|Minto Bridge on May 4th, via Travel Salem|
Those profile views make it look low and wide. The plans called for a 50 foot peak, and it is possible that the arches are only 50 feet high. But I swear the arc shown here in the initial drawings is flatter than the arc as-built. If so, the peak may be more than 50 feet high. (There may be more to say on this later, as there are almost certainly engineering constraints driving the details, which we might instead want to consider primarily aesthetically rather than structurally.)
|Original Council-approved concept drawing (2010)|
|The drawing showed a 50 foot peak - it looks too flat now|
|The arches are much bigger than the person painting them|
|They're as thick as a half-size human is tall|
The whole package just seems over-sized. In total, there are three details I find distracting:
- The bridge splays out at top, with the arches angled and spread outward. (Wags have called it a "taco shell," the "taco bridge.")
- It almost looks tensioned skyward, like a hand is pulling the arches up; it's taller than expected and dominates the skyline. Its energy is tensile rather than flowing.
- It has huge diameter tubing that is stocky rather than graceful.
|Similar bridge over McLoughlin Blvd along Springwater Trail|
- Span a shorter distance
- Be pinched at top, the the arches closer together and actually tied
- Use smaller diameter tubing for the arches
- Require a lower arch peak (this may be an illusion because the pathway is positioned higher in the arch)
Whatever may be the case, I now wonder if a plainer design might actually better feature the slough and wildlife and city skyline.
|Eugene's Greenway Bike Bridge, completed in 1978|
|The two low clearance candidates (December 2008)|
Based on this information, there is no real way to second-guess the decision. The tied-arch design was handsomer and better. Based on the information they had, Council made a good and wholly defensible decision.
Even so, now in hindsight, and as the design of the tied-arch evolved, it is possible to cast a backwards and wistful glance at the plainer, "precast concrete girder" design.
But again, you may disagree, and on this it is not possible to be dogmatic!
(The real lesson here: Bridges cost more than you think! The total cost for the Minto bridge was double the estimates here. If the SRC is estimated at $430 million, and you think that estimate is credible, think again!)
Walking and biking counts have averaged 5,000 trips per day since it opened, so people are using it. Salem's street classification identifies the mid-sized "collector" street as designed for 1,600 to 10,000 trips per day, and the "minor arterial" for 7,000 to 20,000 trips. Right now, anyway, the bridge is a "collector" and nearly a "minor arterial"!
What is your opinion of the bridge and path? How do you experience the bridge design and its procession of natural and architectural forms?