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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This Bridge Is One Nutty Idea

I've heard of animal underpasses like the one they're building on Snoqualmie Pass to keep deer, moose, elk and other critters off the freeway, but this is something else entirely.

This picture (courtesy of the Associated Press) is of the 'Nutty Narrows Bridge' for squirrels in Longview, WA. A ceremony was held yesterday to mark the re-opening of the bridge, after it was closed for a while for maintenance (what kind of maintenance does a squirrel bridge require??). The ceremony included speeches, a reverend to bless the bridge, cheerleaders, a ribbon cutting and a release of doves.

Don't worry, the event wasn't bankrolled by the Department of Transportation. Instead, it was planned by the Longview Sandbaggers Club, a group known for elaborate jokes. Following the ceremony, they celebrated at a local hotel with cake and squirrel-themed cocktails, which I'd like to know more about.

The City of Longview was in on it though. Parks Department workers attached the bridge to trees on opposite sides of busy Olympia Way using a cherry picker. Longview's Mayor said the bridge was built in 1963 by a local builder who “saw the carnage and destruction of our furry friends” and wanted to provide them safe passage above the busy street.

Hmmm... all of a sudden my idea for getting burn barrels at local bus stops in the winter doesn't seem like such a nutty idea.

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Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization (KMPO) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Kootenai County, Idaho. Federal law requires urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people to have an MPO. KMPO was formed in 2003, to provide coordinated transportation planning within Kootenai county for the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and the Coeur d'Alene tribe.

KMPO's Board of Directors oversees KMPO for Kootenai County, ID. KMPO's Executive Director and Staff are responsible for day-to-day operational and administrative needs.