Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 14th

A Bridge to Somewhere

Freeway overpasses are usually soulless utilitarian structures. Sturdy, functional and dull. But the Exit 14 bridge over I-5 is really a gateway to the State of Oregon and Ashland is a gateway city. The bridge’s design should reflect its importance and the distinctive style of our town.

Starting next summer that’s exactly what it will do. ODOT is rebuilding the overpass for seismic safety and has taken the occasion to collaborate with community groups and individual citizens to develop a design for the new bridge.

I’ve seen the new look and it’s truly a transformation. The bridge is now sculpted, with Art Deco details that echo the Ashland Springs Hotel. A palette of natural colors blend with the landscape and decorative railings and period light standards tie the whole piece together.

Once it’s completed drivers coming north from California will notice they’re passing through a special portal and this impression will be repeated thousands of times every day. What the design committee, consultants and citizens labored on quietly for months will give a memorable experience to everyone entering this end of the State for decades to come.

Nice work, Aesthetics Advisory Committee! Nice work Public Arts and Planning Commissions, Tree Commission and Historic Commission, Chamber of Commerce and individual citizens and artists! Nice work ODOT, Art Anderson, Galbraith & Associates and Quincy Engineering! Your collaboration and artistic flair enriches our lives and draws favorable attention to our city.

And, as a bonus, the Exit 19 bridge has a complimentary design as well.

Thank you!"