Tuesday, April 11, 2006

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

On April 5 I posted about the Dearborn Street bridge. I said that I did not like the bridge and thought that the bridge houses were ugly. I was surprised to see that the American Institute of Steel Construction had given the bridge an award.

Today I walked from Merchandise Mart again. I took a different route. Some of the pics are on waylafoto. However, today I took the Wabash bridge. You know, just to mix things up. Lo and behold, the Wabash Street bridge had this plaque on it:



It says that the American Institute of Steel Construction awards the 1930 award for most beautiful steel bridge to the Wabash bridge. It seemed suspicious to me that the same group gave the same award to the two bridges. Especially since the Wabash bridge is not, objectively speaking, beautiful:



It appears that the American Institute of Steel Construction is a legitimate organization (as opposed to an organization of the Bridgeport Regular Democrats Club, or something). It also appears that they have turned over bridge judging to another group. The National Steel Bridge Alliance seems more likely to understand what "beautiful" for a bridge means.

Or so I thought. In 1996 they gave an award for the Pulaski Street overpass on the Stevenson Expressway. In 1998 they gave an award to the refurbished Madison Street overpass on the Kennedy Expressway. In 2000 they have the Damen Avenue bridge an award. In 2001 the Damen Avenue overpass on the Stevenson received an award. Jeez, three overpasses and a decent looking bridge?

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