Water on the road
Reflection on the road
Various views of the road between Tibbitt and Contwoyto. Since the speed of traffic is minimal and the distance enormous, it takes days to cover the trip. Several service areas provide lodging and food for the daring truckers who pass through. Photo source: this Skyscrapercity thread.
The challenge for truckers traveling this road is enormous. Despite the great safety measures taken (helicopters with ground penetrating radars to measure the thickness of the ice, teams of engineers ready 24 hours a day…) accidents are not rare. The ice can break up at any time and swallow the truck, its load and its driver in a few seconds. Canada’s icy roads are the scene of one of the most unusual reality shows on television: Ice Road Truckers.
Map of ice roads in Estonia. In the coldest winters there can be up to six open simultaneously. Below, speed limits on ice. It is recommended not to drive between 25 and 40 km/h to avoid resonance problems with ice. Photo sources: 1, 2
Some roads present certain singularities that escape from the conventional. Flooded roads are some of them. These are roads that twice a day are submerged under the sea due to the effects of the tide. It is therefore advisable to know the times when the sea level rises so as not to run the risk of being trapped in the water.
Passage of GoisIt is one of the most popular flooded roads known worldwide, following its inclusion in two stages of the Tour de France in 1999 and 2001. It is located in the town of Beauvoir-sur-Mer, in the Bay of Bourgneuf, and links the island of Noirmoutier with the mainland of France, in the southwest of the country. The causeway is paved with stone and was first used in the 16th century. It has a length of 4,150 meters and is inaccessible twice a day. Water levels reach between 1.50 and 4 meters high.
Shell Island RoadShell Island is located in Gwynedd, in the northwest of Wales, and is an eminently tourist area. It is home to the largest campsite in the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known flood roads in the country. The roadway is located west of Llanbedr, in the Snowdonia National Park, and is submerged in water twice a day. Although a series of pipes have been installed to facilitate drainage, adverse conditions mean that the road has to be closed even at low tide. A toll must be paid to drive on this roadway.
When traveling in summer, we sometimes have the feeling that we can’t see the asphalt clearly. We see in the distance what looks like a water stain, but as we get closer, it disappears. This is a mirage.
The main reason for this phenomenon is the refraction of light. When the sun’s rays strike a surface in very hot weather, the warm air rises above the less warm air.
It can be observed on cold winter days, when temperatures are very low and the surface is covered with ice or snow. The objects are at a higher altitude so we see them larger than they are.
There are other phenomena that can directly affect visibility, for example, when we pass through a shaded area and return to a brightly lit area. Glare is produced.
What is a mirage of love
In view of the strength that is currently acquiring the discussion and attempts to promote and implement projects of mega-diversion of water or so-called water highways, it is our duty as researchers in the field to clarify and declare:
The water highway or mega-diversion, in all its expressions, are retrograde, ecologically and socially unsustainable projects, catalyst of socio-environmental conflicts (WWF, 2009) and contrary to any contemporary global model that conceives development in solutions and perspectives based on respect for nature and its operating conditions.
It is only possible to conceive these megaprojects within the framework of the current neoliberal model of water administration, which has privatized its rights, reserves, access and uses; and which, despite decades of discussions and diverse scientific publications, has not been modified in the National Congress. But it is recognized as the causal engine of the main problems of equitable access to water. Therefore, it is not possible to continue thinking with the same mercantilist logic, and even following that logic, it is necessary to add an important user, nature, generally ignored in the equation, which far from exploiting the aquatic resource, uses it in biogeochemical processes to return more water, in better quality and new secondary products, among them «a rich biodiversity».