Bridge Color Web.wav
10:36PM Jan 29, 2019
Different people on the bridge
federal highway administration
Support for curious level comes from Lakshmi farms which believes in building community and expanding minds through progressive ideas, education and growing soil right here in Anchorage, Kentucky. What makes you curious about our city and the people who call it home
What makes you curious about our city and the people who call it home? Curious Louisville takes your questions and helps find the answers. Today, WFPL's Amina Elahi answers a question about the Second Street Bridge
I'm standing in front of the yum center asking people what they think about the color of the Second Street Bridge.
"I do not like the new color." "It's ugly!" "It does not go with anything." "I really like it. My wife does not like it and she claims that everyone does not like it. But I really like it." "I don't like it that much. I guess from a distance it looks nice. But if you got to drive over it every day. It kind of gives you kind of a headache just being in there." "Why yellow? Makes no sense."
My name is Allan Steinberg. My question was, why is the Second Street Bridge... George Rogers Clark Bridge... painted - I call it yellow. Who made that decision and why?
"It's a pale yellow like it's not even a lemon yellow." "Looks like construction." "Almost the color of a school bus." "The color itself is kind of a canary yellow." "I think it looks like butter."
Allan Steinberg: Maybe yellow is supposed to make people Mellow Yellow. I don't know, it's still not a color I probably would have chosen.
I went and spoke with Rebecca Metheny, who is the director of the Louisville Downtown Partnership. They are the group that was also responsible for managing the project of creating the KFC Yum Center, and the bridge painting project came about because of the arena project.
Rebecca Metheny: One of the major pedestrian entrances to the arena is the stairs and the doorway, the doorway that's right there by the Second Street Bridge.
And it was kind of dark. And I guess foreboding. I didn't live here at the time. So I don't know. But, you know, back in 2010, they said, this is not welcoming. We need to repaint it, we need to be bright and light somewhere, people will want to go.
And we were also using federal funds on this. So it also had to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
There are a number of colors that the Federal Highway Administration permits, they have to choose a light color so that they can see whether or not the bridge is rusting and whether it needs repairs or maintenance. So that's an important consideration.
We were also trying to connect the project to the rich heritage that area has as whiskey row.
And I guess they worked with a design team in New York to talk about paint colors and lighting and what might work for that underside of the bridge as well as the whole bridge itself. And that team came back and proposed this light yellow color, which they thought would be sort of bright and different and sort of pop in the landscape and would also be evocative of bourbon.
Like kind of gold tone, etc.
Didn't make that relationship at all.
"Bourbon?!" "They missed the mark on that one." "Uh uh. No. It doesn't look like bourbon." "No it does not. That's the last thing I think of when I think of that." "Bourbon has a goldish brownish tone." "That can't be a person from Kentucky."
I have a friend who has a golden retriever. And his name is Bourbon And it's very smart dog winning all kinds of awards. And so now when I think of the bridge I'm going to think of this dog Bourbon. So then yes, it might have a bourbon connection now.
We've created that connection for you!
Right! Think of the Golden Retriever.
You also asked about the paint color name
I asked Rebecca about that as well and I was hoping it would have some sort of nice, you know, "sunshine," you know, something like that. It turns out the names that the Federal Highway Administration uses for it's approved paint colors are not very lovely. It was something she couldn't remember the exact name, but it was something like
Federal standard beige number, you know, whatever.
2347, you know, is some sort of thing like that. So, yeah, not very inspiring, unfortunately.
Does not sound like Benjamin Moore. This is a very standard approved FHWA color and it's got a name just like that. That's exactly right.
I have very good friends. They're intelligent and good people. And they said it's kind of growing on them. And I don't know if they mean like a fungus. But I think they mean they're getting accustomed to it. So and even my brother Sonny, he said, Well, it's not that bad.
Did you say your brother's name is "sunny!?"
Yes. Oh! Wow. That is great! (laughter)
That is so great!
You are very good! That is great I didn't even think of that. You're very astute. (laughter)
The question for this story came from Allan Steinberg It was reported by Amina Elahi and produced by me, Laura Ellis. Don't forget, you can ask a question of your own at curiouslouisville.org.
You know what? Yellow might not be so bad!