Friday, January 13, 2012

Intervale Bridges

In the Intervale, where I ride often as an alternative or in conjunction with the waterfront trail, there are a few interesting bridges, unique in their own way. The one below has character with its rusty framework, built solely for bike and pedestrian travel. An arm of the path swings to the right, elevating to bridge level. More pictures here of its wooden decking.

Another option further on is a crossing on a flat "road".

It's also a right of way, allowing a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm access to their land. Other then that, it's traffic free and a pleasant crossing back into Burlington neighborhoods.

On the same route there is the bridge to nowhere. Below is an aerial view to show it's position over busy route 127. Between Ethan Allen Homestead access and the road is the bike path. Look closely and you'll note the lack of connection on either end. In the foreground the bridge butts right up against a steep bank as if never intended for use. Both ends are cordoned off with chain link fence.

Photo credit: Google Maps.

At street level, notice the architecture and all-wooden construction.

Up close it's composed of multiple layers, extremely well built - a beauty and my aesthetic favorite. The odd thing it that it has never, ever been open to the public.

Built in the 1970s along with the highway bypass, here-say has it that federal funding paid for the bridge, but pedestrian access was a stipulation, possibly to appease the neighborhoods above. Why it was constructed up against a 50-foot high wall of woods is anybody's guess, making it virtually impossible to ever be of use. Instead we pedal and drive by it all the time, wondering the why and the how, reminded of the wasted effort on this beautiful structure. It's a shame.

Quirky bridge aside, all of the Intervale is preserved for future generations and is managed by the City of Burlington and the Intervale Center. Its appealing features, from bridges, farms, single track, paved alternate route, and wildlife along the Winooski River attract some folks, but the region is under used. For those seeking solitude, it's a perfect place for a bike ride.

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