Thursday, June 29, 2006

I wish I had one of those hats!

It's 1956 and, by golly, Missouri is going to be the first to start building an Interstate Highway. The guys in suits are standing next to US 40 in St. Charles, just west of St. Louis. They are at what is now the I-70 and 5th Street interchange.

The first contract for an Interstate was for a section of I-44 to replace US 66 in SW Missouri.

The first completed section was a stretch of I-70 in Kansas.

The image below is the Google Map of the area today. St. Charles (City and County) are to the left of the Missouri River. St. Louis County is to the right. The interchange is I-70 and 5th Street. That big thing that looks as if it were going to eat the two bridges is a casino.

The photo below shows I-70 westbound heading out of St. Louis County and into St. Charles County. These are the two bridges on the Google image above.

Oddly enough, and this is where this post is going, the two bridges are called "The Blanchette Bridge" -- I have no idea who Blanchette was or why the bridge/bridges were named after him (or her), or why the plural of "bridges" is not used. In true MODOT fashion, there are no signs that I've see that say "Blanchette Bridge." This does not stop the local traffic reporters from always calling it by name, of course, as in "Traffic is dead stopped all the way to the Blanchette Bridge."

It is actually the "Blanchette Memorial Bridge" but I'm not one to be picky. What you see above is the busiest section of highway in Missouri, a real tribute to Blanchette, whomever he or she might be.

2 comments:

Ranea said...

Traffic sucks but those hats are pretty nifty!
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I wonder what they did with the really big sign.

Jeff said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Blanchette

There originally was one bridge that carried all of the traffic. They were forced to build another, but we simple folk still referred to the entire deal as THE bridge just like we refer to a separate highway as 40 instead of 64. Now pass the muskacholi!
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I activated the link -- so Blanchette has been dead for 213 years, oddly that's the average time to cross those bridges at rush hour, odd how some people achieve immortality