If technical things don't interest you, then you might want to stop reading at this point.
I've built a few roads, including highways. They're a marvel of modern construction, but they suffer from something that is common and destructive.
That substance? Water.
Every roadbed has either naturally compacted material, or a material manipulated to a density considered best for supporting the completed pavement structure. While some roads are constructed on bedrock, which is removed to a grade that allows the pavement, many aren't and the substructure reacts to moisture. Moisture allows the material to swell, lose compaction or migrate away, through the hydraulic action of the pavement on the subgrade (constant downward movement by traffic is like the ram on a hydraulic cylinder.Since water is not compressible, the force is transferred into the sub-base, which removes material and creates voids.) The result is pavement failures, which can eventually lead to complete replacement.
Moisture under pavement has another problem it creates: Roots. Trees and plants seek the moisture, grow over time and the swelling of the roots destroys paving. If you don't believe this, find an old street, with large trees, and take a gander at the horrible condition of the sidewalks.
This where the stupid part comes into play:
I was driving down a new road in an adjacent town. I remember when it bid, the millions required for completion and the useful purpose this road would allow when it connected new home additions with local businesses. What I saw disturbed me.
The new, four lane, curbed, concrete paving was built with a planted median about 8 feet wide. In this median were trees, which will grow large and a sprinkler system designed to provide water. Otherwise, in a few years, the pavement will unravel to the point repairs will be necessary. Eventually, either the trees will have to go, or the road will need replacing.
How stupid can people get? Wasn't there at least one sound mind involved that could have warned of this error and convinced the city to avoid appearing as dumbasses?
I don't know about you, but I'm reaching the point I'm almost dumbfounded by the pissed off money spent by politicians and bureaucrats. It's like an illness and the ignorance is becoming pandemic.