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post #1 of 6 Old 09-26-2005, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Home from RITA

I'm happy to report that for us, Rita was just about all to do about nothing. You might recall reported letting out of here (Friendswood, TX) on Wednesday expecting the worst. Traveled back last night using the back roads to the West and South of Houston. We were originally just going to head down I-45 from Dallas, but friends called with reports of significant problems south of Ennis and again around Conroe. So we cut across to I-35 and SR77 instead. Anyway, no problems, plenty of fuel, relatively light flowing traffic. Ten hours return trip.

Other than some trees showing some signs of wind damage, nothing else out of place. We indeed dodged a bullet here in the metro Houston area. My heart goes out to those along the coast and into Louisiana that took Rita hard.

Thanks to you guys that said some prayers and kept some fingures crossed that we may have a safe trip.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-26-2005, 01:08 PM
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Jolly good I say!

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post #3 of 6 Old 09-26-2005, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Some additional synopsis about the trip out...

I had sent my wife and daughter out about 4:30 AM Wednesday morning. Their trip was a straight shot 7 hours or so to Oklahoma City. My son and I packed up and secured the house, then left around 5:00 PM Wed. Our trip was 17 hours. At one point, somewhere around the Woodlands (just north of Houston on 45) we moved 1.6 miles in 2+ hours. We would have been in that particular predicament longer had I not taken to the shoulder and grass with my 4WD truck. Anyway, as you might expect, minor fender benders became major problems as people were more interested in talking (or shouting) about their scratched bumpers than moving out of the way. Very few cage drivers understand what "If you can steer it, clear it" means. But, I have to say that by and large, despite frustration, almost everyone was calm and patient on the road.

To my perspective, the primary cause of the grid lock was that the major highways through Houston are three and four (or more) lanes. When you get out of the city, these highways collapse to two lanes, and sometimes only one in the case of minor highways or latent construction zones on the interstates. But what really made matters worse was the incompetance of the highway patrol and law enforcement in general. These guys apparently had orders to 'control' the exits and entrances to I-45 (I can't speak to the other directions). Rather than determining the causes of the bottlenecks and finding ways to alleviate the same, these guys just sat in their cruisers BLOCKING the ramps. Instead, they could have been actively directing traffic onto the frontage roads, shoulders, parallel arteries, etc. In places where drivers (including me) took it upon themselves to use the shoulders, they pushed us back into the 1.5 MPH flow. HOW REDICULOUS! All of this with the inbound lanes nearly devoid of traffic. Again, HOW REDICULOUS!!

Some simple, common sense actions on the part of law enforcement (let alone those in charge) could have made all the difference for all those people getting out. Can you image the outcry had people been injured by RITA because they were caught in grid lock that could have mitigated rather than exacerbated by law enforcement? Watch, the fix will be to contruct more highway lanes all the way to Dallas and Austin to eliminate the bottlenecks.
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-26-2005, 03:37 PM
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Glad to here all is well on the home front! You guys dodged one helluva' bullet f'sho! Watching the evacuations on TV all you saw was parked traffic on one side of the interstate and very few cars going the other way. They should've made both sides one direction as soon as mand. evacuations were ordered instead they waited until the last minute to do it. That would have eased traffic flow out of the area, But what do I know? They did the same shit to us last year.

" A good friend will come and bail you out of jail... but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying "Damn that was fun!!"
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-26-2005, 08:14 PM
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Glad you came out Ok. I am sure there were more lessons learned from "Rita" that will improve future situations. I was surprised that all lanes were not converted to outbound only, much sooner. And sending out fuel trucks was a good gesture. But not having anyway to pump to cars was a glitch that will be fixed in the future.

Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is already made up.
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-26-2005, 08:23 PM
I really need to get out of the house
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good to hear that all of you are safe.
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