Clog in the leaky tunnel

When the northbound 93 tunnel opened, I notice something missing: A breakdown lane. There are only a couple of places in the tunnel where a disabled car can actually pull aside and be out of the way of traffic. The first time I went through the tunnel, I thought, "Well, this place is going to be a real treat when someone overheats."

I was right. Last Thursday, in the heaviest southbound traffic I have seen since the tunnel opened, I watched the guy next to me react to a series of events which lead to his car overheating. First, he put his windows down, which is a big no-no for me. I even close my fresh-air vents when driving through because I don't want to be sucking exhaust. He put his windows down because he had to turn on the heat to cool down the engine, which has always been a weird paradox. It wasn't enough, though, because his car started spewing steam. He had to pull over by cutting through two lanes of traffic, and where he stopped meant anyone trying to use the Government Center/North End ramp would have to snake around him. I doubt this helped traffic.

Just today, another case of disabled vehicles caused a serious backup. Usually the morning gridlock breaks free at South Bay, where those of us going through the city have a clear, speed-limit shot to the tunnel and beyond. Instead we northbound commuters were stuck watching the Mass. Pike drivers cruise by (cruise indicates moving at 5 mph instead of 3 mph). The cause? Two cars in the right lane. It was hard to tell if they broke down or if they were in an accident, but there was only one tow truck. As soon as we all got a good look at it, you know, because anyone pulled over on the side of the road is a circus oddity, the traffic broke free. I admit to be looking, but I have a reason. I have to write about it in a weblog. OK, and I was victim to the same driver's voyeurism that plagues the rest of driving Boston.


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