As cities and counties grapple with shrinking pots of money and a desire not to raise taxes, one of the ideas you hear from time to time is to let paved roads go to gravel.
We’ve built a road and street infrastructure, the argument goes, that we cannot afford to maintain, so let’s turn back the clock and drive on gravel roads. Ground Level’s Brooke Walsh wrote about it last year in regard to exurban Baldwin Township.
As that post noted, it’s not so easy to determine exactly whether you save money in the long run with gravel, but on some intuitive level, at least, it makes sense that you would.
So I wondered when I saw this story in the Duluth News Tribune about a documentary being shot to show how the water and sewer infrastructure is falling apart beneath Duluth.
If the water system gets too expensive to maintain (a la paved roads), what is the gravel road equivalent? Private wells in every backyard? A common well on every street? Bucket brigade organizations to fight fires?