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Deconstructing Busytown: Part II

... Continued from here

As a professor who teaches transportation engineering and planning, I took a special interest in the chapter of What Do People Do All Day “Building a new road? . It begins “Good roads are very important to all of us.? And of course, they are.

The problem it seems is that Busytown and Workville are connected by a bumpy, crooked, dirt road, which becomes a mud pit when it rains. The towns are not that far apart (despite the fact that Betsy in Busytown needed airmail to send a letter to her grandmother in Workville, but perhaps the planes are needed because the road was so bad). The mayors of the two towns talk to the Chief Road Engineer and agree to pay him to build the road. So road construction seems to be private, or at least on a contract basis with some other agency (a state department of transportation?). A great deal of modern construction equipment is used to build an asphalt road with an aggregate base. The bridge though is stone construction, and seems very labor intensive. The road itself rides smoother and is paved, though it still seems crooked, perhaps there were difficulties in right-of-way acquisition – this could have been a problem if the road were privately owned, though one might think that a public agency would have acquired the right-of-way first through eminent domain. The road, a two-lane, signal controlled, undivided highway, with streetlights, signs, and guard rails, provides a rest area with a snack bar (managed by a mouse or rabbit serving pork, at least there is no cannibalism) and gas station. The signs are non-standard (for either the US or Europe), and this might create some confusion and be the cause of future incidents. As is true of all Richard Scarry stories, the dividing line painter truck manages to run off the road. In the end, there proves to be a great deal of |

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