Irene came and went, and luckily here in Southeastern Massachusetts, the hurricane was little more than a wind storm. I know other parts of New England, and places like North Carolina, wish they could say the same, but we barely saw any drizzle and wind gusts barely topped 50 mph.
Though we didn’t feel the full brunt of the hurricane, and we didn’t experience flooding or hurricane-like destruction, we did lose quite a few trees and limbs. And, of course, most were without electricity for some time, and there are many that are still hoping to have electricity restored.
In fact, there are several towns that won’t have power restored until at least Sunday, 8 days after the hurricane.
Estimates show 330,000 Massachusetts residents lost power for more than 24 hours, while 30,000 are still without power as I write this.
Of course, a lot of people are upset by this. And the big question you keep hearing is: What if this “wind event” actually was a hurricane?
The answer is our infrastructure. Like our roads, bridges, and water systems, parts of our electrical grid are so outdated, that they are in worse shape than some third-world countries. So bad, in fact, that a 50 mph wind storm can wipe out the power supplies of entire towns for over a week.
This storm and its effects are starting to bring to light the question of why we aren’t improving our infrastructure.
My neighborhood, which is only 25 years old, has a modern underground utility system, as do any of the more modern developments.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t help us when the breach is in the grid that supplies our neighborhood.
The construction industry is sitting in sort of a holding pattern for now while the economy starts to recover. But once the economy recovers, we will still be held in place if we don’t take some serious measures to improve our electrical, roadway, and water infrastructures.
Every town wants to grow, every town wants to attract new business, but if we don’t have adequate resources in place to support this growth, than we are dead in the water.
Usually, I would try to tie this story into an analogy of how contractors should likewise concentrate on improving their own infrastructure to more effectively operate their own business, but I’m just so awestruck at how bad things are in the wake of a minor storm.
In previous articles, I’ve talked about infrastructure improvements, and I’ve attended meetings with our state government, so I know they are aware of our problems.
The big question now is: What are we going to do about it?
Sadly, I don’t have the answer, but I know whatever the solution is, it will definitely help our construction industry. With so many workers still unemployed, and with so many contractors just getting by, wouldn’t it make sense to use this opportunity to put the industry back to work by improving our infrastructure now?