HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

That sad little bridge, still in need of repair

Written June 9th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

The Waverly Drive bridge on Cox Creek last week, same as five years ago.

The country seems to be intent on self-destruction, so maybe this little bridge in Albany is a fitting symbol of our habit of letting things go till they get out of hand.

You’ve crossed this one-lane bridge if you’ve been to the Talking Water Gardens or Simpson Park. It’s looked like this, more or less, for about 20 years, if memory serves.

I wrote about this five years ago, trying to goad the responsible road authority into finally getting it fixed. No luck, obviously.

I once discovered a listing of this place in something called the National Bridge Inventory, which said it was built in 1957 and its structural components were in “intolerable” shape.

Linn County once briefly closed the bridge to keep it from collapsing under heavy trucks, then restricted it to one lane. And it’s been that way ever since.

Now the city of Millersburg seems to be in charge of it. The city’s capital improvement plan includes a project to repair the bridge, with an estimated price tag of $2,250,000. But the project is “unfunded” and unscheduled. So it’s probably not going to get fixed in the lifetime of some of the people reading this.

Does it matter? Maybe not. Not until some oblivious driver causes a head-on collision in the single lane, or a maintenance truck of the Portland & Western falls through to the creek below.

As a country we have much bigger problems, obviously, most of them having nothing to do with bridges. But this website is about, mainly, things I see around the town I like, and the countryside around it, at least the part I can easily reach on the bike. (hh)

Looking off that bridge is like taking a peek into a jungle.

 

 



   


6 responses to “That sad little bridge, still in need of repair”

  1. Ean says:

    Problem is the bridge only accesses an Albany park and the P&W rail yard. Linn County or Millersburg have no need for the bridge really.

  2. Lundy says:

    $2M-plus to repair a bridge that’s, what, maybe 100 feet long? Wow. Then again, I recall 20 or so years ago when Benton County abandoned a road near the landfill rather than spend what at the time struck me as an astronomical figure to repair a little bridge over Soap Creek: $200K if memory serves.

  3. Rich Kellum says:

    If you consult Info Hub, you will see that Talking water gardens in actually in Millersburg, the bridge is at the border between Albany and Millersburg and at least used to be owned by the County. Real easy for everyone to look at that and say “not my problem man”

  4. Helen McGovern says:

    Tourists that visit Albany to see Talking Waters certainly see the worst of Albany as they attempt to cross the bridge. It looks even worse since the road construction was completed. There are three hikes in the area TalkingWaters, Simpson Park and hike to Bowman Park. Isn’t it time for Albany to concentrate some energy on marketing the beautiful hikes in Albany

    • William Ayers says:

      “marketing” please no. Why must everything be a pre-packaged marketed commodity that’s safe as mothers milk and molded to the latest shopping mall aesthetic until it’s so entirely had any and all character stripped out of it to the extent that if one suddenly “woke up” there you would’t be able to know where you were from any other generic location. I like the bridge just as it is. If it’s not in danger of collapse it perfect like it is. In fact it’s preferable!

      • HowlingCicada says:

        Exactly right! Thank you.

        What makes places interesting and often highly desirable are those quirky, sometimes broken-down things, that no one in their right mind would have designed into being. They just evolved, organically so to speak, and grew and decayed over time. Old European villages are treasures because of this — no matter that you can only drive 10 miles per hour, or better yet not at all.

        What needs “marketing” is the phony-old-fashioned, new, over-designed, perfectly manicured, generic suburban development that only an ODOT bureaucrat could love.

 

 
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