The question comes up every now and then: What are they going to name the new Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River at Washington?

The answer is apparently they are going to call it the Highway 47 bridge. Many names were suggested but none caught on with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

City officials in Washington, Franklin and Warren counties have not lobbied for a bridge name.

Does it have to have a name other than the Highway 47 bridge? No. But bridges often are named after something other than the highway that it serves. It can be a way to honor an individual or historical figure from the state or area. The new bridge at Hermann was named after Sen. Kit Bond, who secured funding for it. The naming game can be political.

For instance, President Harry Truman, a Democrat, the only Missourian who won the presidency, would join other public structures bearing his name. There are Republicans who would not stand for that name.

It could be named for a group that played an important role in America’s history, such as military veterans. “Veterans Memorial Bridge” would not offend anybody. Highway 100 from Interstate 44 to Washington is the Veterans Memorial Highway. Former mayor, the late Bernie Hillermann, suggested that name and it caught on with MoDOT.

Then there was Congressman Clarence Cannon, who represented this area in the U.S. House for over 40 years and who played a key role in obtaining the first bridge over the Missouri River at Washington. He was a Democrat and the younger generations may never have heard of him.

Missouri River Valley Bridge?

Another historical figure is John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition who later farmed west of Washington. His escape after being captured by Indians is what movies are made of.

Time is running out. The bridge will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, Dec. 1. It could be given a different name later, we suppose.

Is there anyone who is excited about calling it the Highway 47 Bridge.