Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Cow Key Bridge Repairs

There is one road into Key West and at the moment it is in a somewhat chaotic state as they work to repair it. I happened to be walking by ona  gray rainy day after I left my car in the shop and I thought the dismal weather gave me an opportunity to express some inner feelings about this long drawn out but necessary interruption.
In Key West the confluence of South Roosevelt Boulevard with North Roosevelt Boulevard and US One creates a three way junction at the entrance to the island, thus it is known locally as "The Triangle." For many months he proposal by the state to repair the bridge over Cow Key Channel has provoked quite a bit of consternation. The bridge is about 40 years old and the Florida Department of Transportation said salt water had eroded the bridge enough that it needs extensive repairs. So far so good, and they even got the money to do it, about twenty five million in local currency.
The idea was to start work after the winter tourist season and finish as soon as possible in the Fall or winter of 2020/21...almost a  year's worth of work. In deference to local concerns the state also offered a bonus if the contractors finish early so there is some hope we may see an end to it all around November if we are lucky. That the work began during the lockdown of Highway One gave us one small boost in the middle of a sea of coronavirus bad news: maybe the bridge work would speed up.
As you can imagine the idea of being forced to negotiate a weird bendy route through big orange barrels makes many, perhaps most flatland Florida drivers tremble and the smooth flow of travel across the bridge is decidedly interrupted by drivers fearful of the complexities of managing a steering wheel under adverse circumstances.
I think the job is being managed rather well and traffic flow is as smooth as it can be. They reverse the two lanes depending on the time of day so inbound commuters have two straight lanes in the morning while outbound commuters have two wiggly lanes in the afternoon. I have seen some slow lines but things could be a lot worse. College Road in the left in the picture above is now only accessible to traffic heading towards Key West but if you want to turn left onto the road you have to go to the other end and turn left onto it opposite the Stock Island CVS where a new temporary traffic light has been installed. College Road west entrance only turns toward Key West now:
My idea in purchasing my electric bike was to park on the approaches to the traffic jam and ride into work and arrive fresh and ready to answer phone calls. Breezing past stuck traffic seemed like a good idea and doing it without arriving for a twelve hour shift sweating and wet through seemed even better. So far I needn't have worried. 
While it has been a little inconvenient the undoubted need for repairs has made the annoyance quite easy to bear and I have to say that I'm glad our fragile infrastructure is getting seen to as watching bridges collapse is a profoundly unsettling thing, far more unsettling than dealing with this for a few more months.