Who could have ever thought,in their wildest imagination, that a hurricane in New Orleans could cost Alaska two bridges? Alaska tarred and feathered.
Bridges to nowhere have a very predictable habit of ending up being
bridges to somewhere. We have examples in Alaska: Kodiak's Near
Island Bridge once thought to be a planner's pipe dream, when
finally completed, opened up land for new industrial enterprises. In the
1950s, yours truly many times joined a boat party rowing across Iliuliuk
Bay that later was spanned by the Bridge to the Other Side, from Dutch
Harbor at Unalaska to connect to-what? The airport on Amakanak Island!
(Attention Ketchikan and Gravina Island.) Truth be told, islands often
figure prominently in bridge building: Lake Washington Floating Bridge
and Mercer Island; Golden Gate Bridge and Yerba Buena Island, to name
two that are near to us. Other bridges to nowhere might include the
Tacoma Narrows Bridge that took off from very rural Tacoma outskirts and
landed in Gig Harbor when the population tallied about 700. Today, a
second bridge is under construction and the original (after first
blowing down) now carries 90,000 automobiles daily! Then take the
Astoria-Megler Bridge. It spans the mouth of the Columbia River.
Originating from a sleepy little seaport town, it touched down on the
isolated opposite river bank. When opened to traffic in 1963, it carried
1.6 million vehicles the first year and paid for itself in two years.
One of the most famous bridges to nowhere is Pittsburgh's Fort
Duquesne Bridge that terminated in midair over the Allegheny River for
six years before finally coming to rest beside Three Rivers Stadium,
then home to NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers and 750,000 area residents.
But, not before a young buck drove his GTO off the end of the bridge,
and lived to tell the tale. Then, too, the Daniel Webster Hoan Bridge,
the bridge that made Milwaukee famous, built spans that also ended in
mid-air and, after seven years in space, opened in 1977. It was a venue
for John Belushi's movie "The Blues Brothers" and the
auto crashes for which the film has become a genre classic.