An awesome feat of engineering and manpower, the new A5 highway blasts, digs and steamrolls its way to completion. Once hotly contested, and much-maligned, there’s no doubt that even those who strapped themselves to a 200-year-old tree will not choose the silky smooth and super-safe new four-laner this winter over the white-knuckle drive of the old two-laner.
Of course that last statement is wrong.
Somebody, somewhere will still be angry that progress has made its way into their neck of the woods.
But could we find a silver lining for even the most stalwart hold-outs?
What about this one? Once the new highway is built, that means Hwy 105 will become the secondary route. So, should the A5 ever be shut down for an accident (which, judging by the number of serious crashes in the current A5 extension, would be very rare) the 105 is where traffic will be rerouted.
That means that the very narrow, twisty, pot-holed (I’ve heard the La Peche section referred to as a “chicken run”) and very residential Riverside Road will become the tertiary road.
Which means there is no longer any justifiable reason for residents living on Riverside Drive to accommodate rerouted commuters, random big trucks, nor the far too many speeding jerks that for some reason get a kick out of ruining their suspensions along this road.
And all that means there’s a really great opportunity to do something interesting with that lovely stretch of road.
(Full disclosure – I live on that road, and with motherhood, have taken on the role of irate road patroller: one hand on stroller, the other alternating between the “slow down” vertical wave motion and bird-flipping. Yes, I’m one of those people.)
But surely that stroller road rage will be a thing of the past when the new highway opens. Better still, Chelsea and La Peche have a great opportunity to make many people, highway haters and lovers alike, happy.
My proposal: make it a permanent cycle/ski route.
One lane could be closed down and dedicated to recreational purposes only. Cycle Sundays, long-ago initiated by Chelsea, is a proven success. It’s a lovely way for families to get outdoors and enjoy the ride without worrying about little Larry’s head being taken off by a side mirror. In winter, a groomed ski trail could connect Wakefield village to Chelsea’s groomed trails along the tracks. All year long that lane would provide great family time, exercise, and even a green commute option.
The other lane could be turned into a one-way route for the residents who live on Riverside. Southbound would satisfy the morning commuters struggling to get to work on time. Northbound might be better as a scenic route to draw the tourists to Wakefield. Either way, some Riverside resident is bound to be annoyed by the limitation, but the benefits of a quieter and safer road would surely win them over eventually.
Farm Point Coun. Celine Brault says she’s had a number of residents come to her with interesting proposals for what will soon be a less important, more scenic and hopefully more enjoyed tertiary road.
Dare we say that even for highway-haters, there may yet still be a silver lining?