Ocryx and Joe

Ocryx and Joe discuss Highway Engineering

Or is it "Imagineering"? -No, because if Disney had done it, it would work.
posted Aug 11, 2010
Ocryx and Joe - Ocryx and Joe discuss Highway Engineering (Tacoma, CLAW, Highway 16 interchange, Ocryx and Joe)
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A few weeks ago, we were driving past the Highway 16 interchange project, and I was thinking- "Isn't it amazing that they can build things like this from different directions and have everything come out perfect?" -and then, three days later it's discovered- nope, they can't. And then I saw the T-intersection where a limited access on ramp used to be. That's not progress- that's a disaster waiting to happen. Oh well. Welcome to the NEW FUTURE (tm).

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 8:07am
man.. such a perfect comic. Thanks JinxMedic!

by The Jinxmedic on 8/11/2010 @ 8:09am

by fredo on 8/11/2010 @ 9:10am
Good drawing jinx. you have a sort of Dr. Seuss style with lots of interesting details.

Regarding the subject matter. The entire project is under the direction of the same people who run the state ferry system and the director is Paula Hammond, a Chris Gregoire appointee. Blowing wads of money is just another day at the office for these people.

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 9:37am
I like the van with the moon window

by The Jinxmedic on 8/11/2010 @ 10:10am
I thought you would! :-)

by Warren on 8/11/2010 @ 10:12am
When I saw the T intersection up there I knew it was going to be a SNAFU

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 12:00pm
it's not the fall that kills drivers, it's the sudden stop.

by ixia on 8/11/2010 @ 12:45pm
Same funny thing happened with the bridge of glass. They started building it from both sides ......only to miss by a few feet.

The T-intersection is a shocker. First time some hapless driver plows through and plunges 80 feet they will have to shut down the whole thing and rebuild. Why not fix it now?

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 12:53pm
with the right speed/angle car could land on the foundry tank farm.


by KevinFreitas on 8/11/2010 @ 12:58pm
Wow, I was hoping that "T" was a temporary something-er-other. Won't having an intersection that close to the highway potentially cause unwanted backups on Hwy 16 eastbound?

Whatever the case, another solid O&J!

by The Jinxmedic on 8/11/2010 @ 1:14pm
State DoT says they do not anticipate more than an 18 car backup at any given time, which can be cleared with a single traffic light cycle. Sounds like underestimation to me, let alone the safety issue.

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/11/2010 @ 3:05pm
Isn't that T-intersection the off ramp from 16 EB to Sprague?

by The Jinxmedic on 8/11/2010 @ 3:51pm
Who knows?

Maybe they should have a rope ladder to get to the on ramp... ...but then there's the car thing, oh well.

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/11/2010 @ 4:14pm
They can make a fish ladder, why not a car ladder?

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 4:19pm
Cars cant swim thorax.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/11/2010 @ 4:23pm
actually they would need to be able to fly.

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 4:35pm
a car flying up a fish ladder. now i've heard everything.

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/11/2010 @ 4:39pm
My god... this just writes itself!

by tacoma1 on 8/11/2010 @ 8:44pm
This is an excellent cartoon, it says alot about how f'd up WSDOT is. Fortunately, I won't be using this overpriced engineering disaster. Unfortunately, I do get to help pay for it even though no one asked me.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/11/2010 @ 10:05pm
Seriously, how practical is a ladder made out of fish. Maybe all of this is just a red herring.

by Joel 413 on 8/11/2010 @ 10:34pm
Keep in mind that is supposed to be a 3-lane T-intersection, but the plans called for a 2-lane ramp to a 3-lane overpass. It wasn't discovered until the overpass was complete.

Hence, why they are tearing down that off-ramp.

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 10:37pm
well said Tacoma1

by fredo on 8/12/2010 @ 6:49am
"I do get to help pay for it even though no one asked me." tacoma1

Time for people to find jobs locally so none of us has to pay for these projects. Anybody ever hear of the computer, the internet, teleconferencing? Commuting is so 1980s.

by Mofo from the Hood on 8/12/2010 @ 7:14am
The real problem with building overpasses is that they overpass business districts thereby disregarding the opportunity for business owners and the Department of Revenue to make monster dump trucks full of money.

by fredo on 8/12/2010 @ 7:43am
But mofo the overpasses built with prevailing wage labor stimulate the economy so more people will be able to move to the suburbs and raise larger families that will need enhanced infrastructure and transit options to get to work that will require more overpasses and more transit routes and more stimulus money and a greater need for tax revenue. It's a classic Win Win Win situation. Don't worry, Governor Gregoire has it all under control.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/12/2010 @ 8:38am
"monster dump trucks full of money"

Done that already... comics.feedtacoma.com/img/comics/posts/s...

by tacoma1 on 8/12/2010 @ 9:16am
This is somewhat related................. The Onion (America's Finest News Source) just reported another environmental disaster involving millions of barrels of oil!


by Mofo from the Hood on 8/12/2010 @ 11:50am
As The Jinxmedic illustrated and Fredo pointed out, government stimulus money doesn't stimulate the economy but it sure does stimulate more government spending.

