It's not about the house.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Townville Times: Rang Dang Diggedy Dang Di-Dang

Remember the bridge I wrote about a couple weeks ago? The one that is the bane of my existence and will eventually be – if we don’t get out of Townville soon – the instrument of my ultimate destruction? Well, lookie the headline in today’s Wicked Local News!

Safety improvements made on Fore River Bridge!!!

Woohoo! All right! Maybe they’re fixing it so it doesn’t drop bolts in the river anymore! Maybe they’re fixing the clock so it opens on schedule instead of popping up and down like a whack-a-mole! Or maybe – dare I hope? – they might actually be starting the process of tearing the bastard down!

Let’s have a peek at the good news together, shall we?

A drive across the winding temporary Fore River Bridge tests the agility of motorists to stay in the travel lanes…

I’ll say it does!

…but this effort is a little easier because Mass Highway painted new white roadway stripes on the asphalt two weeks ago.

Oh bollocks, are you kidding me?

“This bridge is nothing short of a disaster right now,” said District 1 Councilor Victor Pap III while driving across the 210-foot span Aug. 18…

I’ll say it is!

…“But Rep. James Murphy met with me and (councilor-at-large) Brian McDonald to get the roadway lines painted.”

Oh bollocks, you’re still talking about the lines?

The new paint marks the lane boundaries for drivers going in each direction across the span and on each avenue of approach to the bridge.

Really? In both directions? Go-lly, what won’t they think of next?

During a meeting last month, McDonald urged the council to notify Mass Highway about the fading lane markings and poor nighttime visibility endured by drivers because of dim street lighting

Seriously, of all the things that are wrong with the Fore River bridge, poor lighting is not one of them. It’s a bridge, for one thing, so there are no trees or houses in the way, and it runs right past the U.S.S. Salem, for crying out loud. You think that old girl’s not lit up to kingdom come?

“Mass Highway was very responsive,” …

No! You don’t say!

…Pap said.

Huh. I guess you do.

“The lines have been painted and the street lights have been fixed. The roadway signage has been improved.”

Oh, now we’re worrying about the signage? I’ll tell you what sign down there needs fixing: the one that purports to tell you what time the bridge is going up! Beyond that, if I’m not mistaken, the only sign on the whole length of the bridge is one that reads “No Jumping” – and Johnny and I always wonder whether it's speaking to potential swimmers or attempted suicides.

A “no jumping” sign warns daredevils not to leap into the Fore River …


…and motorists are cautioned against passing drivers while on the span.

Nuh-uh. No, they’re not. I know, because I’ve looked. Because it has solid lines, which usually means you’re not supposed to pass, but people go so slow sometimes. I just can’t stand it, so I have looked and looked repeatedly for signs telling me not to pass. I tell ya, they ain’t there.

Pap said the new signs are more visible to drivers than the smaller posters.

Posters? Oh.

“There were little antiquated signs on the bridge,” Pap said.


North Weymouth Civic Association Vice President Sandy Gildea said the bridge should have signs stating speed limit strictly enforced …

Well -- aside from the fact that that sentence seems to be missing some quotation marks -- if it's going to have signs stating "speed limit strictly enforced," then the speed limit would have to be strictly enforced, wouldn’t it? So that plan’s out. Because the river is the town line: the bridge is technically in Quincy, but as soon as you touch ground this side you're in Weymouth. Nobody speeds going the other way, because there's a rotary as soon as you touch ground on the other side, and Weymouth cops have no jurisdiction over what you may or may not do while on the bridge. I don’t even know what the speed limit is on it. There is usually a cop sitting on this side of it, but I’ve never once seen anybody done. Which might have something to do with the jurisdiction-thingy, or it might have to do with the fact that the cop is usually nodding off, reading a book, or leaning up against his cruiser, staring off into the air.

… and placards listing emergency phone numbers for drivers to call during a crisis.

Oh, please. Call 911. Or just run down and goose the idle cop.

“We want a total safety inspection of the signs, (bridge) security, and safety,” Gildea said.

