Friday, May 7, 2010

Rectifications (23) – Rough surface, and a Dip?

Rectifications (23) – Rough surface, and a Dip?
Torrey Orton– May 7, 2010
Some rough stuff ….

While "confronting" images and concepts abound these days (as they may always have done so?), some are astounding for their inanity. Road works again are among the more perniciously presumptuous, as if their owners put them around sporadically to remind us they are on the job. Or, they partially do the job like announcing from every perspective that there's road works on the side street and failing to note that that means you can't get through in a 4-wheel drive.

But among my most loved are small, caring missives letting the passing trade know that a minor irritant awaits us…a potential hitch in the otherwise silky passage to which we are accustomed on Victorian freeways, and byways. Take this for instance:


It and its twin arrived on Madden (no ministerial relation??) Grove, Richmond, a few weeks ago - one for each direction of traffic as they should be. I've been reaching for an expression of our experience of "rough" going either way. It requires a deft linguistic touch, similar to the sense a lip has for a loose hair sneaking in a partly open mouth. Anyway, the rough is a slight butt massage as the tire impacts are couched by the shock absorbers... so slight that without the signage we would not have noticed anything at all, and we were feeling for it with the advantage of the advanced notice.

Now the smart research types will tell me that forewarning is a violation of research protocols, so I should just pack the whole complaint in a mental kit bag and sign off!! Of course, rough's rough for someone, why else a sign? By chance, as I walked up to contemplate the warning above, two road workers (private contracting company, of course) stopped just ahead of me and 20 meters short of the sign. They were doing curbside storm water repairs – ensuring the drains are open for the next local deluge. I asked the shovel wielder why the sign was there and he acknowledged my wonder with his own at the "rough" component of its warning. He and his driver colleague had not felt a thing themselves. "I'll put in a query", he volunteered. My research reliability quotient just shot up, but I forget to ask him to put me on his customer query list. Validity down!

…and then, a dip?

There's an elder sibling to Rough Surface on the Westgate Freeway eastbound about three ks short of the bridge: "Dip" forewarns a gliding drop which registers slightly at 100kph as a fleeting weightlessness of my 110kgs as the seat dropped I'd guess 30 cms over 2-3 meters. We've been passing through this warning for 6 months or more and keep looking for the indicators of death and destruction which would warrant it. Did some hoonmobile with a three inch clearance owned by a vacuous entity (micro-celebrity) bottom out on the offending gulch at 150kph? Did s/he construe their own indulgence as an offence by VicRoads which some under-employed accident compensation barrister could extract fees for?? Why else the warning??

Real dips and crests with unacknowledged roughs

Now all this has reminded me of Jane's reminders to me that there are unacknowledged dips in country roads with seriously catastrophic potentials. When I first got off the boat in Oz (yes, I did get off a boat in '73) I had never seen a road as long or straight as many western district country roads, or even the Geelong road at the time. On some of these, real dips existed where a car could be totally hidden from the view of on-coming cars. These days most such are marked DIP, at least within 100ks of the GPO. Disregard for the warning while passing is an invitation to a terminal open road head-on. As for rough surfaces, there were many, and still are in all their unmarked originality.

1 comment:

  1. I passed the way of Rough Surface yesterday but in an inner lane rather than the outer one and on the other side of the road. What did I find? A Dip masquerading as a rough surface. It was competitive with the correctly, if extremely, marked one on the Westgate Feeway. The latter, by the way, is only one K from the bridge, not the three i claimed above.
    Happy trails to you.