Thursday, September 22, 2011
The President is Visiting Our Bridge
This is the Brent Spence Bridge. Maybe you have heard about it on the news. President Obama spoke about it in his "jobs" speech a few weeks ago. Today, he is coming to visit the bridge. It's being used as a symbol of infrastructure that needs work in this country. The condition of this bridge has been deemed to be "functionally obsolete", which is scary to those of us who travel over it.
The Brent Spence Bridge carries I-75 across the Ohio River, linking Cincinnati, Ohio to Northern Kentucky. I-75 carries major north/south traffic between Michigan and Florida. The bridge was completed in 1963 and designed to carry 18,000 vehicles per day. Now it carries three times as much traffic. Originally, it was three lanes, but it was changed to four lanes some years ago to allow for more traffic. With four lanes, there is no "breakdown space" on either side of the bridge. A couple of months ago a man got out of his car on the bridge when he ran out of gas; he was knocked over the railing into the river by a passing car.
The Brent Spence is a two-tier bridge. Northbound lanes are on the bottom tier of the bridge (shown above). Southbound lanes are on the top tier. I don't like traveling across the bottom tier; I always imagine that the top tier is going to fall down on top of me. I'm not sure when the photo above was taken, as the bridge never looks that empty in real life. It looks more like the one below, with traffic crawling along in both directions.
So, I guess President Obama will be on the news tonight, visiting the bridge. I imagine they will have to shut it down for a while for his visit. In case you see it on the news, you will know where it is. By the way, I think the bridge also appears in George Clooney's new movie, "Ides of March", which was filmed around here.