For John, BLUF: You are correct about road and bridge repair. Replace all of Beacon Hill. Nothing to see here; just move along.
In yesterday's edition of The [Lowell] Sun was an article on repairs to the Rourke Bridge, which are set to begin Monday.
In this repair operation, which will take 20 days, the bridge will be closed from 8:00 PM through to 4:30 AM. But, when open it will be one lane. One lane? The bridge is inadequate as it is, with two lanes, and shrinking it down to one lane will only make it worse, dividing our city via the Merrimack River, and putting added strain on traffic patterns down river.
The reason for one lane is that they are resurfacing the deck plates, of which there must be dozens upon dozens, and they need to give time for the resin to cure. Just eye-balling them, the deck plates look to be about 3 x 6, with a hole in one corner (for lifting, I assume).
Given that the bridge is a big Erector Set, can one not assume the deck plates being resurfaced are all the same? If that is the case, could not the repair operation be done to better accommodate the drivers? I would suggest that the repair design include obtaining an addition number of deck plates (I would think no more than 10% of the total number on the bridge) and coating them with the resin and allowing them to cure and then swapping them out for existing deck places, which would then be stripped and resurfaced and allowed to cure. These, in turn, would be swapped for current worn plates and the process repeated until it was finished—and inconvenience to drivers would be minimized.
Otherwise we are being penny wise and pound foolish, IMHO.
I hope that when they finally get around to replacing the bridge they give us four lanes, even if the approaches can't yet handle four lanes. Plan for incremental progress and a better future.
UPDATE: Lowell City Manager Kevin Murphy just noted, on City Life, that the Rourke bridge will not be closed over night, but will be restricted to one way traffic.
Regards — Cliff