If you're in one of the 30,000 vehicles that traverse the Huguenot Bridge every day, you've no doubt noticed the construction. If you haven't, you should probably look up from your cell phone more often.
A replacement of the 2,900-foot span is being built, and exactly how it is going up has become increasingly apparent with each passing day.
Trees on the western side have been cleared; construction cones funnel traffic into detours, single lanes and rush-hour headaches. It sounds crazy, but project officials say they will build the western portion of the new bridge, tear down the old bridge, then complete the rest of the new one — all while keeping two lanes of traffic moving over the James until the bridge's completion in October 2013. It's really hard to picture in your mind, so we just have to trust the engineers on this one.
The Huguenot Bridge opened in 1949, the same year that Billy Joel was born, which means that, barring an unfortunate accident in the Hamptons, the Piano Man will outlast the Huguenot Bridge.
Have you seen that house on the river down there, with those Adirondack chairs right on the James' banks? Of course you've seen it. We all have, especially while sitting in traffic. Isn't that house beautiful? I want to live there.
Seriously, that house down there is so pretty! Sunsets must be gorgeous from the front lawn. And the sunrises, don't even get me started! I'd love to check out the views from that house sometime.
Men like blowing things up, so let's give them the chance. The city should hold a lottery where the winner gets to hit the detonator when it's time to implode the old bridge. We could easily raise $51 million and allay the costs of the project, plus one lucky guy would get to feel like Rambo for a few minutes.
You think maybe if I walked down to that house on the river and knocked on the door, they'd let me relax by the James for a while? Or use their boat? Assuming they have a boat. I mean, with a spot like that, you'd have to have a boat.
The new bridge will have a 12-foot-wide vehicle lane, a 10-foot-wide shoulder/bike lane, and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk in each direction. If you're slow in math, I've already done it for you: The new bridge will be 750 feet wide.
The removal of trees has led to some temporary displacement of the wildlife that relies on the trees and water as their habitat. I checked it out, and it's pretty sad: I did not find a single alligator or koala living in the area.
If the owners of that house are reading this, please call me! I have a quick question about house-sitting opportunities.