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Paul Rolly: Visit cool Utah bridge, but don't fall through the cracks

Published May 14, 2014 7:57 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The new $587,000 suspension bridge — pushed by former West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder to mark the crossing of the Jordan River by Mormon pioneers settling the valley's west side — will be dedicated May 31.

But if you visit the bridge, don't ride your scooter across it, or take a wheelchair, or a stroller, or skates, or, especially, a bike. And if the same bridge had been there when the pioneers it honors wanted to cross, their handcarts would have been an issue.

Anything with wheels on that bridge could fall into the abyss, so to speak. The 12-inch planks have wide gaps between them the entire length of the bridge.

Winder was the most enthusiastic cheerleader for the bridge, which spans the Jordan River from the Jordan River Parkway and takes visitors to the Utah Cultural Celebration Center on the other side.

A Mormon history buff, he wanted an iconic pioneer symbol to tie into the cultural center, which celebrates the Salt Lake Valley's ethnic groups.

It was designed by the West Valley City Engineering Division and built by Wadsworth Construction. The Utah Legislature kicked in about half the cost and Salt Lake County contributed land around it for a commemorative park.

Crews rushed to finish the job in December before Winder left office.

Laura Hanson, executive director of the Jordan River Commission, says the suspension bridge, designed to sway when crossing the river, was intended as more of a monument than a transportation route. She noted visitors can use alternate trails from the parkway to the cultural center.

But it is a walking bridge and is already being used as such.

One more caution: It might be better to carry your dog across the bridge. Fido's paws could get stuck.

A family affair • A granite plaque adorns the bridge and includes historical inscriptions noting the significance of that particular crossing to the pioneers. It was done as an Eagle Scout project by the former mayor's son, Michael Winder.

Action-packed scriptures • Mike Winder's passion for history, particularly religious themes, can be seen in his newly published book: "Guy Stuff in the Scriptures."

Winder says the book draws from stories in the Bible and the signature LDS scripture, the Book of Mormon. It's a fun book, he adds, that weaves scriptural events and icons into modern comparisons.

A news release promoting the book says it contains "gripping adventures, entertaining asides, and, well, the stuff that guys really like." It has "everything from weapons and gadgets to food and fortune to humor and science and on to epic battles of good vs. evil."

Busted • You would think that if you worked for the Utah Department of Transportation, you would know that speeding, tailgaiting and darting through traffic without using a turn signal were illegal and dangerous.

But not the driver of the new White Ford 4-door Crossover — ID No. 200019 15571 63.

It was seen last Friday, at 7 a.m., northbound on 2000 East in Sandy from 9400 South all the way to Interstate 215, according to my reader spy.

What's in a name? Just wondering if Cliven Bundy is any relation to Ted Bundy.

Any good genealogists out there?

prolly@sltrib.com