To get to the Shell station…

In some cases we have become a “Nanny State” where the government is always trying to protect us from, well, ourselves.  This story about a 4-year old girl who had her lunch confiscated by a state inspector for not being “healthy enough.”

But then there are times when the IG recognizes a problem and solves said problem to the benefit of the safety of you and me.  Looking at traffic data and determining that a stretch of road or intersection has a higher level of accidents seems prudent.  The next step is to analyze the data and surrounding environment and propose a solution to make the street safer sounds like a good thing.

For the record, I am against traffic accidents.  Regardless of how much a lot of drivers really need a nudge in the quarter panel.

So when a half-mile stretch of US Highway 27 in Florida is redesigned $3.4 million to reduce accidents, that sounds like a great thing. 

Here’s the kicker.  It has nothing to do with cars hitting cars or cars hitting people, or cars hitting other fixed objects.  Its turtles.  Seriously. Turtles.

For the record, I am for turtles.  If you have ever seen a sea turtle while SCUBA diving, you would be amazed at their grace and beauty.

I’m not for spending $3.4 million of yours and my money on a Turtle Underpass which is what was built.  And the logic used was to decry the dangers of a car hitting a turtle and the turtle being propelled and hitting another car.  And anyone who has played Super Mario Bros. knows the inherit risks of dead turtles being cast about.

What astounds me is the cost to dig a ditch, drop in some concrete pipe, cover it up, and put chain link fences on either side to funnel the turtles into the new Turtle Tube.  $3.4 million?  Really?

It’s a four lane highway, so assume 12′ per lane, so 48′ plus shoulder and extra.  So let’s say 80′ long.  Concrete culverts 24″x48″ sell for $116.25 ( so roughly $2400 in concrete.  Chain link fence runs about $3 a linear foot so a mile’s worth of chain link fence (including posts) is about $16,000.  So let’s round up to $20,000 in materials to include a little dirt, gravel, and concrete for the fence post footers.

  So here’s how the government works….

Hmmm….  We need to build a Turtle Pipe under US Highway 27.  Material costs should be about $20,000.  So when you add in labor, union fees, overtime, paperwork, EPA regulations, environmental impact studies, wetland remediation, temporary water retention areas, and tax tag and title, that comes to $3.4 million.

Sounds like a deal to me.

So why did the turtle cross the road?

It’s so simple.  To get to the Shell station.