Cracked canvas: Beta Bridge smacked by UTS bus
A University Transit Service bus driver who reportedly failed to secure the brakes on the vehicle while attending to some sort of cleaning operation resulted in extensive damage to a sidewall of historic Beta Bridge on Wednesday, October 21. The Bridge, which carries Rugby Road over the CSX railroad tracks, has long served as a canvas for student messages uttered in paint.
Moments after this photo was taken the following morning, a two-bulldozer crew from the Charlottesville Public Works Department arrived to stop traffic and–- with industrial-strength chains–- pull down the damaged section.
A photo and video captured by the Newsplex shows that the bus missed the adjacent fire hydrant (currently wearing a silver coat of paint) by what appears to be just an inch or two. The Newsplex is also the source for the cause of the crash.
According to the unofficial UVA historian Coy Barefoot, Beta Bridge got its first documented freelance paint job in 1926, three years after the steel-reinforced concrete structure was built. The current paint layers–- as revealed in the massive bus-caused crack–- appear at least two inches thick.
Most poignantly, the bridge served as a months-long condolence to Virginia Tech after the 2007 massacre on the Blackburg university's campus.