Friday, December 11, 2009

Travel Anxiety

I heard someone recently talking about the anxiety that everyone seems to have when they travel through a tunnel. It may be slight but there is always a relief when one exits a tunnel.

Here in Oregon there are several tunnels that we travel through on a regular basis. There is the Arch Cape Tunnel, which was in danger of collapse a few years ago. There is the tunnel on Hwy 26 which had a partial collapse a few years ago killing an ODOT worker. There are two tunnels, one for each direction right before Portland on Hwy 26 and there is one on Burnside up in the hills on the down side entering Portland. There is also the tunnel across the river before Chinook.

The tunnels mentioned above are through rock, but in New York we had the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels that went under the Hudson River. These are long tunnels that twist and turn. Once inside you lose all radio communication. Seeing any water on the road raises suspicion even though one knows these tunnels are drilled through the bed rock under the river.

There seems to be an innate urgency to get through a tunnel especially when you cannot see the exit and when the exit comes into view a feeling of relief ensues.

I’ve known some anxiety when traveling over a long bridge as well. I wonder what would happen if there was a quake while in mid span. We’ve all seen the movies of Galloping Gertie collapsing in the wind. We’ve seen what happened to the Bay Bridge in Oakland during the quake. Let’s not forget the recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis which was just a structure failure. So going over the Astoria Bridge, the Freemont Bridge or the Lewis and Clark Bridge in Longview gets my attention by reason of anxiety. I even get a jolt going over the steel grate bridge over by the Fair Grounds. I tend to think that bridges are inherently more dangerous than tunnels, but oddly I get more anxious traveling underground.


Blogger Auntie said...

I guess I am not an anxious traveller, but none of these places, tunnels, bridges etc, give me any kind of fits.

Maybe I should be worried? Or maybe I am just a clueless dork.

You know me....

5:16 AM  
Blogger Trop said...

I lived in Pittsburgh, where you can't avoid tunnels. I was always fascinated by them.

6:47 AM  
Blogger JustRex said...

Bridges usually don't bother me too much. But there was one across to Dauphin Island down in Alabama a few years ago that curved wayyyyyy up into the air before coming back down again. That one was a little scary. Luckily there are no tunnels down here. They give me the heebie-jeebies.

7:10 AM  
Blogger mark said...

I occasionally ride my bike across the Meglar bridge -- now that gets my anxiety up real good. Oddly, the most worrying part isn't the highest stretch, but the curving part on the Oregon side.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Sunshine Skyway in FL. Every time I cross it, I just know I'm going to die a watery death. (yet, I'm okay driving through the ghetto-fabulous neighborhoods. I'm so stupid.)

11:06 AM  
Blogger Page-Turner Tina said...

We don't have tunnels in Manitoba, but just reading your post made me anxious, being claustrophobic.
But if bridges AND tunnels make you uncomfortable, try driving a big truck under a low bridge here- I think it was last year that one truck had its top peeled back from trying to drive under a bridge that was too low, and another simply got jammed between the underbelly of the bridge and the road. I think it's safe to say I only travel by small vehicle!

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:59 PM  
Blogger g said...

I had a chance to build a series of concrete tunnels when I was young. Very fascinating!

6:49 PM  
Anonymous dalia said...

i am like auntie. bridges and tunnels make me anxious. on the way to buffalo from toronto, there are TWO biiiiig bridges. oh, i hate them.

7:11 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I guess we all put our trust in engineers that these things are safe, but sometimes engineers learn from mistakes. Remember the adage, "Doctors bury their mistakes and architects plant ivy on theirs." Remember when the engineers replaced the decking on the Lewis and Clark and Old Youngs Bay Bridges here in the county. The first time they raised the L&C Bridge the surface sluffed off. They haven't finished with their mistakes yet.

5:45 AM  

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