As many of us predicted, the bypass road’s straight track is very attractive to racers. A commenter on one of my bypass road posts complained about motorcycle races. The Salem News was finally made to notice it:
SALEM — Since it opened outside her home last month, Carol Brunaccini says the bypass road has become a racetrack — and she means that literally.
"One weekend, we had a group of 20-something kids hanging out at the Carlton School," Brunaccini said. "I assume they were drinking because they had containers with them."
They were standing near the school parking lot cheering on about five motorcyclists who were drag racing up, then down the bypass road, Brunaccini said.
More quotes from a cop:
Even before the one-mile, $15 million straightaway to downtown Salem opened last month, police knew the road might tempt lead-footed drivers.
It's a speed demon's dream — flat, wide and straight.
"It presents an attractive opportunity for people to see how fast you can go," said Salem police Capt. Brian Gilligan.
Brunaccini said she's seen motorcycles doing wheelies on the straightaway.
One night while working a detail on foot near Bridge Street, Gilligan saw a motorcycle fly over the Salem-Beverly bridge and onto the bypass road.
"I'd characterize him as somewhere in the 80 to 90 to 95 mph range," Gilligan said. "You were crossing your fingers hoping the kid would make it."
I wanted to see that!
I’d love to be on the road with my camera just to see one of these guys sail over the March St. bridge. Perhaps I can see someone attempt a Darwin Award!
Going south, the only things that would stop you are the side of the Jefferson complex and the Salem Depot platform, which is in a dip relative to the bypass road, so it’s easy to hop the fence to the tracks. (I see people on foot hop the fence by the Jefferson all the time.)
That’s one way to meet the 1 AM train to Rockport!
Going north, you can end up on top of Stromberg’s!
If I were to see any of these things with my camera, you’d see it on TV and YouTube as fast as I could get it there!
Brunaccini has a solution:
One partial solution, she said, is forcing commercial traffic, including trucks, onto Bridge Street, which she says has seen a dramatic drop in traffic since the bypass road opened.
Um, no. That would not be such a good idea. The very reason traffic is light on Bridge St. is precisely that the new road is open.
Further south on Howard St., traffic heading for Bridge St. has to take a sharp right at the light. The routing and intersection was designed to divert most traffic to the bypass.
If I lived on Howard St., I’d much rather see truck traffic go straight down the bypass than turning virtually in front of my house. I can foresee a jackknifed trailer piled up on Bridge St. at Howard if this restriction were put in place.
I was and am dead set against the new road. However, it is built and it is here. It makes no sense to block it to trucks, especially as most truckers will not blow through the road at 100 MPH and they have federal regulations that your drunk maniac motorist doesn’t have to cope with.