Letters: As the bridge deteriorates, supporters celebrate; Brunswick needs less fossil fuel infrastructure

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As the bridge deteriorates, supporters celebrate

Supporters of the Frank J. Wood Bridge celebrated the recent news that further structural weakening would require lowering the weight limit for vehicles crossing the span from 25 to 10 tonnes. School buses or fire trucks will no longer be able to smear this precious relic of the Depression era.

The easel ages well, they chuckled. As good wines improve with age, the bridges develop a fine patina of deterioration, a spokesperson explained. Think of cheeses that develop holes or become wavy with mold. Few bridges are allowed to degrade to this point. As the bridge weakens, it becomes more and more valuable. Soon the bridge won’t even support heavier SUVs. It will be a triumph of preservation: we can still depend on an old-fashioned design because it becomes less useful every day.

Supporters of a new bridge simply noted that safety and functionality are also important. Maybe a new bridge will serve us better, they wondered, one that meets all the needs of everyone who lives and works in both cities, not just connoisseurs of rust.

Douglas C. Bennett,
Topsham

Brunswick needs less fossil fuel infrastructure

The unanimous support of Brunswick City Council for the Pleasant Street widening is a prime example of regulatory capture – which is a form of corruption in which a political entity serves the interests of a wealthy minority instead of the general public.

The fossil fuel industry and all the big oil and gas related companies want us to rule out the climate crisis so that we don’t make any substantial changes to our way of life. They want us to speed up our consumption.

Pleasant Street is already a misnomer. As it is now used, the road looks like a long ramp, and it is extremely unpleasant terrain for humans on foot or by bicycle. It has become a sacrifice zone of abandoned land, fast food outlets, motels and businesses serving cars – similar to what congregates near a freeway exit.

The clear intention of expanding this monstrosity is to make it easier to drive faster. But more lanes will also welcome even more climate pests to use our city as a drive-thru – increasing the daily count to over 30,000 and solving nothing. If you build it, they will come. This pattern has been happening for decades across the country.

Advisors explain that more asphalt at high speed is needed for safety. This argument raises obvious questions. Is safety just a concern for today’s motorists? What is “safe” in the incredibly severe weather conditions, epic heat waves, bizarre droughts and food shortages? This is exactly where we are headed, and there is no workaround.

The madness of climate denial must end now. Brunswick needs less fossil fuel infrastructure, not more. We have long awaited forward-thinking and courageous governance and local businesses.

Paul Rousseau,
Brunswick


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