Before Falmouth residents fill out their surveys regarding the use of their tax money, I hope I can share another side of the Falmouth Flyer with you. I live on Route 1, and the bus goes by my house 24 times a day, six days per week. When I see the bus, it is usually empty or nearly so, but that’s not my concern anymore.
For the last few years, I have wondered what the effect of a 16-ton bus traveling the Martin Point Bridge 24 times a day is doing to the old bridge. So, I thought I would investigate. I went to the Department of Transportation Web site for bridges in Maine (last updated in 2003). The last inspection of the Martin Point Bridge was Feb. 21, 2003. The federal sufficiency rating given to the bridge in 2003 was 50.1 on a scale of 0-100. Bear in mind that the bridge was built in 1943. The substructure in 2003 on a scale of 1-10 was a rating of 4 (poor condition).
I know that the transit system is in place to help all people deal with the issues of getting from here to there, especially in suburbia. But, how does it serve all of the residents of Falmouth to have a bus running from Portland to Wal-Mart 12 times a day? I don’t think the costs outweigh the problems anymore. I, in all honesty, don’t know the shape of the bridge, but what’s scarier is that I don’t think anyone else does either.