GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

March 14, 2014

Editorial: Considering long-term bridge options

It’s good to hear that Mayor Carolyn Kirk and other Gloucester officials have received state clearance for the city’s ambulances and fire trucks to cross the Blynman Bridge, albeit with some important conditions (see news stories, Page 1).

But while city and state officials alike explore short-term emergency solutions to carry out the needed bridge repairs, local officials, residents and business owners should also be thinking of charting a long-term course as well. That’s because the bridge, which has undergone a host of repair efforts over the years, is, after all, a mere 107 years old — and that’s a life span that can only be extended so many times.

In raising that issue briefly this week, state Sen. Bruce Tarr wondered if a long-term plan might not include building a higher — and, by definition, longer — bridge that might not have to be opened as frequently. Another solution might include a new “bascule” bridge — one that has a single, movable piece that rises and drops from one side of The Cut, rather than the existing bridge, whose roadway splits and raises on both sides from the center.

Any such project would be costly. And any project would need the state DOT’s and Coast Guard’s full support. But the city and state would do well to launch a study of how we might all cross The Cut perhaps 20, 30 or 40 years from now.

It’s hard to believe it will still be over the Blynman.

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