In a recent Roaring Fork Swap post, a local proposed an idea: On the morning of Aug. 14, valley residents gather on the north side of the Grand Avenue bridge and walk across together one last time — never mind demolition may have already commenced.
It’s hard for me to get that sentimental about a functionally obsolete structure built in 1953. If I consider the years between ’66, when my parents drove us across the bridge to start a life in Glenwood Springs, and now, the bridge is no more than a passive bystander.
It certainly was no active participant. Among the hazier memories of my youth, during the time of ping-pong ball drops and fishing derbies, one guy kept a dirt airstrip west of town. His reputation as a gadfly preceded him, but even before the days of strict FAA oversight no one took seriously his boast that he could fly his plane under the bridge.
Until he did.
The story fascinated me whenever I overheard it. Parents would assume hushed tones and drop the subject if we came around, perhaps to avoid planting bad seeds.
No one blamed the bridge.
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But the bridge’s indifference to questionable pilot judgment was perhaps outdone by its agnosticism toward pre-adolescent child development.
Sometime later, as if to take on the square peg through the round hole challenge, CDOT converted the spacious two-lane bridge into the cozy four-lane thoroughfare we enjoy today, and in so doing significantly extended the perimeter of my childhood independence. My bridge crossing ticket got punched when the “new” cantilevered walkway made vehicle/bicycle encounters less probable.
With this freedom, I spent a lot more time with a north sider…
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