Having lived on the South side of the C&D Canal Bridge in Chesapeake City, having to commute North over it everyday for the better part of eight years now, I’m a little bit used to lane blockages and routine bridge work. That being said, I’m more than slightly concerned about this most recent, ongoing repair effort. Namely, why is it that it seems to be perfectly acceptable to leave rows of bolts sticking up an inch or two above a raised steel plate stretching completely across the northbound lane, placed just over the peak of the bridge so you don’t see it until you’re on top of it? At least the first couple days, there were signs warning driver’s to slow down, use caution, tire damage. Well, they aren’t even there now, but the bolts still are.
Now, I’m not an expert in the laws of physics, nor am I a traffic engineer, but each time I pass over that bridge in the past four days, I can’t help but imagine the one guy with balding tires, not quite paying full attention, hitting that plate and those bolts too fast, or worse yet, hitting it while locking up his brakes because, if you don’t already know its there, it comes up on you in a hurry. I can see an edge of one of those bolts jamming into a weak spot in a tire wall, blowing a hole in it, the car losing control in the tight confines of the peak of the bridge and taking out one or two cars heading up the bridge southbound. It doesn’t seem all that far-fetched to me. And the risk of a blowout can’t be totally unrealistic, otherwise why would the work crew have listed “tire damage” on their warning signs to begin with?
Maybe the signs are gone now because something about the way the plate was secured eliminated the tire damage risk? Maybe it’s the little mound of asphalt lining the plate’s front edge, maybe it works like a ramp and your car just bounces over it if you hit it too fast? Of course, that doesn’t sound too comforting, either. I would love for someone to explain it to me. Seriously, I would like a explanation as to why my feelings that each time I go to cross that bridge in the past week have seemed to be tempting a gruesome death aren’t justified. Anyone? You have an open platform here, anything you want to say. Please? I’d apprecitiate it.