Um, well, actually, that doesn’t sound like a totally bad idea.

Pap said Mass Highway plans to install speed limit signs on the bridge to warn drivers. “What we are looking to have are speed limit signs that are more visible and additional signs to help drivers navigate their way across the bridge,” he said.

Um, let me guess: you get on it at one side of the river, then follow it over to the other side?

Some of the signs will have arrows to warn drivers about the curves on the span’s roadway. “We want to have arrows that indicate sharp curves on the bridge and that the area is heavily monitored for speeders,” Pap said.

Ah yes, the S curve. I'm used to it, so I'd forgotten. Yeah, okay, it mightn’t be a bad idea to warn people about that. Especially because it is a bridge and all, so if you fail to negotiate it you could wind up in the drink.

“There is a police cruiser parked on the Weymouth side of the bridge a few times each week that watches for speeders and I’m happy to see that.”

Oh, me too. I do hate to see public servants taking naps for free.

He said Mass Highway is considering the requests for additional warning signs by local …

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Is it too late to make requests? Can we have one that says “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here?”



“They are evaluating everything,” Pap said. “The last thing you want to see is 20 different signs because they would lost their visibility and prominence.”

True, true. I still think a little divine comic relief could go a long way towards relieving some of Townville’s ennui, though. Or at the very least, maybe save some other poor soul from suffering my fate.

The temporary span is used daily by approximately 50,000 drivers.

And I bet that – at some time or another, while waiting for the damn thing to go down – every single one of them threw something in my yard.



su said...

Twirl, twirl, twirl..Teacher Fails to Negotiate Curve! Dang

jen said...

And not one funny about the name "Pap". Huh.

Sparkle Plenty said...

HOLY COW! So is this basically like if I broke my leg, my arm, and my collarbone and I decided to fix these things by getting a new hairdo, putting on some make-up, and buying new shoes?

I guess "We want a total safety inspection of the signs, (bridge) security, and safety” sounds promising. Sorta. 'cause this might translate to: funding a "needs assessment" to determine the timeliness of conducting a "feasibility study" to investigate whether it would be a good idea to implement a total safety inspection.

Government is kinda dazzlingly SNAFUed.

EGE said...

Su -- Yup!

Jen -- AUGH! How could I smear that one up so badly?

Sparkle -- I lurv your analogy! It's like an SAT test question:

broken bridge:new white lines::broken collarbone is to ------

a. full body cast
b. detoxification program
c. rescuing baby Jessica
d. New Hairdo!

EGE said...

P.S. Did anybody get the title? At all? Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang?

Dang di-dang. I gotta start doing poem contests again.

LadyCiani said...

Wait, there's an S-curve on a bridge? I thought the purpose of a bridge was to go from one point to another in a straight line. How (and WHY) do you put an S-curve over a body of water?

And for the title I'm hearing Ned Flanders: "Hi-diddly-ho, neighbor!"

EGE said...

Well, I guess a lot of the S-part is still technically on the ground, and I guess it doesn't look quite so S-like from the air, but here's a picture of it from Google Maps.

Oh, and on the title? Nope. Not Ned.

LadyCiani said...

Ok, Bridge St floats in the air in that map! It doesn't even follow the bridge in the picture. LOL

LadyCiani said...

Oh, and now I'm trying to guess which one's the Ass-Vac from the air. Yeah, not working so well.

jen said...

"White lines dont do it." No ma'am. They certainly dont. But a nice new Hairdo might...

Ladyscot said...

"Greased Lightening"?

Charlie said...

Pay your toll, sell your soul ...
The longer you stay, the more you pay ...

EGE said...

Ooh, "Greased Lightening" would have been a good one, but no. Jen and Charlie both got it. YAY, Jen and Charlie!

I had somehow forgotten all about the contests. This wasn't one, because I didn't say so in the post so that wasn't fair. But I will start doing them again, soon. Because they were fun!

EGE said...

Oh, PS, for those of you who still don't get it: the song is "White Lines" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.