It's a battle nobody wants to win!

They are among the most, if not the most, recognizable landmarks in the entire Columbia Basin region. Yes, I'm talking about the bridges of Tri-Cities; the Blue and Cable. Thousands of people traverse across the bridges to get to work, school, doctors' appointments, gym visits and so, so much more. Without these bridges, Tri-Cities wouldn't be as interwoven and connected as it is. That being said, can't a man whine about them? So let's split some hairs!

Up first:

The Blue Bridge

Getty Images, Canva
Getty Images, Canva
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The Pioneer Memorial Bridge, known to the locals as the Blue Bridge, took nearly three years to build. The Green Bridge had been struggling to keep up with the increasing traffic after World War II and so the Blue Bridge, originally painted green, was built. The Blue Bridge has some good qualities. First of all, it's functional. If it weren't there, living in Kennewick while working in Pasco would be difficult for me to do. I think aesthetically, it is majestic in a way. When I look at the Blue Bridge from my deck or close to where I work, I can't help but be awestruck. The flag on the top really ties the whole look together, and I enjoy the late 1940s architectural design. The Blue Bridge is also on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, believe it or not.

Photo by Gabriel Sanchez on Unsplash
Photo by Gabriel Sanchez on Unsplash
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Here's what I hate about the Blue Bridge. First of all, just like with the Green Bridge, I don't think the Blue Bridge will be able to keep up with the amount of traffic it gets. Despite having four lanes, traffic congestion is a daily certainty. The way that the bridge slopes upward can make for some really bad fender benders when visibility isn't great. I'm not saying the Blue Bridge is a death trap, but members of my family have said that. Other issues I have with the Blue Bridge have less to do with the bridge itself and more to do with the surrounding area. These grievances include the lack of a left-turn lane and left-turn light at the 28th and Lewis intersection and the hectic merges on either side of the bridge.

The Cable Bridge

Getty Images, Canva
Getty Images, Canva
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The Ed Hendler Bridge, lovingly referred to as the Cable Bridge, was built in 1978 to replace the Green Bridge, which would later be demolished in 1990. There's actually a piece of the Green Bridge that remains above water, as an add-on to the Cable that acts as a lookout.

Library of Congress
The Green Bridge as seen from the Cable Bridge (Library of Congress)
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The Cable Bridge is perhaps the most beloved of the two big bridges (Tri-Cities has 7 major ones) and its iconography can be seen in various logos around town. There is even a Zip's Drive-In that goes by "Zip's by the Cable Bridge." When it was built, the Cable Bridge was the first one of its kind to be built in the United States. This cable-stayed bridge has guided Tri-Citians between Kennewick and Pasco since 1978. If you can believe it, the community freaked out at the thought of lights on the bridge. The lights were installed in 1999, and every evening until 2 AM the Cable Bridge casts a beautiful shine of illumination across the Columbia River.

Photo by Emmanuel Munoz on Unsplash
Photo by Emmanuel Munoz on Unsplash
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Here's my grief with the Cable Bridge. First of all, the bridge has a slower speed limit than the Blue Bridge. Look, it makes sense for the most part. The Cable Bridge, unlike the Blue Bridge, is connected to city streets, not highways. I just want to drive 55 miles per hour on it and it's illegal to do so. The biggest problem I have with this bridge is the location, which leads to big traffic jams in Kennewick and Pasco. Cars wrap all the way down Lewis Street and Gum Street during the work commutes. I think in a match-up to determine the worst of the bridges, the Blue Bridge wins hands down. The traffic congestion is much more severe, the low visibility can lead to accidents, and the fact that it's old and probably working too hard carrying our ballooning population leads me to believe a new bridge should be on our local councils' collective minds.

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