Warning! We're not architectural experts, but having made 229 Civic Center Drive our restaurant home these past several months, we've learned a thing or two about bridge making.
1. It's a long and arduous process. (The city of Columbus broke ground on the new bridge in March 2010.)
2. It's loud, earth shaking and creates a lot of dust. (As when the construction crew was driving in the pylons to reach 70 feet to the river bedrock elevation!)
3. The process and what seems like a long wait is going to be well worth it.
Think of the new Rich Street bridge as completing the holy trinity of bridges along the Scioto, joining the modern look of the Main Street bridge while maintaining the historical integrity of the Discovery Bridge (Broad Street bridge). The Rich Street Bridge, which the city has dubbed their "Festival" bridge, is a "post-tensioned precast concrete rib-arch bridge composed of five spans, 10 foot sidewalks and three traffic lanes." Or at least that's how the folks at Finley Engineering describe the bridge on their website.
Not sure what the engineering jargon means? Well, you'll have to see it for yourself. In basic terms, it means that the bridge is simple and elegant.
Two years in the making the new Rich Street Bridge replaces a concrete fill in bridge that stood there from 1917 to 2010. Our new bridge, more than just a practical concrete slab that enables us to traverse to the opposite bank of the river, is meant to be an asset to our community, a work of art, and a structure that is harmonious to the area's historic civic buildings and the contemporary COSI building.
The bridge is 562 feet in length, it has four pylons at the four corners of the bridge which will serve as electrical and telephone command centers during festivals. The bridge will have blue LED lighting along the handrails and pylons. The pier and arches will be illuminated by white flood lights.
In another few weeks, the bridge will open to pedestrian traffic and join the cityscape. You'll definitely be able to see it from table 93 on our patio.
(Note: photos courtesy Nancy Burton, ODOT)