Sepia Saturday - The Poet's Bridge

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This is the John Greenleaf Whittier Bridge. Whittier was a local poet from the 1800's who wrote of rural settings and spoke out against slavery. I wrote of Whittier's birthplace and one of his famous poems in my post Summertime and the Barefoot Boy.

The Whittier bridge was opened in 1954 as part of the new interstate highway system. It is just a few miles from the New Hampshire border and is a major link from Maine and New Hampshire to Boston. It carries Interstate 95 from Amesbury to Newburyport, Massachusetts and is just up river from two other bridges I blogged about earlier. Those are the Chain Bridge (The Strongest Link) and the Lt. Derek S. Hines Bridge. (A Bridge to Freedom)
Photo: L. Bograd

When it was built it was the state of the art in bridge construction. It was designed to be a "bookend" or "companion" bridge to the Borne and Sagamore bridges that span the Cape Cod Canal in the southern part of the state. Indeed you will see the same graceful arch in all three bridges.

The poet's bridge is a rather imposing structure towering over the two smaller bridges just downstream. It's piers are a popular "jumping off" spot for local teens on a hot summer day. The piers are accessed via a catwalk along the underside of the roadway.

It also spans two navigable channels. The main channel under the major arch flows under the Hines Bridge and the secondary channel flows under the Chain Bridge.
Proposed Replacement
Sadly this bridge's life is coming to an end. after only 50 odd years of use. Subjected to weather, wear and tear and roadway salt, it has been deemed "structurally deficient." As you can see it hasn't been painted in years. It is to be replaced by 2013 by another "state of the art" bridge.
Photo: L. Bograd
It amazes me that the bridges built an our "modern" era have such short life spans. There are several much older wooden covered bridges all throughout New England. The Borne and the Sagamore Bridges themselves are over 75 years old and still going strong. I'm sure many readers of this blog from Europe are still using bridges that are ancient and are still sound.

I have a personal issue with this bridge. I was born the same year it was completed. It's hard to see an old friend pass on.
Photo: CrazyasaCoolFox

As the poet Whittier himself wrote, "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these; It might have been."

Drive across the bridge with your poetic license to other fine Sepia Saturday posts by clicking here.

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