Ever get stuck on the Casco Bay Bridge? If you've been one of the poor motorists who has to wait out a technical difficulty, you know how frustrating it can be.
On Monday evening, when most people were leaving the office for the day, the Casco Bay Bridge got stuck. According to Ted Talbot of the Maine Department of Transportation, three gates lost power. The bridge was shut down and all traffic in both directions was halted. An electrician was on scene and able to identify the problem quickly, according to Talbot, but clearing the traffic jam was a different story. Local police had to back up the cars, and then direct them to turn around.
Mac McIntire thinks there may be a simple solution here: Why not just allow cars to make a U-turn on the bridge? He even sent us this handy diagram:
So we took the question right to the experts. Tim Cusick, Superintendent of Operations at the DOT, says you can't just take out the middle barrier and make room for a U-turn option. The street lights have conduits built into that barrier. Basically, you can have street lights or a U-turn lane, but you can't have both. Rewiring for the street lights would be very expensive, according to Cusick.
And Ted Talbot says they hope to treat the problem, not the symptom. The DOT is already looking at ways to prevent technical difficulties, such as the one that shut down the bridge on Monday evening.
Talbot says the Casco Bay Bridge was built about twenty years ago-- which isn't old for the structure, but two decades means the technology isn't the most up-to-date. The project is still in the early review process, says Talbot, but they hope to update some of the mechanisms that keep the bridge running.
Sorry Mac-- doesn't look like we will be getting a u-turn spot any time soon.
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