What’s up with all the ‘W’s on the Milton-Madison Bridge?

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By Dave Taylor

Recently I have heard some rumblings about a contest to name the new version of the Milton-Madison Bridge.

We’ve always called the current Milton-Madison Bridge the “Milton-Madison Bridge.”

That is, unless you are a died-in-the-wool Indiana resident who hates anything blue and white or anything associated with Kentucky and the proliferation of Wildcat memorabilia everywhere. THOSE people insist on calling it the “Madison-Milton Bridge.”

I’m sure THEY are mad that the replacement effort has been called the “Milton-Madison Bridge Project.”

As far as I’m concerned the new bridge should retain the name “Milton-Madison Bridge.” If THEY don’t like it THEY can get in their cars and trucks and JUST GET OVER IT!

I’m surprised somebody years ago didn’t name it the “Big W Bridge.”

Have you ever noticed how many “Dubyas” are incorporated into the overhead lattices of the truss system? Did it ever dawn on you as you traversed the span?

No, former President George “Dubya” Bush didn’t design the bridge. He wasn’t even born yet.

I was joking with Walsh Construction Project Manager Charlie Gannon recently about all those Dubyas.

“Let me ask you a stupid question,” I said.

“There are no stupid questions, “ he said.

“Okay, then here goes. Since the J.G. White Company built this bridge originally did they put all those Dubyas up there as their logo?”

“You’re right, there are stupid questions,” he chuckled. “No, I doubt if that was in their thinking but it is an interesting coincidence, I guess.”

“Let me ask you this. Since it is now Walsh Construction Company building the new bridge are we going to see Dubyas all over the new one?”

Gannon said there would be very little lattice work in the trusses on the new bridge.

“Those designs in the overhead lattice work were all about strengthening the truss system and had nothing to do with logos or advertising,” Gannon said.

Hmmmm, Dubya.

Why didn’t the designer invert them and make them all “M”s? You know, for Milton-Madison?

Thinking back to my days of the late Dave Stewart’s mechanical drafting class in the old halls of Trimble I recalled that in architectural and mechanical lettering the letter W is the strongest in the alphabet. The letter I displaces one spacing unit. The letter W displaces eight units. All other letters in the alphabet are five-unit letters except the letters found in the name of a little fat guy by the name of TOM Q. VAXY. All the letters in his name have six units.

So we’re back to Dubya, strongest letter in the alphabet.

Why didn’t somebody name the bridge the “Big W Bridge?”

After all, Louisville has the famous “Big Four Bridge,” although I’ve never seen 4s emblazoned all over it. That bridge actually got its name from the defunct Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, which was nicknamed the “Big Four Railroad.”

After all of this stewing over the Dubyas in the trellises I’m convinced we need to keep the name Milton-Madison Bridge.

By the way, in case you never counted there are 18 Dubyas  suspended in steel above the roadway of the Milton-Madison Bridge.