Songs that make you smile!
The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge connects the downtown and Charlestown areas of Boston, carrying the city’s Central Artery over the Charles River near its mouth. Designed by Swiss bridge architect Christian Menn to be a signature Boston landmark, the bridge opened in 2002 as part of the Central Artery/Tunnel project (the “Big Dig”), which put the busy downtown traffic corridor underground and created 27 new acres of land.
The bridge is named for the late civil rights champion Lenny Zakim, Executive Director of the New England Region of the Anti-Defamation League, who tirelessly dedicated his short but intense life to building bridges between Boston’s religious, cultural, and ethnic groups.
Carrying ten lanes of traffic, it is the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world. (“Cable-stayed” means the cables fan out in straight lines directly from the support towers down to the road, rather than hang vertically side-by-side from a U-shaped support cable as on a suspension bridge.) Extensive computer simulation at every step allowed engineers to build the sleekest possible bridge while maintaining its ability to carry a full-load traffic jam – in a wind storm, during an earthquake! The top of each inverted-Y tower is shaped like the nearby Bunker Hill Monument, and the sail-shaped fans of cables are reminiscent of Boston’s maritime history – in particular, the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) which is permanently docked in Charlestown, a half mile from the bridge. The 116 cables and twin towers are illuminated at night by concealed lights, giving the bridge a dramatically different but equally magnificent look in the night cityscape.
Created, sung, produced, and engineered by Suzanne Niles
Electric guitar played by Bill Scheniman
Recorded at Songwaves Music, Carlisle Massachusetts, May 2001
Thanks to Dr. James Maas (my collaborator on Remmy and the Brain Train) for saying, as we drove past the almost-finished bridge, “There’s a song in there somewhere!”
© ℗ 2001 Songwaves
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