Alonzo Mather, we need you! He was a "visionary" in the true sense of the word in 1893 and I only wish he could be here now in light of all the bridge schemes that have surfaced in the last few years, lacking in the most fundamental energy devices. If he was here he would probably be appalled at the lack of vision in the design of the so-called "signature bridges" not taking advantage of the natural resources we have here to generate power. Electricity was in it's infancy then, and even Tesla's power plant at Niagara Falls was 3 years in the future when Mather saw a great potential right at Buffalo's doorstep. Especially now when we have more diverse technologies at our fingertips like wind, solar, thermo-electric and many types water generators at our disposal.
It is an embarrassment to our generation of "green energy" enthusiasts to build a bridge that is not self-supporting energy wise. Think about it. There is an inexhaustible supply of fast moving water under the bridge; an unobstructed exposure to sunlight, and wind uninhibited by obstructions over the water. One couldn't have dreamed up a better scenario for energy generation! Yet all anyone can come up with is "just make it look pretty".
You can design solar power into the bridge, wind energy generators that are aesthetically pleasing and various types of current generators in the water. When the sun goes down, the wind and water would work, and if the wind wasn't blowing the water would still be going under the bridge, and if the water wasn't going under the bridge ...well... then we probably have bigger problems to worry about anyways. A bridge will be "Signature" not because it's "pretty" (though it can be) but because it's practical. Not only making power for it's own use but selling excess back to the power companies. Throw in a fuel cell and thermo-electric generator for good measure and you will have a signature bridge unlike any other. Also, using LED lighting, an energy surplus would most certainly be guaranteed.
The technology is here, USE IT!
Update 6/26/2012 The Peace Bridge Project has been put on hold for the foreseeable future if not permanently.
READ - MATHER'S SIGNATURE BRIDGE
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