Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Eighth Street Bridge

Up the road ten minutes, there’s a bridge (well, at least as of tonight’s news, it was still there) that will be replaced in the near future. The nearer, the better, sez I.

Most bridges get inspected every two years; this one is on a six-month cycle. Yesterday, the weight limit was just reduced again. The official reading on its condition usually includes words such as, “deteriorating.” I think of that every time I cross and I assume the other 9,600 people each day also have it in mind.

Unless they are concerned about their outside mirrors. There are times when you are sure that there will be two of them on the bridge floor when you and the wide car slightly toward the left of its lane approach each other at speed. It’s not only unsafe, but also rather (rather??) narrow and you just buzz along figuring if you make it off the bridge with your mirror intact before the thing collapses, you’ve already had a good day.

So, anyway, the people who build new bridges (“they”) are going to do just that. It will be so close that it will still be the 8th Street Bridge and I hope they don’t give it some name that we will little note nor long remember. Like the former Carey Avenue Bridge, now the 1st Battalion, 109th Field Artillery, Pennsylvania Army National Guard Bridge.

They (see above) are doing test borings in the river to see where it will support a bridge. Not as easy as you might think; this area is undercut with coal mines, including under the river, at times just a few feet under it. The only thing the old bridge hasn’t done so far is fall into a mine, but let’s not even think about that.


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