Second Outing

This particular outing was yesterday, Feb 24, and it was a surprisingly warm and sunny day. There were many people out enjoying the greenway. Many were walking, jogging, or biking. It was nice to see so many people out enjoying the pleasant weather.

On this occasion, I noticed the bridge at the end of my section. It sits where the Swannanoa River joins the French Broad River, so a lot of water passes under it. It is an old bridge and is rather rickety. It has metal pieces in it that clash when cars go over it, thus it is also a quite loud bridge. It appears weathered and mildly dilapidated. There is a pipe on its side that is broken and missing pieces. I wonder what the pipe was originally for. It seems to now be a pigeon home.

Pigeon in the pipe, possibly assessing life choices.

The bridge was built in the 1950s, but is still considered structurally sound. It is rickety on top as well and feels unsteady to drive over, but the Department of Transportation says it is structurally sound. People have noted that it moves and shakes, but that is normal for most bridges so that they do not crack. On top of the bridge, walkers and bikers have to cross as well as the traffic to continue on the greenway, which is not very easy or safe to do when the traffic is very busy. I have done it, but the walkway is about two feet wide next to the low railing. It needs to be rebuilt or changed in some way to allow for walkers and bikers to cross safely.

I found the bridge notable mostly because it is old and industrial, yet still works. It raises questions of wonder of what all it has been through and had cross over it. I wonder when parts of it broke and where those missing pipe pieces went. I wonder what sorts of things have floated below it and how high the water has flowed because of storms. I noticed that there were small chunks of concrete missing on the edge of one of the pillars holding up the bridge. I guess it is from trees or other things that have floated down during storms.

The bridge. You can see the broken end of the pipe at the top.

The bridge is old and dingy. There are old mattresses tucked under one side where people may sleep. It’s cracked and creaky. It’s industrial and old just like much of the River Arts area. But, it is interesting to see and muse on. And, it still works. It does not seem as though it is about to cave in or need major updates. It is a well traveled bridge, so when it is worked on, there will have to be detour to another bridge further down river. There are many bridges that cross the French broad in this area, each seems to be a bit bigger and higher than the last. It ends with the very high one that allows I-26 to pass into downtown. I remember crossing the bridge countless times and looking down into the River Arts district. It was not a place I went to before I moved to live very near to it. Now, it feels familiar and the bridge very far away, towering over the river and walking paths.

Works Cited:

Boyle, John. Answer Man: Is the Amboy Road Bridge Safe? Acton CIRCLE CONFUSION? 30 Nov. 2018, 

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