To The Editor:

While I’ve known for quite some time that the Bend Bridge’s days were numbered, mostly because of the way people drive these days, is it something that can be blocked off, and mothballed for use as a cyclist bridge or tourist attraction?

I know there is a never-ending quest to extend the Meramec Greenway trail system out our direction, and the Ozark Trail toward St. Louis. The major obstacle in this area is crossing the Meramec River.

If you consider the amount of traffic that bridge handles, if that all gets switched onto Highway O, I’d not like to be a cyclist or hiker on Highway O. It’s a pretty amazing bridge in its own right, and cyclists and trail walkers will still need to get across the river somehow.

Last night I was in St. Charles listening to someone talk about the amount of tourist dollars which came to Warsaw, Mo., from tourists stopping at one of the most accessible swinging bridges of Miller County. And we all know what a tourist draw the Chain of Rocks bridge is.

The bridge at Route 66 is de-decked but not abandoned; I really do think people, even noncycling tourists, would detour to see it and, guess what? The road brings them out into downtown Pacific where we can entice them to spend a little time and money.

Go ahead and close Bend Bridge to motorized traffic, but let’s think of ways to repurpose it, instead of just tearing it down.