Recently, a letter writer to our sister paper echoed the frustration of thousands of local motorists when he suggested that the city simply give up all pretense of progress in the seemingly endless construction on the Cold Spring bridge and ramps for the Jones Falls Expressway. Instead, he wrote, perhaps the city could use the site to erect a sculpture with an inscription reading, "Abandon hope, all ye who used to enter."
The Jones Falls project is not the only trial facing motorists on Cold Spring Lane. Since August, when a thunderstorm damaged a 100-year-old bridge over Stoney Run Creek, Cold Spring traffic has also been disrupted just west of Charles Street. The Stoney Run bridge was already scheduled for repairs to begin in December, but merchants affected by the construction were understandably upset when the city did not respond to the storm by accelerating the construction schedule.
The Stoney Run work finally did begin and is scheduled to be completed in December. That's still a long way off for those who must cope with the detours each day. But there is a ray of light. Transportation Department officials say a second lane will soon open along the route.
Even better news: The department says the Jones Falls ramps will be re-opening in a couple of weeks -- a month ahead of the target date. Alas, after almost two years of detours, motorists may be too numb to notice.