The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 5, 2013

Trust highway engineers

Daily Item

---- — Thursday's article on the new 2-foot buffer on for Veteran's Memorial Bridge seriously misrepresents the effect of the dividing lines. The headline says 'Drivers Now Have Extra 1/100 of a Second To Veer." That math is wrong: a car doing 45 mph takes about 3/100 second to go 2-feet. But that car would somehow have to be traveling directly across traffic on the bridge -- so the car would run into the far wall in less than half a second anyway.

A more realistic case would be if a car was drifting out of its lane at about 2 degrees off the right track. At that low angle a car wheel takes about 60 feet of travel to cross a 2 foot divide. So the buffer gives an extra 8/10 seconds until collision -- easily enough time for an alert driver to recover.

This sounds to me like a simple, cost-effective partial response to a serious highway danger. Maybe we should have more trust in the intelligence of highway engineers?

Ben Marsh,

Department of Geography & Program in Environmental Studies