Every morning on my way to work I cross over the combined roar of the I-70/I-71 traffic on the Third Street bridge. I use the same bridge to get home at night. The bridge is a key part of my commute because it is one of the few avenues for pedestrian traffic from German Village and the south side into downtown Columbus.
On Monday, I noticed that part of the bridge was blocked off by yellow construction tape and some skinny orange cones. When I went over to investigate this development, I saw that chunks of the bridge appeared to have fallen off. A glance suggested that, with one ill-timed stumble, a luckless walker could go pitching through the gap and tumbling down the hillside to the traffic stream below.
Since that close examination, I’ve given the orange cone area the widest berth the sidewalk will allow. And, because you can’t help but think on a walk, I find myself wondering about what the problem with one part of the bridge means for the structural integrity of the bridge as a whole. What if the bridge started to crumble just as I am walking across?
That thought has helped me to pick up the pace on my morning walks. But I’ll be very relieved when this personal, visible, and unsettling reminder of our national infrastructure problem gets fixed.