Texting could be key to avoiding delays on new Silver Line extension when the Chelsea Street Bridge goes up
The Chelsea Record reports the MBTA has sprung for money to buy some software that will let the operator of the Chelsea Street Bridge give the T a head's up when the bridge is about to be lifted to let boats through - so the T can re-route the new Silver Line buses on detour routes, rather than just sitting waiting for the bridge to come down.
The T plans to start up the Silver Line extension between Chelsea and Logan Airport on April 21. The route mostly uses a recycled railroad right of way - but includes travel over the bridge, the center section of which is lifted for the tankers that traverse Chelsea Creek.
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How long does passage of a tanker take?
Couldn't they also implement the drawbridge version of "signal priority" and wait to raise the bridge til the bus passes?
Because federal law, which takes precedence, says operators of bridges like this have to give priority to ships and boats.
Tanker movements appear to be scheduled so that tidal currents help move ships in the right direction up/down the Creek. The Irving tankers that routinely come down from Saint John haul about 40,000 *tons* of product at a time. It would be considerably difficult and dangerous for them to start and stop to yield to buses, especially for the tug crews.
If there are other "detour" routes available, then why is the Silver Line being routed over a drawbridge that regularly opens several times a day?
The detour is very out of the way
No other way to get from Eastie to Chelsea except the two drawbridges, unless you go all the way up to Route 16 and back.
From Airport Station to Eastern Ave Station is < 4 minutes via the bridge
From Airport Station to Eastern Ave is > 15 minutes via MA1 & MA16
The reroute is ONLY happening when the bridge goes up. And its just to keep passengers moving.
Also, keep in mind that the bridge doesn't always go up daily. There could be days or weeks when it doesn't go up. Its all on how many deliveries the gas plant gets and what the ties are like. If its high tide, yeah it's gonna go up most likely. Low tide, none.
MassDOT also has been running the cycle time on the bridge to be much shorter. I ride the 112 daily and when it goes up it comes down pretty quick.
If Only There Was
If only there was already some process in place to alert everyone about the status of the bridge that wouldn't cost any more money to operate:
But this isn't run by MassDOT. It's run by someone and its manually updated.