Thing 1 and Thing 2, creepy blue-haired critters from the dark reaches of the creative mind of Dr. Seuss, are featured in the children's book The Cat in the Hat.

When I drive by the gates to the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier adorned with giant circled digits, Thing 1 and Thing 2 immediately come to mind.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers began constructing the New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier in October 1962 and completed it in 1966 for $18.6 million.

New Bedford's Barrier Gates Protect The South End From Storms
Spinner Publications

The decision to build the barrier followed the devastating hurricanes in 1938 and 1954 that caused millions of dollars in damage.

Three street gates are closed when ocean waters rise. They are on Cove Road, West Rodney French Boulevard and East Rodney French Boulevard.

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The Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers says, "The two main barrier gates that form the Harbor Barrier span across a 150-foot wide by 30-foot deep (at low water) navigation barrier."

"These gates are closed approximately 20 times a year," according to the BSCES.

New Bedford's Barrier Gates Protect The South End From Storms
Spinner Publications

When the street gates close, motor vehicle traffic cannot flow on and off the peninsula. Homes and businesses on the peninsula are subject to flooding.

The barrier and the street and harbor gates may have prevented more than $25 million in storm-related damage since they were installed, according to the Army Corp of Engineers.

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