Where's our $240 Million?
WisDOT official defends spending $240 M to store snow on the Hoan by singing, ‘Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.’
The controversy erupted after a Milwaukee paper printed a story comparing the Golden Gate Bridge to the Hoan. The State, under mounting public pressure, is studying the feasibility of adding a bike path to the deck of the Hoan, but is reluctant to surrender any of the bridge deck area, 30% of which is unused, reserving that area for snow. 'Our drivers love the white stuff,' the official said, 'We wish it snowed year round.'
The story noted that the Golden Gate carries the same number of lanes as the Hoan, plus, not one but, two shared-use paths, engineering all this within a space that’s 24 feet narrower than the Hoan bridge deck; winter weather was identified as the only significant difference. In response to the specifics of the story, the WisDOT official nervously remarked, 'That "24" must be a misprint.'
Upon hearing of the debate surrounding the Hoan and the story comparing the two bridges, the director of the Golden Gate Bridge District, which owns and manages the bridge, was asked to comment, ‘All we have are earthquakes out here.’ The director, a Wisconsin native, went on to say that this story has made her a little homesick, and that the district is now considering closing one of their bike paths ‘just around the holidays’ and filling it with trucked-in Sierra snow, ‘for the enjoyment of passing motorists.’
The $240 M figure was based on 30% of an estimated $800 M replacement cost (2009 DOT estimate) of the roughly two-mile Hoan. When asked about global warming and how this might impact future capabilities to seasonally store snow on the bridge, the WisDOT official replied, ‘Obviously, at that point we'd reassess how best to use the Hoan's extra deck space--possibly an indoor water park.’