Thursday, July 23, 2009

Color Clash

It seems any thoughts of seeing a majestic orange or millstone red Braga Bridge will be dependent on your imaginations. The Herald News is reporting that green is to remain the bridge's official color.

After months of rumors about the future color of the soon-to-be-painted Charles M. Braga Bridge — a Golden Gate red was the latest whim — MassHighway Spokesman Adam Hurtubise confirmed Wednesday that the estimated $30 million painting project will consist of just one color: green.

What struck me odd about this announcement is that is comes on the heels of an O Jornal story that indicated that Mass Highway was willing to at least consider a color.

"I think we made some progress," said Menard, who added that at first skeptical group from Mass Highway agreed to explore the change.

One of the explanations for keeping the Braga's green scheme is it is easier to spot rust.

A standard bridge color that matches most of the other bridges around the commonwealth, a state official said that bridges are generally painted green in order to better demonstrate rusting tendencies, something red or similar colors would not.

The problem is that too was mentioned in the O Jornal story and I would say pretty soundly dismissed.

One of arguments presented was if the bridge is painted red, inspectors will not be able to see the rust. "Does that mean they only inspect the bridge with a drive-by?" he said, calling that argument, "poor."

What makes this excuse all the more funny is the fact that there are several bridges in MA and worldwide that are not painted green.

It's also odd that the Herald story comes up less than a week after the O Jornal story. According to the Herald the decision has been made but less than a week ago....

State Senator Joan Menard, who scheduled the meeting, said that after reviewing numerous scenarios, the group concluded to reconvene in the next several weeks with Mass Highway officials producing a color chart of paints which would cost the same as the current green, but could serve as alternatives.

So what changed in the span of a week that suddenly makes the decision final? Why would Mass Highway make this decision when they just agreed to a subsequent meeting with our local delegation?

Maybe the green paint has already been purchased? Oh shoot, Sen. Menard addressed that concern too.

Menard added that if in fact the paint has been already purchased, "they can use it someplace else."

Lefty's View: When I first read this story in the O Jornal I was reluctant to see a change. I've grown accustomed to that familiar green. However, after writing my first post on this every time I drive by the Braga I now wonder what it would look like in a different color. I have to admit the idea of International Orange has grown on me.

Something about the Herald News story doesn't make sense. It clashed too much with the story in the O Jornal. Do the folks at the Herald have their facts straight? If so why the sudden change? What is the response of our local delegation? These folks believed that the topic was still up for discussion and now suddenly they're being told it's not? Why didn't the Herald get a quote from ANY of them?

As far as I'm concerned the color of the Braga hasn't been decided until they start painting it. If we as a community want to see a change in color then the topic should be on the table open for discussion. I don't like being told no without a reasonable explanation.


Anonymous said...

you sound just like ric oliveira, hmm.

Anonymous said...

Hurricane ,Lefty and Ric O leading the charge...give em hell men!!!

Lefty said...


Why do you say that?

Obviously Ric is supporting a color change but I can tell you that I formed my opinions after reading the Herald article last night and I didn't have the benefit of listing to his show today.

Anonymous said...

What color to paint the bridge, obviously the most pressing issue facing Fall River. Hey, this is an election year right? Somebody pinch me and let me know when we hit on a topic that is relevant. What color to paint the bridge? Irrelevant. Wasted space, time and energy discussing it. Can we move on now?

Anonymous said...

let the people decide the color why do herren and ric decide the color

It Said said...

Who cares what stupid color the bridge gets painted..the biggest non issue of the summer..taking attention away from the fact that Fall River is still without proper police and fire protection..

Scout said...

I honestly don't think the color matters as much as the fact that it is perennially rusty.

What could be a majestic, iconic feature is turned into an unfortunate symbol of the city for anyone who might be inclined to visit or invest in FR. Outsiders don't see the history, the exquisite architecture, the great ethnic diversity, lots of solid infrastructure just waiting to be developed, or the long heritage of hardworking people in a beautiful, strategically-located New England location ... they see a poorly-maintained bridge, a highway that's perpetually under construction, etc. and that only reinforces any misgivings they perhaps have about education, crime, and [as you point out] public safety cuts.

Something so simple should not be this hard. Unless, as someone points out, they're relying on visual inspection to find out if the bridge is rusted (which is kind of a scary thing), just a)paint the bridge a color that doesn't show the rust or b) paint it green, but paint it often enough that it doesn't always look like it's in a state of disrepair. Which would be more expensive.

Lefty said...

Whether or not a color change seems like an important matter it is still worthy of discussion. The bridge painting is a big project that will cost millions of dollars. I think the pricetag alone makes it worthy of some discussion!

A color change could have positive benefits for the city.

Still, I agree there are other issues that deserve to be discussed. As a blogger I wish I had the time and inspiration to cover them all. I would urge anyone interested in expressing a viewpoint on an issue to submit a blog post for publication on Fall River Blog.

Scout said...

Lefty, I think what you're bumping up against in this discussion is very simple: Maslow's theory of hierarchy of need. (In brief: Maslow's hierarchy holds that people can't focus on abstract needs until basic needs are met.)

To a city that's been struggling with economic issues so long that it's become a way of life (and is now confronting concerns of public safety, education, etc. on top of that) an issue like the color of the bridge can seem painfully esoteric. The problem is that, in order to gain any kind of economic equilibrium, FR must compete with other places that ARE able to focus on those things.

Unfortunately, although it's a difficult balancing act, FR's public dialogue must follow two parallel tracks ... the visionary and the pragmatic ... if it is to survive and thrive in the 21st century economy. I applaud you, Lefty, for making room for both discussions on your blog.