To The Editor:
In response to the “Bridge Thoughts, Ideas” editorial of Feb. 23-24, I first wanted to mention that the Washington Bridge is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
So leaving the bridge should be considered as it will be an attraction both to historians and bridge aficionados.
The old Washington Bridge could also be turned into a pedestrian park. This was done with the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge which crosses the Hudson River in upstate New York and is now the beautiful mile-long “Walkway Over the Hudson” (walkway.org).
Sprucing up the old Washington Bridge for such use could become a matter of civic pride and turn the old bridge into a tourist destination since it would provide lovely views of the Missouri River as well as being a historic and recreational place.
This conversion could be a volunteer effort and would not be urgent and any funding for conversion could be done over time and on a donation basis.
Meanwhile, a new separate four-lane traffic bridge should be built somewhere else nearby or perhaps re-routing MO-47, extending it through Washington and having the new bridge cross the river a mile or two away from the existing bridge.
I very much believe that a four-lane bridge would help spur economic development in the Washington area and such a wide span may be helpful or necessary for carrying large manufactured items like wind turbine blades, wing, or other airfoil or aircraft structures made by Valent Aerostructures.