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Feb 10, 2012
Bridging Our History
Part of Don Cunningham's political patter as a candidate and elected official is repairing or replacing bridges in the county. When you replace a bridge which doesn't need replacing, you're wasting taxpayer money. When you replace a historic bridge which doesn't need replacing, you're stealing our culture
The Reading Road Bridge, scheduled by Cunningham for replacement, is in excellent condition. Although my observation and top photograph clearly shows that, I did confirm it's structural integrity with someone formally with the City engineering department.
The bridge was built in 1824 and totally rehabilitated in 1980. At that time a separate walking bridge was built next to it for pedestrian safety.*
Although the beautiful two arch stone bridge needs no work, and Cunningham has been in office since 2006, the steel beams of the walking bridge are in dire need of paint. How sad that inexpensive maintenance is ignored, while $million dollar projects are planned.
click on bridge photographs to enlarge image
An engineer familiar with the bridge told me that he if was asked by supervisors to justify replacing the bridge, he will cite flooding; He added that in reality it's a moot point, because the stream flow in high water situations is also impeded by the nearby Hamilton and Union street bridges.
UPDATE: The above post appeared in June of 2010. This past Wednesday, the bridge project was presented to the County Commissioners for approval. The newest member, Mike Schware, prevailed upon the Commissioners to postpone the deliberation. I would like to remind the Commissioners that Schreiber's Bridge is now handling the former north bound traffic from the 15th Street Bridge. Once replacement begins, Schreiber will be handling virtually all the traffic from the south side. Schreiber's is also a stone arch bridge, of the same design, built at the same time as the Reading Road Bridge. Although the 15Th Street bridge was built 130 years later, that's the one that now has to be replaced. I urge the Commissioners to make a good investment in our culture, history and budget, and allow the Reading Road Bridge to remain.