This is a rant about bridges.

These united states are blessed with an abundance of rivers. To supplement them, we’ve built an enormous system of interstate highways. These two networks frequently cross, and generations of civil engineers have designed a variety of ways that allow the two to coexist. The dominant form, of course, is bridges.

From Bridges of the World I learned that modern bridges are often built to make them feel like an extension of the roadway. From the perspective of the driver there should be minimal change 1. This is a huge waste. Our rivers and interstates are the pride of our nation, and we should celebrate their interlinking. The rivers east of the Rockies are grand, glorious. Our great country is built on their banks. Children on long trips should be encouraged to admire their might, and adults too should be brought to prideful patriotic tears upon crossing.

We need a new architecture of bridges which inspires riparian awe and reflection, a new generation of civil engineers who see these rivers as our rightful patrimony, a collection of natural national monuments, augmented by hundreds of years of civil works, far greater than any that we’ve built ourselves from steel or stone.

  1. Railroad bridges need to be extremely flat, the tracks simply can’t bend up and down for an arched bridge.