The eyesore that was the Chepachet River Bridge finally went under the knife a couple of weeks ago after years of DOT negligence and a string of empty political promises. No longer would grungy orange barrels offend visitors and tourists as they attempted to visit the infamous plaque venerating one of the most horrific and embarrassing moments in our community’s history.
“Yes, Junior. Just imagine the entrails from that ol’ girl spread from here to the liquor store. Hey look over there… there’s a giant potato commemorating it. Gimme the camera.”
It looked like the village’s economic recovery was just around the corner.
But the shrieks of joy and relief were quickly replaced by groans of anguish as the new construction zone not only chewed-up its share of the already limited public parking, but also turned the village’s primary thoroughfare into a virtual one-way street, knotting traffic in every imaginable direction. And making matters worse is the schizophrenic construction schedule that seems to coincide with the local shopkeepers busiest days. Even the proverbial chicken refuses to cross this street to buy an antique.
And up the road just a mile or two, construction continues on the old Chestnut Hill Bridge near the town transfer station , closing off one of the village’s few viable escape routes. The whole traffic nightmare is either incredibly short-sighted, inauspicious bad timing, or a fiendish plot by residents of Chepachet to keep residents of West Glocester from procreating with residents of Harmony.
And don’t believe for a moment this is a short-term crisis. Word is that the moment both bridges are complete, long-awaited and essential work will begin on repaving Route 102 and rebuilding the death-defying sidewalks that wind through the center of town.
Now when the city folk are faced with such traffic dilemmas, they are encouraged to take public transportation. And of course in a bold and ill-timed announcement, RIPTA stated this week that, to save money, it wants to eliminate the Route 9 bus from Pascoag through Chepachet — the only RIPTA bus serving the area.
Alas, there may be no escape from this downtown road rage for a good long time. So before someone puts up another plaque, I propose a fundamental design change to the Glocester town seal. Hence our children, like the elephant, will never forget.