Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Interesting bridge coverage in Loumag
There are a couple of excellent bridge articles in this month's Loumag. I was surprised how much I didn't know. I knew that the plan for downtown was to build a new one-way bridge, with the Kennedy Bridge going in the opposite direction, also one-way. Although it makes sense, I didn't realize that the design required the use of the exterior piers that make it look, as Tiny Elvis would say, "really big."

Friend of OFGS and architecture genius Alan Brake points that out, plus asks this excellent question:
"Considering the obvious maintenance problems with the Kennedy, it seems logical to question the decision to tether the new span to the old. 'The Kennedy Bridge is structurally sound, but no bridge lasts forever,” says [bridge project manager James B.] Williams. 'It’s safe to assume that the new bridge will outlast the Kennedy.' What will happen when it must be replaced? 'It’s not going to be fun,' Williams says. 'Luckily, for right now we can get one (new bridge into Spaghetti Junction).' By implication, then, when the Kennedy fails, a third new bridge will need to be added so that the Kennedy can be taken down. Could we, perhaps, make due with a single eight-lane bridge and remove the Kennedy now?"
Since nobody likes my plan – forbidding people from Indiana to come to Kentucky at all – we definitely need to do something. And if we're going to let them come, we definitely want to make it as easy as possible for them to leave again. So I guess we need the bridges. I was originally opposed to the east end bridge but now I'm for it for safety reasons. I wish the plan included making it mandatory for through-traffic to use the east end bridge, but that would probably run afoul of the Courier-Journal's "Hey, out of towners! Look! We have an arena!" agenda.

Meanwhile, in Loumag's other interesting bridge article, Edie Bingham writes that the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge was originally called the Louisville Municipal Bridge. It wasn't until 1949 that the bridge was renamed for Clark, who was reportedly something of a scalawag.

It's probably just as well, though, since nobody calls it the Clark Memorial Bridge anyway. It has always and will always be known as the Second Street Bridge. Which is a good custom to follow when people start naming all kinds of shit after Mitch McConnell.

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