The McBride Viaduct

Not far from my apartment, there is a short bridge known as the McBride Viaduct.  The viaduct connects the east side of the city (the side I live on) to the “bayfront connector”, which is an express thoroughfare with vital access to highways and interstates.

I’ve never driven on the McBride Viaduct, because it closed to traffic the week I moved here.  It was one of the first Erie news stories I was aware of.  A small but extremely vocal group of citizens insists it should stay open, while the local government insists it is unsafe (they waffle on whether it is fixable or eternally doomed).  The vocal group of dissenters will not let the issue go, often throwing rallies, taking out ads, and leaving flyers on our cars.  It has never been made clear to me why they are so concerned about the viaduct staying open.  Although I was never able to use it, I don’t see it as all too important.  There are plenty of other, convenient options for getting where we need to go.

Although it is closed to vehicle traffic, it is open to foot and bicycle use.  Kind of.  There seems to be a gentleman’s agreement on that front; the city seems to indicate that they won’t police the bridge, as long as everyone understands that if they’re on it when it collapses, well…tough shit.  So of course I had to ride my bike across it.  Mom and Dad:  sorry.  I know you hate it when I ride my bike across crumbling, retired urban bridges.  Please avert your eyes.

Here’s some pictures I took on the short but very interesting journy across the bridge, which is closely lined on both sides by aging, decrepit industry, some clearly still active and others in a confusing state of blighted activity.   I actually have a whole lot more really cool pictures from this, but this entry was giving me a lot of technical difficulty, so I’m leaving it at this for now and will post more photos in a few days in a new entry.  And I just discovered something you all might have known already, but in case you didn’t: if you click on a picture, and then when it shows you the “solo” version of that picture, if you click on it again at that point, it shows you a full-screen version of it.  Which I never knew, but is awesome as that is how most of these are meant to be viewed.  After the pictures is some video I took.  It’s not that cinematic—I didn’t expect to use it for anything but once I synced it with the Explosions in the Sky song “Have You Passed Through This Night?” I just had to post it.  As far as I’ve been able to tell, it’s the only video on YouTube of the de-commisioned McBride Viaduct, so who knows, maybe I’ll get famous!

The entrance on the E. 12th St. side of the viaduct, about 5 blocks from where I live.

Me with my trusty steed


8 Responses to “The McBride Viaduct”

  1. Allison Says:

    Nice adventure! Running on bridges is something I like.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Thanks! I’m not much of a runner but I love biking on bridges, and the opportunity to bike on a bridge closed to traffic was fantastic!

  2. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    It doesn’t look unsafe, but what the hell do I know about bridge safety? So is this the bridge Neil Young is always doing fundraisers for? Lame joke.

    I’d like to watch the video, but not in 4 seconds chunks like my shithole modem is dictating.

    It seems like one of those things you just have to do. Everyone says you shouldn’t but you do it anyway. A great way to reaffirm your mortality, assuming you survive.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      haha dude…how much rebar has to be showing through the concrete for you to think a bridge is unsafe?

  3. I am going to bring my bike along next week. We can do some biking.
    What I find amazing in this story is that there are protesters against closing this bridge. Seems backward to me.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Yay Momma! That would be so awesome to do some biking with you! And I know, I don’t understand why they want it to stay open when it is so obviously unsafe.

  4. cory w. Says:

    I am very confused about the protestors as well. Is there some kind of historical significance to the bridge?

    • sethdellinger Says:

      I’m kinda getting to the bottom of the issue…will have more on this in a future entry.

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