The next bridge down the river is the Fort Road Bridge, best known as “the shortcut from Mitch’s place to the Mall and the Airport”.
I’ve kvetched in the past about the dubious aesthetics of bridges built during the Interstate Highway era, when the operating philosophy seemed to be “bridges should be un-noticeable”. And as you saw yesterday, I do love the old, grand, monumental bridges from the twenties and thirties, when you knew you were on a bridge, and the bridge was damn proud of it.
The Fort Road bridge, through a combination of design philosophy and (one might suspect) Scandinavian penurity, though, is the most unprepossessing bridge around. Indeed, it’s hard to know you’re actually on the bridge, if you’re focused on traffic (and one must frequently do that, since late rush-hour traffic coming to Saint Paul from 494 can clog the works up pretty easily). It’s actually hard to find pictures of the bridge online,and the bridge seems to blend pretty seamlessly into its surroundings.
And what surroundings. Indeed, one can forgive this bridge for being such a non-entity; it’d be a shame to draw attention away from this particular part of the Mississippi gorge. The bridge crosses at Fort Snelling, just upstream of Pike Island, one of the most gorgeous places in the Twin Cities.
So we’ll excuse the blah architecture.
But keep your eye on the damn road.