How many more times will a tractor trailer get decapitated before someone takes the bull by the horns and fixes the problem at the “Can Opener” in Augusta? Thousands of dollars have been lost in property value and probably a hundred thousand or more for public employees cleaning up the mess as well as a lot of time that would be better spent. It seems that everyone blames the state because the railway has a right of way that must stay open and reused. That’s an easy way out. Most of us know that. If it were so, the bridge on Route 24 in Richmond would not have been removed.

The north end of Water Street has a lot of traffic and certainly does not meet the standards for today’s roads. It appears to have been a path for a horse and buggy reconstructed as a city street. Driving through there with a car, one had better keep their eyes on the road because it’s very narrow with little room for error.  One doesn’t take their eyes off the road or look at storefronts, people or what’s overhead when they travel through there from Bridge Street to Bond Street. I know I don’t.

I have a difficult time to fathom what it’s like to be driving a tractor trailer through there. There are a few solutions that wouldn’t cost a huge amount of money and would save a lot of grief. Some insurance companies that have had multiple losses would probably consider a contribution if they thought something would be done about it.

Here’s two suggestions that wouldn’t break the piggy bank. If, in fact, the bridge can’t be removed, which I’d find difficult to believe because the railroad isn’t coming back to downtown Augusta any time soon, lift the bridge so trucks can pass safely under it. Then when the pipe dream of rail traffic coming back to Augusta comes to fruition, it could be lowered to its original level. By then, regulations and inspections will, without doubt, require replacement.

The other would be safety warning lights on the bridge like the one located on I-95 in the southbound lane in Hallowell. That works quite well.

If these can’t be done, certainly the bridge could be painted an eye-catching color with large letters alerting truck drivers.

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It would be very interesting to know what an incident such as the “Can Opener” costs the city of Augusta in cold hard cash.

 

Cal Brown

Litchfield

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