This bridge is an attractive example of a riveted Parker truss. It includes concrete t-beam approach spans at each end. The t-beam spans have concrete balustrade railing on the sidewalks, while the main truss span has riveted lattice railing. The approach spans retain decorative concrete lighting standards. The through truss provides an interesting and attractive gateway function for the road it serves. It also has apparently been decorated during the holiday season, something reportedly greatly enjoyed by the local community. Aside from altering the portal and sway bracing to increase vertical clearance for trucks, the bridge retains good historic integrity with no other major alterations.
Despite this bridge's beauty and function as a community gateway and holiday centerpiece, Sumner is bent on reducing this bridge to scrap metal and constructing a slab of concrete in its place. This represents a poor choice, since not only will this result in a loss of beauty and heritage, the bridge is in decent condition and would be easy to rehabilitate. Moreover, it is unclear what benefit a new bridge would provide. Certainly, wider bridges allow drivers to travel safely at faster speeds, and also helps drivers avoid collisions while texting, or engaging in other driving distractions. However, it is unclear why Sumner would want traffic driving faster through this area, since the bridge leads right into downtown Sumner.
What is worse, is Sumner is attempting to pass off the replacement bridge as something attractive and special which is absolutely nonsense. The proposed replacement bridge appears to be composed of standard pre-stressed concrete AASHTO girders on hammerhead piers and as such will look like an expressway overpass. Its barren concrete deck will offer no interesting geometry for users. The proposed superficial details such as ornamental railings and colored lighting on the bridge are elements that either already existed on the historic bridge, or could be added to the historic bridge. True bridge aesthetics are derived from a bridge that does not need to disguise or hide its ugliness but instead is itself beautiful such that superficial decorations are either not needed, or are simply complimentary to existing structural beauty.
A rendering of the replacement bridge is shown below.
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