Channel 19

Todd Dills

Rhapsody for rerouted rigs

| January 15, 2009

The shortest truck bypass on record may be the 0.9 mile route connecting U.S. 441 South around Micanopy, Fla. Denizen and archivist Diane Cohen, who waged a 6-year grassroots campaign to preserve the antebellum brick buildings on the town square, persuaded the state legislature to approve the bypass, built in 1992 for $425,000. Prior to its construction, the downtown intersection was tight for rigs, which rattled buildings’ foundations. During her preservation efforts, Cohen interviewed many long-haulers about the need for the bypass. The Gainesville Sun published her poetic salute, “Micanopy Bypass: Ode to the Great Trucks,”> when the bypass was dedicated:

Rank upon rank at sunrise they gleam,
On to the interstate might rigs stream,
White splendid armour bellished and scrolled.
High crested helmets of crimson and gold.

Blue cross of battle with rebel blood gored,
Breastplates proclaiming the love of the Lord,
Eighteen wheels girded in dark swaying fringe,
Rain spattered fenders, strafing the wind.

Low slung easy riders, the Peterbilts glide,
Great diesel way-stations greet you with pride,
Trumpets of silver on visors of chrome,
Kenworth and Freightliner, thundering on.

Chains, bathed in sodium light flashing sings,
Hungry for enterprise, run with the times.
Towns bent on progress put out all their wares,
Capture your glory with banners and flares.

Bright snorting behemoth that over us towers,
See how we scatter your roadway with flowers,
Timeless, or village tranquility keep.
Slip softly past us and leave us to sleep. –
Diane B. Cohen

emThis item appeared in the January 2009 installment of the Channel 19 column in Overdriveem. Click here for the free digital version or to subscribe.

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Todd Dills

Todd Dills is Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine and writes from Nashville, Tenn. He frequently covers business, regulatory and lifestyle topics for the magazine and at OverdriveOnline.com. His work on the “CSA’s Data Trail” series in Overdrive about the federal CSA program was awarded the highest honor in trade journalism – the “Grand Neal” – by American Business Media at the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards. Dills’ Channel 19 blog covers a grab bag of on-highway hearsay, owner-operator news and driver views from the roadways the nation over. His work in trucking journalism builds on a background of news feature, fiction and other creative writing and editing. Find him here at the Channel 19 blog and via his Twitter feed, or send tips to tdills@randallreilly.com or via phone at 205-907-2481.

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