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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Porcupine Goes Straight!

There is nothing in machinery, there is nothing in embankments and railways and iron bridges and engineering devices to oblige them to be ugly.
H.G. (Herbert George) Wells (1866–1946)

Porcupine has been traveling off Cape Cod on a regular basis for decades, sometimes daily. During all that time, when asked about a frightful commute, he would point out that he worked with people who commuted ninety minutes to two hours, and were in Lawrence or Lowell when they got home, instead of next to the ocean under a gauzy pink sky. ‘Nuff said.

However, Porcupine experienced a transcendental moment this morning as he drove off Cape Cod over the Sagamore Bridge – he drove straight – right through where the Sagamore rotary used to be! Yes, my friends, we’re out of the dark, we’re out of the woods, we’re out of the night….

For a few weeks, the ‘flyover’, which is really more of an underpass from the driver’s point of view, has been open, and by zooming under Route 3, you popped up on a newly paved and nicely signaled Scenic Highway on the land side of the Cape Cod Canal. But now, a new Rotary-less era has begun. Deval Patrick will have to find other illegal state land to plant his signs on.

Porcupine will miss the little trees, the invitation to the Bourne Scallop Festival and the cheesy plywood reindeer and carolers – somewhat. But there is a greater significance to this that should be pondered.

Four years ago, newly elected Governor Mitt Romney stood at the Sagamore Rotary and announced that it would be gone and replaced with the flyover before his first term was done. This assertion was greeted with the jeers it seemed to deserve by the cognoscenti of Bacon Hill and environs – a major public works project? In less than four year? Please!

Yet it has been done. There is landscaping and signage to complete, but the essential work on the project is completed. I would direct the attention of Deval’s Devotees, especially those among my friend on Blue Mass Group, who are caviling about the ‘Big Dig Culture’ of the Romney Administration that the only roads project that he had oversight of, start to finish under Mass Highway instead of an independent authority like Mass Turnpike or Mass Port, came in on time and under budget. The Legislature, which blocked his efforts for four years to merge the Turnpike Authority with Mass Highway, and eliminate its hack ridden budget like he did with the abolition of the infamous Metropolitan District Commission, have their own explaining to do.

So, on this Columbus Day, Porcupine wishes you all the joys of discovery – including what state government can accomplish when it is unfettered by political ineptitude.


Anonymous CCFK said...

Wow, a new flyover in four years. There's something of which to be proud! Meanwhile old bridges are crumbling throughout the state. What happened to Romney's vow to "fix it first"?

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, PP. I too have experienced new commuter nirvana on the new route 44, which bypasses the lazy backroads of Carver and connects Route 3 in Plymouth to Route 495 in Middleborough. This is but phase one of a wonderful east-west corridor, as there are still 4 traffic lights and their associated rush hour backups in the Middleborough strecth, and the eventual plan to eliminate the Middleborough rotary as well. As glorious as it is that the Plymouth to Carver section has been completed, it took over a decade to do. Phase two, from Carver to the Middleborough rotary, is not expected to be completed for another 10-15 years, and they have not yet begun to engineer the Middleborough rotary flyover and the new exits/entries onto 495. This is a project of relatively minimal complexity (compared to the Big Dig and even to the Sagamore rotary) and yet we are looking at perhaps 20-30 years for Mass Highway to build a 15 mile stretch of highway. Doesn't stand up to the "unfettered by political ineptitude" test to me.

8:31 AM  

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