Tag

sound

Finally, OBX To Get A Mid-Currituck Bridge!

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Finally, after years and years of talk and no real solid plans, it looks as if the Outer Banks is finally going to get the long-debated Mid-Currituck Bridge! If you’ve ever been to the Outer Banks during the peak Summer season, you’ve no doubt been stuck in endless traffic coming over the Wright Memorial Bridge into Kitty Hawk. There has been much debate about whether to construct a second bridge farther north, or simply widen Route 12 (NC-12 is the road that stretches from north of Corolla southward to Cape Hatteras and is known as the Beach Road where it parallels Highway 158 in the more commercial stretch of the Outer Banks).

Those in support of the bridge opposed the only alternative, which would have been to widen NC-12 from two to four lanes from Kitty Hawk to Corolla, in turn destroying the character of the northern Outer Banks, especially in quaint villages such as Duck.

The Outer Banks is pretty much my second home. I go there all the time with family and friends. For the most part, I stay in either Corolla or Duck (or somewhere in between), both of which are a good 45 minutes north of the Wright Memorial Bridge, and that’s without traffic backups. The Mid-Currituck Bridge would not only alleviate congestion, but also shave a lot of time off travel for people like myself that stay on that stretch of beach. Think about it. If you’re driving from Richmond, you come in south down Highway 158 on the mainland, then go across the Wright Memorial Bridge, and drive north again, and by the time you reach your beach house you’re 7 miles from where you were two hours ago.

The new bridge has been approved (funding has been approved since 1989 but nothing has been done to start construction!) and construction will start in early 2009, opening tentatively in 2013! You’ll be able to fly on across the Currituck Sound once you reach Coinjock on the mainland and be right at the TimBuck II Shopping Complex near Corolla in 5 minutes! That knocks off nearly two hours from the 4 hour trip from Short Pump to Corolla! That’s pretty exciting, and makes it a lot more affordable to go down there gas-wise. There supposedly will be an $8 toll during the peak Summer season, but that’s far less than the money it would cost for gas to drive for two more hours, plus time is money. It’s estimated the project will cost between $340 and $745 million dollars. There are six current alignment proposals, which can be seen in the map graphic.

More Information:

Project Website

Project Map (PDF)

“Build The Bridge” Non-Profit Group Website

Wawa’s Pesky “Mosquito”

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So I stopped at Wawa on Staples Mill Road Sunday night to get some gas and one of their really good chocolate chip muffins on the way home from VCU. As I stood there pumping gas, I noticed this awful pulsating, high-frequency tone that sounded like it was coming from the gas pumps. I had been listening to my iPod in the library while I studied for a good few hours, so I thought maybe my ears were ringing from prolonged music-listening. So I went inside to get my muffin, and when I came back, I heard it again. I looked around, and sure enough, there were two small white transmitters (pictured) emitting the tone, mounted to the underside of the metal roof over the gas pumps.

What are the purpose of these, you ask? Well a couple of years ago, the owner of a small retail store in the United Kingdom got tired of teenagers loitering around his shop and causing trouble. He realized that people’s ability to hear extremely high-pitched sounds decreases with age, and patented a device that emits an irritating sound that most people over the age of 25 or 30 can’t hear.

Apparently this technology has come “across the pond” as they say, and has landed at the neighborhood Wawa. I’ll be the first to tell you it works. It was so irritating that I don’t think I’ll be back to buy gas there unless I’m trailing in on fumes with no other gas stations in sight. That particular Wawa doesn’t really seem to be a hangout spot like some others I’ve seen, so I don’t really understand the need. The only thing I think they’re accomplishing is losing the business of legitimate, paying customers such as myself.

The relentless cat and mouse game between adults and youth goes on, though. Teenagers have hijacked the tone, turning the sound into a ringtone that can be used to be alerted to phone calls and text messages while in school. Teachers, usually over the age of 23 or 30, can’t hear the tone. Pure genius. I knew of several people who frequently used this tone in high school last year. Ready to take the “are you old” test? here’s the tone. See if you can hear it! Click here.