Sunday, August 16, 2015

Reflections of The Way Life Used To Be

UMass exit ramp Rt 116 in Hadley

You sagacious types may have noticed in June/July the state contractor out on Rt 116 between Rt 9 Hadley and Sunderland center doing work that left mysterious newly patched holes 8" in diameter in the center and side roadway every 10 yards or so.

Over the past week the answer to what was going on became more obvious with the installation of new reflectors in the roadway, although located in a slightly different spot from the ones that had been removed.

 Newly installed road reflector

The reflectors were originally touted as "snowplowable" but maybe the company had Georgia or South Carolina in mind when they advertised them as such.  Those that had not been taken up by New England snowplows were removed and new ones installed.

 Let's hope these really are "snowplowable"

The reflectors of course make it a little easier for night driving but are certainly not a critical component of highway safety.  Amherst town roads have none for instance.

The state can be pretty anal with their roadways.  A half dozen years ago they spent $1.7 million installing mile markers every .2 of a mile along all 776 miles of state roadways. 

And of course what baby boomer can forget the infamous "call boxes" all along Rt 91 (that preceded ubiquitous cell phones) that never worked.


jim fay said...

I figured that the state would solve the problem by simply telling plow drivers to "just lift the plow up another 1/2 inch".

Anonymous said...

Larry, this time you are wrong.

Let's first start with the question of how many town roads are divided highways posted at even 55 MPH, let alone 65 MPH?

1: Notice how the reflector you show is RED? Well, that is what you see if you are on the wrong side of a divided highway -- ALL RED -- which (if you are sober) is a clear warning to get the hell out of there.

2: Tires erase (wear off) paint, people changing lanes and such makes something like this important on multi-lane highways.

3: Cheaper than streetlights.

4: Rainy nights....

Larry Kelley said...

Come on Ed, you know I'm never wrong (sarcasm).

Walter Graff said...

They also just installed them in Sunderland on 116 and they are great on that dark strech by Sugerloaf Frosty.

Walter Graff said...

"The reflectors of course make it a little easier for night driving but are certainly not a critical component of highway safety. "

I'd have to disagree. Don't have the statistic but I've seen it somewhere and these things do save lives.

Larry Kelley said...

Depends on how you define "critical" I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Sugarloaf Frosty sounds kind of like a stripper's name.

Dr. Ed said...

I once was on I-495 heading into the sun and saw the red reflectors in my mirrors. Four across, row upon row, and bright red -- you'd have to be really drunk not to see those at night and not know you are going the wrong way.

They are also priceless when you can't quite see the paint in the rain, and hence don't know where the lines are. I say this as a truck driver - and Larry, the next time you are closing on a truck at 110 MPH (55 + 55), how "critical" do you consider it for the truck to be on its side of the road and not yours?

Of course, I still want a blinking yellow light where 116 becomes divided -- with the advances in solar technology they no longer have to install an electric service and pay for an electric meter which is the real expense.

Jackie M'Vemba said...

How about Nude Gingrich?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to think we can change Larry's mind on this one. It's a serious public safety issue just like sufficient firefighters and stations (which I also support). Anything we can do to help inexperienced and elderly drivers and protect us all from drunks and maniacs is well worth the pittance it costs for reflectors.

Larry Kelley said...

I'm not the one you need to convince.

Guilford Mooring did not sound like he had any plans to install them anywhere in Amherst in the near future.

Walter Graff said...

I don't believe solar powered equipment is permitted as primary traffic indicators but can only be used as secondary. Liability when it doesn't work.

Dr. Ed said...

Walter, do you have any idea how many lighthouses have gone to solar power?

Far MORE reliable than a power cable from the mainland. Easier to maintain and the rest. And as for a divider blinker, you also have the yellow striping on the pavement, and a big yellow reflector on it, and paint it bright yellow as well.

You want to talk liability, it is the shift to LED traffic lights. They don't produce heat and hence don't melt the snow that blows into them -- and hence become obscured by snow and remain that way until a human being climbs up and wipes it out.