In my line of work attention to detail is essential. Too bad more people in the workforce can't say the same.

A few days ago, while taking a stroll around our stately digs here on E. Broad St., I encountered one of the many security guards who patrol our block, which includes The American Red Cross of Greater Columbus, hence the security. We chatted a moment before he pointed out that a road crew from the City of Columbus had been through the alley behind our buildings. The crew had scraped the surface with a road grader. The security guard explained that they were planning to repave said alley.

I happened to be headed for the parking lot when a crew returned to accomplish the “paving.” The five-person crew swept through a block-long stretch of alley in under 30 minutes. It was a sight to see. And not a sight such as the Grand Canyon or amber waves of grain. No, it was a pitiful sight to see.
One person drove the asphalt truck while three more workers walked behind, spreading out the noxious goo that spewed from the back of the truck. A fifth worker brought up the rear on a steamroller, flattening out the asphalt as he went.

I watched for several minutes but could not deduce their method of choosing which spots to fill. They dumped the filler into holes that were situated near other gashes in the surface that were more vacant than the ones that were filled. If I had to guess I'd say their only guideline was to dump at least some amount of asphalt every four feet or so. The end result is an alley that is just as shabby as it was before the “repairs.” No, wait, it's shabbier.

It's not the first time I have noticed repairs to Columbus city streets turning out to be somewhat less than satisfactory. Making these shoddy repairs stand out even more is the fact that other suburban communities in central Ohio exhibit outstanding repair capabilities.

Not that many years ago my work took me frequently to Upper Arlington. I traveled a certain residential street often. One day I noticed a pothole had developed. A few days later I traveled the same road and saw the pothole had been fixed. Fixed so well, in fact, I stopped the car to marvel at the work the city workers of Upper Arlington had accomplished.

In UA, they cut a perfectly rectangular piece out of the road and then fill it completely with asphalt. Then they expertly flatten the stuff until it is the exact height as the existing road. When they are done, drivers experience no bump when they cross the patch. What's more, a year later the repair is still perfect. And other communities have similar service for their roads, which stands in great contrast to Columbus.
During the course of writing this missive, I made numerous trips to the alley to re-examine the result of the “repairs.” I had some concern that I may have exaggerated my description of the work. Rest assured I have not. In fact the job that was done by the City of Columbus crew is nothing short of awful. It's a disaster and it's an outrage.