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Bridge to Nowhere
“Sometimes you get the best light from a
burning bridge.”--Don Henley.
is an inland sea.
It’s a hundred miles long,
and a busy waterway,
as Washington State super ferries
churn their way between
the many islands.
Native Americans once stood
on what would become
Point Defiance and Tacoma,
peering over a mile
to what would become Gig Harbor.
The water runs deep and swift,
with strong currents and high winds.
During the Depression
engineers stood at the same spot
who designed a suspension bridge
that would span that distance
like a great steel ribbon.
It took three years to build it.
The Tacoma Narrows bridge opened
on July 1, 1940 and it developed problems
immediately. During high winds it would
shake, shiver and wobble, scaring drivers.
It had a design flaw called aeroelastic flutter.
On November 7, 1940, when only four months old,
while battling a 40mph wind, Galloping Gertie
snapped in half, and crashed into the Sound.
Miraculously no one was killed. A dog
named Tubby was the only fatality.
The remains of the old bridge
lay on the bottom at 600 feet,
and over the years it created
one of the world’s largest man-made reef;
home to teeming pods of octopi.
the two ends stood
as monuments to folly and hubris.
--It was the Bridge to Nowhere,
until it wasn’t--
In 1950, a new bridge was erected,
with open tresses, stiffening struts,
and many openings for the wind.
It became Sturdy Gertie,
a modern marvel. In July, 2007,
a companion bridge was completed,
parallel to the other one.
Together they accommodate
90,000 cars a day.
Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub