The old county jail had its bridge of sighs, but now Pittsburgh has a bridge of whys.
The Fort Duquesne Bridge is being repainted — over the next two years. Why does it take so longâ¢ It only took two years to build PNC Park.
Or why is the job going to cost $15 millionâ¢ Are they going to leave it spanning the Allegheny River, or just hang it at the Carnegie Museum of Art?
And why was it designed by homicidal maniacsâ¢ Driving west across the bridge, trying to go right, you have to swerve to your right and pray that a Chevy Suburban isn’t thundering up from the 10th Street Bypass right into your blind spot.
Ditto going from the Bypass and trying to turn left.
And what does that sign mean?
Heading back across the bridge to Downtown, drivers pass a strange hieroglyph. My first guess was that it was like the symbol a popular singer used. Those of us who drive that way often began to think the project was being run by “the highway department formerly known as PennDOT.”
If you actually try to figure the symbol out, you’re more likely than not to end up driving off into Point State Park.
That’s because, when you’re nearing the end of the bridge, you have only a split second before your trip to the Strip District becomes a detour to Squirrel Hill, or your attempt to reach Dormont leaves you wandering forever in the outer reaches of Bloomfield.
Ah, but how else could things have turned out on “the Bridge to Nowhere”?
Construction on the Fort Duquesne started in 1961, but — can you believe this in Pittsburghâ¢ — various blunders and squabbles delayed completion. For a half-dozen years, the bridge loomed unfinished over the North Shore, giving it its moniker.
Only slowly was the bridge completed, with the final section going into place a quarter-century after the work began.
So do not ask why. “There is no why,” as Yoda might have said. There is only do, or, more likely, as this is Pittsburgh, not do.
And don’t ever, ever, wonder why two lanes of traffic were designed to merge at full speed into one.