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Calls for "modern practices" to fix Lincoln Highway Bridge
November 3, 2017

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Letter to the Editor:

The Lincoln Highway Bridge was built in 1915. The Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental highway, from New York to San Francisco. The Lincoln Highway was the pet project of the automobile industry and to a lesser degree the concrete industry, to get more and better roads across America, in turn they sold more cars (and concrete), it was all financial to them. Tama was pleased and wanted the highway to come through here so it would bring business from travelers, and allow for small businesses and farmers to get to markets by better roads. From what I understand the state built the bridge and the businesses of Tama only bought the decorative railing.

The sad part of the deal is that Tama only had the Lincoln Highway for 11 years and then they were bypassed. There went the travelers and business.

The Lincoln Highway Bridge was solely a profit enhancing venture at the time. It was a short lived payoff, then Tama got bypassed.

The "parents" of Tama were efficient, economically minded people. I imagine the businesses of that day were a little bitter at the highway for bypassing them. Same as it is today when a four lane bypasses our towns. I imagine today if you asked the parents what they would do- they would set their decorative rails in a nice place, do some landscaping around them, then fix the road and bridge the best way modern practices can do it, whether it is a box culvert or whatever. Then they would do something that would legitimately bring money to the small businesses within their own city, they would wait for a true investment, not sentimental projects just because they had some extra money. If the bridge actually brought business to downtown Tama that would be great, but the sad fact is, it doesn't. It's a piece of history, it needs to be honored, but there comes a time to move on. The rails belong in a museum beside the Ford Model T's it was built for. The parents of Tama were future minded people. That's what we should be today. You fix that bridge, expect to do it again. The fact of the matter is, we don't have horseless carriages anymore, we have 18 wheelers and gooseneck trailers, and the businesses that make Tama what it is need highways that big trucks can function on. Preparing for the future and supporting current businesses was what the parents of Tama did, and what should be done today.

Just because you can afford something doesn't mean you have to do it. There will be a day when you need the money you spent on feel-good projects.

Adam Todd

Rural Tama

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