Glenwood bridge closure a social experiment
The imminent destruction of the lifeline that connects the Interstate 70 corridor to the urban tangle known as Highway 82 conjures nightmares that haunt my daydreams. I can’t help thinking that the Grand Avenue Bridge replacement is an experiment in human nature that has far-reaching implications for all mankind.
Like a smoker who knows that those dammed cancer sticks will kill eventually, but ignores the warnings because it’s not going to happen today, the bridge destruction and its consequences may be ignored until it’s too late. Whether it’s catastrophic or a temporary blip in valley life, it may lend insight into our future as a civilization. In the abstract, the answers to the conundrums of our times could be answered as the valley enters this bridge petri dish.
Will we address climate change now, or leave it to our children? Can we learn to live with our fellow inhabitants of the planet, or live in fear of them? Can any of the myriad problems caused by our industrial consumerism ever be overcome, or will we amuse ourselves to death?
A cool 700 cars per hour have to disappear from Glenwood Springs’ roadways for 95 days. Can you leave your car behind, or will that responsibility be deferred to someone else? Will “the other guy” have to take care of it because you need your car? Is it even possible to live without the freedom of the automobile? Is it truly freedom, or are we handcuffed to it?
Unlike global warming, never-ending war or cigarettes, the bridge destruction is going to wallop Glenwood Springs upside its collective head in less than 30 days. No muss, no fuss. A social experiment of epic proportions is about to descend upon the lower valley. I fervently hope the human beings involved step up and adapt to this new reality with grace and cause my nightmarish daydreams to cease. If it goes awry, it will be the fault of those same humans.
Either way, the nature of humankind will be illustrated vividly and laid bare for better or worse. Keep your fingers crossed.
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Two Rivers Unitarian-Universalist Church, in conjunction with the Roaring Fork Valley’s Interfaith Council and Sanctuary Unidos, is showing a Zoom presentation of the documentary “Welcome Strangers” at 10 a.m. Sunday.