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A Road Rebuilt. December 15, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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Route 2, the main east-west corridor along Massachusetts’ Northern Tier, has been closed through Savoy and Florida since Tropical Storm Irene took her pound of flesh from it this past August.

While local state highway engineers proclaimed this road closed for the next five years, I insisted that it had to be open before winter, and suffered their snide, derisive laughter.  After all, I was just a hired surveyor.

Today, December 15th, 2011, Route 2 reopened, thanks not to me (though I helped) but to the resolve of our Governor Duval Patrick, who demanded that it be so and unleashed all of the resources at his command to see that it would  be so.

The long washout which I previously posted, with its guardrails hanging in space, is now a finished roadway:

The bridge between Savoy and Florida has been patched up, though it will be substantially rebuilt in the coming year:

There’s a lot more work to be done, and in fact it’s on-going, but meanwhile the road is passable.

As National Scenic Byways go, it’s presently butt-ugly, but that will change with time, if the repairs hold up.

And therein lies the caveat:  the rush to reopen meant that “right” was subjugated to “right now.”  Plans were cobbed together, general principles were employed where specific circumstances should have informed, and problems were glossed over in service of moving forward at any cost.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see much of this work destroyed by Mother Nature in the next year or two, though I’m hoping to be proved wrong.

Time will tell.

In the meanwhile, kudos to the common folks who did the work, three shifts a day, seven days a week, from then until now.

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Comments»

1. Bob - December 16, 2011

Very impressive, and reminds me of the section of Interstate 40 along the Pigeon River at the TN/NC border — victim of recurrent rockslides, it seems to be in a constant state of rebuilding. (Here’s a blog post [not mine] of one from a couple years ago.

Hope i remembered the html tag correctly. 🙂

Bob - December 16, 2011

‘Ppears I did.

2. littlebangtheory - December 16, 2011

Yes indeed, that worked, and thanks for the link. And I’ll have more photos of this $23M rebuild in the next few days.

3. Russlahru - December 16, 2011

I find it telling that many people who work for state and federal govt’s have that “can do” spirit and determination and it shines when the truck drivers, equipment operators and everyone else who puches the clock every day at their district garages is given the equipment and the money and the permission to just get this road open ASAP and this is another example of what is possible when the guys and gals that get dirty every day set their minds to something. I’m sure there were many sacrifices made by them to accomplish this and they have my admiration and respect.

4. Annie Anderson - December 16, 2011

Thanks again for posting these photos. I subscribed to your blog immediately after Irene, as I tried to follow what had happened in my former home region from New Jersey. Seeing these two shots and your post has relieved my mind a lot — looking forward to seeing more as the road crews’ tremendous hard work continues to bear fruit and you continue to post. — Annie

5. littlebangtheory - December 16, 2011

Russlahru, thanks for stopping by. It’s a common fallacy that State workers are lazy, when in fact they’re more often frustrated with the bureaucracy they’re daily faced with.

But in the wake of an event such as Irene, the paperwork is relegated to the back burner, contracts are awarded in short order, and the local contractors kick it into high gear. I might grouse about the minutia, but I’m impressed with the work which everyone involved has done to get this road opened before winter sets in.

Annie, welcome back, and thanks for subscribing. I’ll have more shots in the near future, though I’m looking at a looming lay-off – I won’t be on this job much longer, but then, I’ll have a great deal more flexibility in the daylight hours (and there’s the silver lining! 😉 )

6. susan - December 16, 2011

It’s good to see it’s been repaired in time for winter and I’ll hope it stays together a while too.

7. TheCunningRunt - December 17, 2011

Me too, susan, though I have reason to doubt the latter point. Nothing lasts which isn’t thoughtfully constructed, and there’s a difference between “right” and “right now.”

Still, I’m right there with you hoping this holds together for a reasonable time.


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