Last week we visited the Kinzua Bridge State Park, near Kane.
The bridge was built in 1882 as a railroad bridge. It was the tallest bridge in the world when it was built.
The bridge was destroyed in 2003 when high winds and tornadoes went through. The mid-section was torn away and still lies, twisted and rusted, at the bottom of the valley.
Last year a replacement bridge was built. It is meant only for foot traffic and it does not stretch across the valley as the railroad bridge had done. And, it isn’t as tall as the former bridge.
At the end of the new bridge, glass panels have been installed so that tourists can walk onto the glass and view the valley below. But from what I saw when we were there, few tourists felt comfortable doing that. Most people questioned the safety of walking on the glass. Others expressed concern about the uncomfortable feeling they had when they looked down into the valley 700 feet below.
We had three dogs with us, on leashes. We wondered how the valley view in the observation platform would affect them. None of the dogs were the least bit concerned about it. They walked right over it with no qualms at all.
I knew the glass was completely safe to walk on, and I did walk on it, but I admit, it did make for an uncomfortable feeling when I could see how far above the valley I was.
Something that I liked knowing is that within a few weeks of the bridge being blown down, new growth began because now the valley wasn’t in the shadow of the bridge. New plant growth brought in more animals from the surrounding area. The valley is richer now because of the tornado that went through there. Local animals and plant life are happier. I like knowing how the earth renews itself after destruction.
But tourists don’t visit the site as much as they did before the bridge was destroyed.