tunnel was raised to 55 miles per hour from 45, but conditions in the tunnel were not improved. Like many other parts of the infrastructure, the road system has not been modernized for the traffic it carries.

The trucks are not the only ones at risk on today’s highways. I-5 carries 225,000 vehicles per day, according to authorities.

Driving is like playing Russian roulette, risking our lives daily, in a system where a bridge can collapse or trucks pile up in a dangerous tunnel. Enormous sums are handed out to companies building these roads – with little to show for it.

Road contracts are only another government pocket for business to pick, not a way to build a safe and quick method to get people and freight from one place to another.