Give the government monster trucks full of money and you get monster overpasses, or monster detours?

by thriceallamerican on 8/12/2010 @ 12:14pm
OK, I'm not going to say I'm sold on this thing, but the Trib did an article on this a couple of weeks ago that at least tries to explain the thinking on the part of WDOT. So just to play devil's advocate and follow their line of thinking, this approach is much cheaper than a "sweeping curve" and may do more for traffic control in that it will discourage people from still driving 60 MPH after exiting to Sprague. And granted there is some novelty to having this up in the air, but from a purely road configuration standpoint, this isn't much different than any other freeway exit with an overpass/underpass and traffic lights.

by captiveyak on 8/12/2010 @ 12:22pm
you could vote all those directors and administrators out, and state DOT's would still suck ass. They do not coordinate well with contracted consultants. Their design and construction teams have abundant job security. They rely so heavily on regulation and codes that quality review becomes more of a reflex than a function. They are spread too thin to properly supervise all the mega-projects under their direction. The current economic situation has created a flurry of cutthroat bid wars for publicly funded projects, with many companies betting their very survival on a winning bid.

When you can tell me how to deal with that crap -- an no knee-jerk "private sector" cliche's, please -- let me know. We're talking about highways and bridges with flying hunks of steel on them. A highly regulated, standardized system is a life-saving necessity.

by tacoma1 on 8/12/2010 @ 12:34pm
The State Transportation Chair is an ex hairdresser from Camano Island, Senator Mary Margaret Haugen. She knows nothing about Tacoma, or highways for that matter. WSDOT get's their money, direction, and oversight from people like her. Unfortunately, since she is from Camano Island, Tacomans can't vote out this person. All we can do is vote in our local Tacoma people that are smarter, and would have our best interests in mind.

by Maria on 8/12/2010 @ 1:00pm
Nice detail with the steeple & Dome in the last panel. I also love the shapes of your gray spaces between the characters. The beauty of the empty is always a sign of good art.

When I saw the info about the T-intersection & stoplight, I was really surprised. It seems like the backup from that T is going to be a problem, which means the whole point of fixing the Nalley Valley interchange is defeated, i.e., the previous backup near Sprague caused horrible merging conditions & slowdowns.

Hopefully we didn't just spend $999 kabillion to build a nicer looking traffic jam. Though I love those giant concrete columns.

by NineInchNachos on 8/12/2010 @ 1:15pm
seattle gets light rail street cars, tacoma gets this thing. Senator Mary Margaret Haugen really chips my glass.

by captiveyak on 8/12/2010 @ 1:31pm
No matter how poorly Haugan may or may not dispatch her duties, she could not have prevented our "Error in the Sky Without a Diamond Lane".

Even if Ernest Hemingway and Albert Einstein had her job concurrently, something like that could, and likely would, still happen.

by NineInchNachos on 8/12/2010 @ 1:36pm
true. I still think she is lousy for other reasons.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/12/2010 @ 1:39pm
"Even if Ernest Hemingway and Albert Einstein had her job concurrently" -sounds like a job for the TACOMIC.

by fredo on 8/12/2010 @ 2:51pm
I enjoyed the postings comparing transit improvements in Seattle vs. Tacoma.

The distinctions are quite astonishing.

Seattle gets a tunnel project worth $2B +
Seattle gets light rail to the airport
Seattle gets streetcars

Tacoma gets the dilapadated MM Bridge
Tacoma gets $700K to spend on a parking lot or any other downtown project.

I know the Seattle metro area has twice the population of Tacoma but doesn't this distribution of available funds seem a little inequitable?

by NineInchNachos on 8/12/2010 @ 3:35pm
Let me back up my left wing hate with a google link


by captiveyak on 8/13/2010 @ 6:58am
i don't like Haugen either. i just get tired of "big stupid bureaucratic government" getting blamed for everything. And I could be wrong in my assessment of the problem.

by NineInchNachos on 8/13/2010 @ 7:49am
I feel your pain sir.

by NineInchNachos on 6/23/2011 @ 10:02am

"Politicians, highway officials and construction bosses made speeches and posed for photos on an offramp of the new Nalley Valley interchange Wednesday, giving a ceremonial blessing to the $184 million project before it opens to traffic on Sunday."

