St. Louis residents were puzzled to find that construction workers paved around a parked car as they worked to reopen a bridge that had been closed off for two years.
Kingshighway Bridge was reopened on May 13 to much fanfare. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in which up to 200 people -- including a bagpiper -- paraded over the newly-paved bridge to celebrate the project's completion.
"Just as in our daily lives, these 22 months have taught us how important bridges are," 8th Ward Alderman Stephen Conway said during the event. "This bridge is a link to our past and a road to our future, and thank you for your patience."
But as the Riverfront Times noted after the grand opening, there was still some work left to do.
On May 13, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Robert Cohen tweeted a picture of a blue car that had been parked in the street while workers paved the north end of the bridge.
"Appears this car got in the way of final paving for today's opening of Kingshighway Bridge," Cohen wrote alongside the image.
Since no one had put up "no parking" signs, the car was parked legally and could not be towed away. So the construction personnel worked around it instead, leaving a swath of unpaved road beneath the car.
JB Anderson, whose bar/recording studio is located in the immediate vicinity, said the gaffe is consistent with the project as a whole.
"I looked at it, and it’s just so indicative of the project," he told the Riverfront Times. "The paving company was probably on a fire drill to get it done before Saturday morning."
Not long after the opening ceremony, Anderson said the vehicle's owner came back to retrieve it.
"A guy dropped her off, pulled up in front of the car, and she kind of got out and stared at it," he explained. "Then she drove away in what appeared to be mild embarrassment."
"My guess is that it was a patron of our bar who couldn’t drive, didn’t want to drive, whatever it might have been," he added.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, has since contacted the Riverfront Times to clarify what happened.
"I was flying back from a trip and my plane was delayed, and I was supposed to meet my boyfriend and some friends for drinks," she explained. "We took separate cars because I was coming straight from the airport."
When she and her boyfriend left later that night, they decided to carpool.
"We do that all the time in St. Louis, just leave your car, come back the next day," she said. "It's not a big deal."
Describing the ordeal as "absurd," the woman said she would never have parked in that spot if she had known the road was being paved the following morning.
"We were both like, 'This is ridiculous, this would only happen in St. Louis,'" she said. "Obviously, I wouldn’t have parked there if there would have been a sign. That they would not even take the time to block off the street, or put up a sign saying, 'We're paving the road,' and instead they would just pave around an entire vehicle? It's just absurd."