A Bridge To Somewhere 2.0

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Fifty years ago, Pontiac Township was a sleepy place.  Few could have envisioned its growth and transformation into a municipal powerhouse.  A perfect storm of factors led to the City of Auburn Hills becoming Michigan’s automotive R&D hub.

The construction of I-75 made this once remote boon docks into an accessible land of economic opportunity.  Within a few months, the University Drive bridge over the freeway – a gateway to phenomenal progress in the 1980’s and 90’s – will be closed and replaced with a new and better model … bridge 2.0 – “the diverging diamond”.  The old structure stood for a half century, although its last decade of life has been a struggle to say the least.  Were you around when it first opened?  If so, you’ve seen a lot of history.  It became a bridge to somewhere in the middle of what was nowhere.

I wonder if the people who designed and constructed that old bridge thought about 2015 and its replacement, or what would become of this once sleepy town.  Maybe they figured we would be traveling with flying cars by now like the Jetsons?

Below are some aerial photos that captured history:

1963

1963

1980

1980

1990

1990

2000

2000

2014

2014

Most of us probably won’t be around to see University Drive Bridge 3.0 when its built some fifty years from now.  I find myself wondering what will become of this “awakened” City of Auburn Hills in 2065 and beyond.  Something tells me it will be something very different, better, and stronger.  Alive and full of life.