Why Do Construction Projects Take So Damned Long?
Jonah Goldberg observes, “It took 410 days to build the Empire State Building; four years to erect the Golden Gate Bridge. The Pentagon took two years; the Alaska Highway just nine months. These days it takes longer to build an overpass.”
Naturally, he blames government red tape. But while I’m sure that’s a part of it — maybe even a significant part of it — that can’t be the main reason. Sure, we have all manner of regulations mandating higher degrees of inspection, worker safety, and the like — which I generally support — and there are the environmental impact statements and whatnot — of which I’m more skeptical — but that can’t possibly account for more than, say, a doubling of the time it takes to get things done.
Additionally, I’m rather confident that the engineering, equipment, training, and other things going into these projects is leaps and bounds above what it was when those fabled projects of yore were built.
The DC Metro area is constantly under construction and, because our infrastructure is so overburdened as it is, it’s a nightmare to shut down bridges, interstate exits, and even single lanes of significant roads. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge project has been going on for more than a decade with no end in sight. They’re shutting down one of the exits to Tyson’s Corner from the Beltway for two years to do something or another. I’m sure it’s necessary but don’t know why.
Anyone out there care to enlighten me?
via Glenn Reynolds