Sunday, November 27, 2016

New Ironton-Russell Bridge, part 4 of many

I've been in the journalism business more than four decades. My first Ohio River story for pay that I can recall was in January 1977, during the big ice buildup. In that time, several new highway bridges have opened in my part of the river. Those would be at Parkersburg-Belpre, Blennerhassett Island, Ravenswood, Pomeroy-Mason, two at Huntington, Ashland, the Greenup Locks and Dam, two at Portsmouth and one at Maysville. In all that time, I had never covered a bridge dedication and opening. I had attended three demolitions, if you count one on the Kanawha, but never an opening of a bridge on the Ohio.

Until last week, of course. Here are a few images from that rainy day. I'll spare you stuff from under the ceremony tent.

Short version of events: Classic cars gathered in Ironton for a parade. Dignitaries spoke. A ribbon was cut. Boy Scouts carried flags across the bridge as pedestrians walked across without traffic. High school bands from two states marched. The parade of classic cars accompanied the pedestrians. Soon, the bridge was closed to pedestrians so the Ohio Department of Transportation could open it to traffic.

The rain that marked the speaking let up when it came time to cut the ribbon, and it was over when people were allowed to walk the bridge. A few minutes before traffic was allowed on the bridge, the sun came out.

In one newsroom where I once worked, the standing joke for writing about these events was that we would not use a standard TV news line: And a good time was had by all. Doing that was as unforgivable as referring to snow as "the white stuff" or talking about Jack Frost. But as far as I could tell, most people had a good time.

Next: How I got a decent image when someone suggested I try an unusual angle.

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