What is a Bridge? Bethlehem Edition I

I was in the midst of trying to understand what is a viaduct when I traveled to Bethlehem, PA, with my family. One of our activities was to explore the bridges (see also Cage-free Bridges). As we walked the Hill-to-Hill Bridge, my initial reaction was “now here is a viaduct.” I hadn’t reached the point of developing a semi-clear definition for viaduct but looking at the flat roadbed supported by multiple arches over the floodplain, viaduct seemed the most appropriate word for the structure.

As we kept walking, it turned out that the viaduct was only a portion of the Hill-to-Hill Bridge. In fact, it would be more appropriately called the Hill-to-Hill-to-Hill-to-Hill Bridge. There are two approaches to the main span on the south end and three on the north end, including the viaduct and one approach permanently closed to through traffic. When the bridge was built in 1924, there were a total of seven approaches at various points along the main span. With so many components, this structure brings me back to the question of how many is one bridge?

Unlike when I asked this question of the 30th and 31st Street bridges in Pittsburgh, here the main bridge, the intersecting viaduct, and the numerous connections seem to be considered one bridge. They are together called the Hill-to-Hill Bridge while the structure in Pittsburgh has three distinct names (including River Avenue Ramp). Perhaps the deciding factor in whether it is one or more bridges is the original intent. The Hill-to-Hill Bridge was designed as a multifaceted structure whereas the 30th and 31st Street bridges were developed independently.

The best indication of the original intent seems to be the name. The Hill-to-Hill Bridge has a single name whereas the 30th and 31st Street bridges have separate names. The other examples I looked at in 2012 were the Veterans Bridge (Pittsburgh), the Fort Duquesne Bridge (Pittsburgh), and what I called the Jubilee Bridge (London).

The Veterans Bridge joins three approaches into one bridge, all under a single name. Therefore, it is one bridge, not three.

The pedestrian walkway of the Fort Duquesne Bridge was built decades after the vehicular portion but does not have a separate name. Therefore, it is one bridge, not two.

What I called the Jubilee Bridge (despite the photo I took at the time of the dedication plaque stating otherwise) is actually called the Golden Jubilee Bridges. While these bridges share the support structure of the underground’s Hungerford Bridge due to concerns about unexploded WWII bombs in the area, they have separate names. Therefore, it is three bridges, not one nor two.

Other posts in this series:

What is a Bridge? Pittsburgh Edition I (July 18, 2012)

What is a Bridge? Pittsburgh Edition II (July 27, 2012)

What is a Bridge? Chicago Edition I (April 18, 2013)

What is a Bridge? Chicago Edition II (February 1, 2020)

What is a Bridge? Bethlehem Edition II (July 15, 2020)

Waterloo Bridge: The Finest Non-inspiration

To pick up where I left off with the London bridges I walked earlier this year, the next bridge is Waterloo Bridge.  (The last one I discussed was Jubilee Bridge on July 10.)  The Waterloo Bridge was the most boring bridge in London, though I didn’t realize it at the time.  When I got home however, I realized I only took two pictures from it and hadn’t taken any of the bridge itself.  The picture above was one I took from the Jubilee Bridge to show the downriver view from the bridge, which happens to include the Waterloo Bridge.

I was expecting that the London Bridge would be boring.  Sometime before my trip, I mistakenly identified the Tower Bridge as the London Bridge.  The discussion that ensued, in which I was corrected, led me to believe that the London Bridge was plain and uninteresting and as such, I was not the first to mistake the Tower Bridge for it.  While the London Bridge itself was boring and like the Waterloo Bridge lacked the colors and sculpture found on the other bridges (see the examples of the Albert Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge), it there were many interesting things to see from the London Bridge.  While crossing the Waterloo Bridge, I was only inspired to take shots of the downriver and upriver views.

The most interesting thing to note about these views, is in comparing the downriver view from the Jubilee Bridge with the downriver view from the Waterloo Bridge (pictured above) it appears that the new buildings are pushing the classical buildings such as St. Paul’s out of the frame.

When I come across a situation like this, where there isn’t much to say from my experience, I turn to the internet to give me something to fill out with.  I found two intriguing bits in my Google search.  First is that while I found the views from Waterloo Bridge uninspiring, Wikipedia suggests that the views of the city from this bridge “are widely held to be the finest from any spot at the ground level.”  The second is that Hollywood has made two films called “Waterloo Bridge” in 1931 and 1940 in which the main characters meet on the Waterloo Bridge.  The interesting part is that the movie Production Codes changed in between which resulted in two fairly different films–the first about a scarlet woman accidentally killed, the second about a proper woman who commits suicide to save the man she loves from scandal.