Can anyone top this?
Seattle has a waterfront viaduct that, besides being an eyesore, is considered likely to collapse in the event of an earthquake. In fact, the Nisqually earthquake of 2002 caused considerable damage and settling.
That was our problem.
Then, our brilliant politicians decided to replace the viaduct with a tunnel. At first, the idea of tearing down the eyesore conjured up images of a beautiful downtown panorama and waterfront mall. The projected cost? 2.8 billion, with federal help.
Then, along came Big Bertha, the worlds largest drilling machine who started work a few months ago amidst union delays. Bertha had gone about 100 feet of her 1.5 mile journey when she stalled on an "unknown object" December 6. As expected, speculation about the unknown has been vigorous for the last month, with suggestions ranging from ancient UFO to sunken railroad cars from Seattle's colorful past.
Today, at about 2 PM Pacific Time, WADOT called a press conference to announce the identity of the offending barrier. And . . . This deserves fanfare as certainly the quintessential example of bureaucratic stupidity.
An 8 inch steel pipe
(Bertha's cutter can handle anything but metal.) An 8 inch steel pipe WADOT had themselves installed in 2002 to test substrate quality. An 8 inch steel pipe clearly marked in the engineering schematic. An 8 inch steel pipe that could cause as much as a one year delay in the project. Bertha can't go around the 8 inch steel pipe and Bertha can't back up from the 8 inch steel pipe.
Seattle is often referred to as the city with the highest US educational level. So much for brains.
Anybody have a better story? Bostonians encouraged to apply.