Editor's Note: This story was part of a News 11 Special Report: From Tragedy to Triumph: the Veteran's Glass City Skyway.
"This roadway surface will last about 50 years, before we have to do anything to it," said Andrea Voogd of the Ohio Department of Transportation. It's another cold Friday afternoon for Voogd as she eases an ODOT van onto the approach to the Skyway.
Inside are half-a-dozen people enjoying the weekly tour that, over the course of the project, became so wildly popular ODOT had to stop publicizing it. Word of mouth was more than enough. "If you look at this doorway right here, you can see down into this side of the main pylon," said Voogd.
What they're experiencing, and what we're able to take you along for is something that can never be repeated with the bridge open. It's a once-in-a-lifetime perspective, because once the cars start moving, the only view will be at traffic speed.
And below the surface is another world. "Are you an Ohio State fan or a Michigan fan?" Voogd quipped as a tour participant crawled down a ladder into the pylon. "That will depend on whether we leave you down there or not," she said.
She took the group inside the hollow building blocks that make up the bridge. Pre-cast concrete segments, over 3,000 of them, each carefully numbered for assembly and even stamped with a"born on" date.
"That segment was born November 14th of 2003," said Voogd as she pointed at the wall. "Now this gentleman here is standing inside segment four. And that was born on November 12th of 2003."
Before climbing the ladder back out, the tourists take a magic marker and sign their names. A little lasting legacy that will still be there after any of us are long gone. Back up top, a couple of pictures to freeze this moement of personal history... and a few thoughts about how something so breathtakingly monumental will change not only the skyline, but the very image of Toledo.
"I'll tell you what, it's a marvel. To anyone who's every tried to build anything in their back yard it just blows you away, ss far as I'm concerned," said one tourist. "I had no idea what all this was going to entail when they was talking about it. It's really something," said another.
What's been accomplished here is beyond anything even imagined before and it forever transforms the way downtown Toledo looks and maybe even the way the city looks at itself. It's as much a work of art as it is an engineering masterpiece.