For as long as I’ve driven in the Tri-Cities–Bush Senior lived in the White House–I’ve negotiated this blasted pothole at the railroad crossing on Leslie Road. For years, homeowners in Rancho Reata and elsewhere along Leslie have braced themselves for the bumpy, jarring experience of this pothole, only two feet in circumference, but the master of its domain.
Drink cup holders are no match for this espresso spiller. Drivers don’t attempt to apply lipstick. Kids in the back seat and on the school bus know not to stick fingers in certain places when they see the sign RR.
Teenage drivers, general contractors, and UPS trucks actually slow down when they approach. That is the power of this pothole.
As Clinton moved into and out of the White House and G. W. Bush moved in, taxpayers constantly complained about the pothole, but neither the cities of Kennewick nor Richland would send out a crew to patch it because the land–and the pothole–belong to the BNSF Railroad, and BNSF has for years refused to fix the pothole. I remember sometime after Y2K, TV reporter Jessica Swain asked the RR why it wouldn’t fix this pothole that was being blamed for misaligned radial tires and lower backs. A BNSF spokesman in the railroad’s Portland office said the railroad would update the crossing only after local governments widened and made other improvements to Leslie Road.
So at daybreak today, with steam rollers pressing freshly poured black top and workers painting arrows on the lanes in the new roundabout at Leslie and Clearwater Avenue, city project supervisor Jack Arnold tells me he has just received confirmation from the railroad that it plans to send out a work detail May 9 to fix the pothole.
That will make it the 839th day of the Obama Administration.