Should We Repurpose Warships Into Roadways?

It’s a not a new idea, but it remains a fascinating one, especially as shipbuilding has become more advanced and efficient infrastructure improvements have become more imperative. In response to the passing of a new highway bill in Washington, one state representative proposes a very unique plan to build a new bridge.

Commuting Across A Couple Aircraft Carriers
Meant to connect Port Orchard to Bremerton, the new bridge would consist of two-to-three retired aircraft carriers, linked together across the Sinclair Inlet. If built, the bridge would allow motorists the unique opportunity to take their car across the carriers in what would surely be the highlight of just about any commute.

Jesse Young, the Washington State Rep who proposed the idea says the bridge would attract travelers from near and far. Young also said that carrier span would serve as a “testimony and legacy memorial to our greatest generation.”

AirBridge

Not Quite Up For Grabs
While the bridge would certainly be interesting and probably make drivers a little more willing to hand over tolls for such a unique experience, there are a few wrenches in the proposed plan. Young already has two retired aircraft carriers in mind for the project; however, the U.S. Navy has said that the vessels currently moored at Bremerton naval shipyard are unavailable for such a purpose.

One, the USS Independence is said to be destine for ship recycling in Texas later this year. The other, the USS Kitty Hawk, is functioning as a reserve until the USS Gerald Ford, a new supercarrier, is fully operational.

Even after that time, The Kitty Hawk will more likely become a museum or simply disposed of in accordance with current U.S. Navy policy.

AirBridgeMap

Will The Idea Survive?
The obstacles haven’t swayed Rep. Young, who claims he will still pursue the idea and has proposed a $90,000 feasibility study, which would be due in December of this year.  The proposal would also have to survive Washington’s upcoming 2015-17 state transportation budget negotiations and finalization.

Supporters and critics have already started voicing their reactions. Some have commended the idea for its ingenuity and traffic benefits while others see it as impractical or even laughable.

What are your thoughts on this proposal? Is this a novel and efficient approach to updating infrastructure and honoring military history, or is this an unrealistic notion that could waste considerable time and cost in the state of Washington?

If it comes to fruition, would you be eager to see and drive across an aircraft carrier bridge?

Article Sources:
http://www.popsci.com
http://nwnewsnetwork.org
http://www.washingtonpost.com

James Spader
 

Comes from a long line of American manufacturers and small business owners. His passions have always been journalism and World War II history. When not working, he enjoys cooking and competing in amateur chess tournaments.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments
Roy

While I was watching this video of these magnificent aircraft carrier ships, I was pondering this innovative proposition and I came to the conclusion that it is a brilliant idea. Not only are you recycling ships that took millions to build, but you can also create great revenue for the state by charging a toll to every vehicle passing through what would surely be a fun, amusement park like experience. People, especially tourists, would gladly pay a toll to experience what it is like to be on a U.S. aircraft carrier.

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Curtis

The fact that Washington House of Representatives state officials will spend $90,000 investigating the feasibility of building a highly unusual bridge fashioned from decommissioned aircraft carriers may seem to some like just one of many other monumental wastes of tax payer money. I’m not so sure that this will sit well with certain factions of folks. I think it’s an out – of – the – box idea and I love that sort of innovative thinking.

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Pamela

The open bride design of many WW2 would be a benefit if these vessels become bridges. Vessels designed well before the start of WW2 have this feature because it was either impractical to refit them with multiple bridges and additional control devices or they just weren’t refitted at all. They just didn’t have the money to construct all manner of fancy ships, so they just went with the simplest solution on the smaller vessels.

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Keith

I think this concept is nothing short of brilliant and resourceful. After all, many officials from many jurisdictions have already been using old ships to create or fortify existing coral reefs. Why not use ships that still float as flotillas or stand alone bridges and thereby save lots of money and resources that would have to be used to build such bridges from scratch.

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