Read more: www.thenewstribune.com/2011/06/22/171704...

rr commentary: I know the Jinxmedic is like a level 3 Dominican Jesuit priest or something... my question is, does the Jinxmedic bless his completed strips? Might be an added bonus for framed O&J comics in art shows.

by ixia on 6/23/2011 @ 10:32am
Is it true there will be no on-ramp from Sprague onto I-5 until 2022??
We avoid Union because it always is a bottleneck. The best way seems to take S. 13 to downtown and onto 705.
I don't know if you have taken S. 13. The road has no striping left. Portions of it (just past MLK) are a crazy church parking lot. Originally, there were two lanes past Pacific feeding the on-ramp to 705. One lane has been temporarily blocked for years and years. No apparent reason other than apathy. Indeed this is the famous apathy corner: Pacific and 13th. R.I.P Luzon. They did not even make you into surface parking (yet).

by The Jinxmedic on 6/23/2011 @ 11:14am

by NineInchNachos on 6/23/2011 @ 11:40am
praise jesus!

i wanna ride in this thing...

by NineInchNachos on 6/23/2011 @ 11:42am
we are blessed.

by NineInchNachos on 6/23/2011 @ 11:47am
OK, apparently "BLESSING" was just a word used by the TNT... no actual priests were involved. Guess i'll go eat crow.

by cisserosmiley on 6/23/2011 @ 12:07pm
but these are the folks that screwed it up...why are they posing?

by The Jinxmedic on 6/23/2011 @ 2:23pm
Cissero: It's sort of like a mug shot. These photos will be distributed to other "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" infrastructure projects to serve as a "no hire" chart.

RR: No crow eating. They are a protected species. Go figure.

by The Jinxmedic on 7/8/2011 @ 8:53am
In today's TNT! First accident involving the stupid elevated "L" off ramp intersection (drawn here as a "T" before we knew exactly how lame this idea really was) mere days after opening: www.thenewstribune.com/2011/07/07/173681...

by fredo on 7/8/2011 @ 9:01am
predicted by THE JINXMEDIC!

All overseen by Chris Gregoire's good buddy and DOT appointee Paula Hammond. The kooky highway design is kind of a metaphor for the current state of affairs here in Washington.

by NineInchNachos on 7/8/2011 @ 9:09am
drove the Sprague exit the other day for the first time and was rather caught off guard by the 15 mph turn.

by The Jinxmedic on 7/8/2011 @ 9:21am
Someone will die. And it would have been preventable with GOOD DESIGN.

by thriceallamerican on 7/8/2011 @ 9:34am
It's not perfect, but let's be clear. The current "L intersection" (which in the future will be a "T intersection") is just a big intersection in the sky. No different from exiting at Union and reaching the intersection at the end of the ramp. If someone crashes their car into the jersey barrier, it's pretty much their own damn fault for not paying attention (or being drunk, or speeding, etc.).

by The Jinxmedic on 7/8/2011 @ 11:26am
There is no excuse for bad design, especially after gaining over 75 years of experience in building limited-access highways in this country. Good design protects stupid people from themselves. Otherwise, why have guard rails, Jersey barriers, or crash barrels?

by ixia on 7/8/2011 @ 12:00pm
Signage is bad, or plain missing. There is no mention that you cannot take Sprague onto I-5 north, like it was before. If the DOT changes major traffic flow, please at least put up a friggen sign. This whole new piece of highway connectors gives us fewer options and less connections. Makes no sense....

by fredo on 7/8/2011 @ 12:19pm
" If someone crashes their car into the jersey barrier, it's pretty much their own damn fault for not paying attention (or being drunk, or speeding, etc.)." thrice

Wow, that's pretty hard core. You mean if a family with some little kids was pushed over the jersey barrier to their death by a semi truck behind them that didn't observe the signage it's "their own damn fault?" That will bring some comfort to their relatives.

by thriceallamerican on 7/8/2011 @ 12:37pm
Fair enough, fredo. There can always be innocent bystanders and I do feel for them.

Long term (once Sprague-to-I-5 connections are established, and it does suck that we have to wait so long for that) we're looking at a situation where the exiting lane will be able to continue straight through to the onramp (albeit through a signaled intersection) rather than dead-ending at a jersey barrier. Incomplete construction projects tend to have higher danger than completed ones.

Also, while I'm sure there are exceptional situations, we're kidding ourselves if we think a car is just going to break right through one of these tall jersey barriers. Sure, maybe someone could go airborne and clear the wall, but we're talking pretty low odds of an accident causing someone to plummet.

Look, I don't think this is an ideal design, but it saved a ridiculous amount of money and it's not the travesty that some of us are making us out to be. (And "some of us" seem obsessed with government spending too much on stuff right up until they save money on something and we don't like the result.) I, for one, contend that once the entire project is done (somewhere way in the future, unfortunately) it's going to be quite workable from the traffic volume and flow standpoints.

by fredo on 7/8/2011 @ 12:43pm
Not really much reason to tie Sprague ave North into the highway 16 design. People who want to go to sprague just take the union Ave. turnoff, take a right on so. 19th street and head east. What's the big deal?

by NineInchNachos on 7/8/2011 @ 1:17pm
we have this bad design because of the gays and minimum wage laws... or maybe i'm missing something. I'm curious to hear if freeway planners considered any second amendment remedies

by NineInchNachos on 7/8/2011 @ 2:42pm
this just in from CLAW cadet Jeremy Gregory...

by ixia on 7/8/2011 @ 3:20pm
Did Jeremy draw that with black chalk?

by The Jinxmedic on 7/8/2011 @ 3:30pm

by NineInchNachos on 8/3/2011 @ 1:38pm
this subject matter made it into a popular seattle art magazine!


by NineInchNachos on 7/3/2013 @ 6:37am