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Bridge delay: A test of my patiencePosted Friday, April 16, 2010, at 10:20 AM
Patience is truly a virtue and a work in progress with myself.
I will be the first to admit that I am not the most patient kind of guy you could ever meet.
I apparently wasn't very high on the list when patience was being doled out by my supreme maker.
Some days it's easier than others to attain patience, despite what my family thinks.
It seems as I grow older, patience has become a bit easier -- but not much.
I still detest waiting in line for anything -- to check out at a store, to be seated at a restaurant or to make my way through a drive-up window of any sort.
One definition for the word that I found calls patience "the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way."
Now that hits home with me as I "patiently" sit and wait at least twice a day at the stoplights on both ends of the twin bridges on State Road 57 -- north of Newberry.
For a couple months now the bridges have been funneled to a single lane and flow of traffic over the bridges is controlled by automatic stoplights.
Can you believe tiny Newberry is now a four stoplight town?
The aged bridges became restricted when Indiana Department of Transportation officials became "concerned about the structural integrity" of the bridges and to cut down on the strain on the overpasses, they have placed a patience-building stoplight at the entrance of each bridge in the north and south lanes.
Twice a day, I usually sit through at least one red-colored light at both bridges. Some days you hit both red.
The other day I actually timed it for two red lights ... four minutes at one bridge and more than 3 1/2 minutes at the other.
It doesn't seem like a long time -- 7 1/2 minutes -- but in this busy, deadline-packed, hurry-up world I live in, every single minute counts.
One thing the waits have done is given me some time to reflect and think a bit more on my commute to and from the office. It's even given me a few minutes to actually clean out the mess in my car.
Just out of a slim chance that INDOT was going to ramp up its plans to replace the bridges built in 1940 before the year 2013, I dropped an e-mail Thursday morning to Cher Goodwin, spokesperson for INDOT's Vincennes District office.
Her quick reply told me that I am going to continue honing my patience skills for a few more years.
She wrote: "Unfortunately the bridges have not been accelerated. Between all of the planning and research that must be completed prior to the bridge going to construction and securing the necessary dollars, fiscal year 2013 is the earliest we can put it to (bid) letting."
Commenting on the long signal delays, again her response left me screaming out for more patience.
She wrote: "The signals are timed that way on purpose. We have to control the flow as much as possible and staging between the bridges is the safest option. We realize this does cause delays and does inconvenience motorists, and will continue to move forward as rapidly as possible."
As I think about having to deal with this bridge mess for nearly three more years, I am reminded of a quotation I read from Barbara Johnson, an American best-selling writer, who says, "Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears."
How many motorists using that road can relate to that statement?
Saint Francis de Sales reminds us, "Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself."
And, Polish poet Stanislaw Lec once wrote, "You must first have a lot of patience to learn to have patience."
I guess I will continue my personal daily prayer asking to learn how to be a more patient person both while driving, sitting idle on the roadway, and in life in general.
So, now I bow my head and say, "Dear Lord: Grant me patience and hurry up. Amen."
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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