Ahh...the Broadway bridge, I know thee well. I traveled this bridge every day to go to school...each side reduced to one lane so the little men in little white suits could scrape the lead paint off the bridge and paint it a chipper color of gray. I do believe this task took the 3 years I was in school.
Now, I frequent this bridge during my commute to and from work. Because I work the night shift, I am always going against traffic...so I smirk as I see the long procession of cars as they are racing at 20 miles an hour to get to work. Within the last year or so, we have been seeing improvements along the Broadway bridge extension. Weeds cut down to make way for wildflowers. Ooooh! A retaining wall with trees. Ahhhh! Two large concrete columns on each end of the Broadway extension. Huh??? For everytime I drove past the columns, my mind wondered with possibilities as to what the columns were for...digital Scout sign announcing the traffic jam you were about to drive into? Some banner to display welcoming various convention go-ers? Surely such large columns would have a clear and distinct purpose.
Sometimes, I underestimate the powers-that-be who run Kansas City.
It wasn't until a write-up in the Star solved all my burning questions about the columns that plagued my mind since the construction had begun. As part of the Broadway Extension Beautification Project, these columns were to symbolize one's departing from the Northland and their arrival to downtown KC. This was such a relief to us Northlanders, because up until now, we had NO IDEA we were leaving the comfort and security of God's Country (the Northland) and entering into the Outer Darkness known as Downtown. As an added bonus, these columns light up with various colors to coordinate with the colored lights on the bridge, and these colors would sometims reflect the season (Christmas, Halloween, Chiefs Home Opener, etc). When there is no season to display one prominent color proudly, these columns display them all...which only makes it seem as though Cowtown is continually hosting a Gay Pride event.
Wow! Over a million dollars was spent on this project, so we would know we were leaving the Northland and entering Downtown. Phew!! Good thing too, because that big bridge over the Missouri River was far too vague. And that ginormous pothole on the south side of the bridge that greets you by swallowing up your car...it just doesn't express what Kansas City is about.
Apparently, lit up columns do.