A motorist who asks for directions from a Zanesville, Ohio, resident might hear something like, “Go to the middle of the Y-Bridge and turn left.” After a visibly confused motorist leaves, the local resident might be sporting a big grin because after all, turning left in the middle of a bridge isn’t something you do very often.
Another conundrum of Zanesville’s Y-bridge is that after crossing it, motorists might find themselves on the same side of the river they were on before they crossed the bridge, but of course that depends on which river they were crossing.
Early travelers needed a way to cross the confluence of the Licking and Muskingum rivers while traveling to other nearby settlements. This transportation requirement gave birth to a one-of a-kind-bridge constructed in the shape of a very large letter “Y.” It first opened to traffic in 1814. Today, the Y-Bridge, which is in its fifth iteration, is still serving motorists going east and west on US Route 40. Eastbound motorists on Route 40 who need to cross the Licking, but not the Muskingum River, turn left at mid-bridge onto Linden Avenue.
Zanesville’s Y-Bridge is one of the most popular points of interest for modern-day travelers retracing America’s Historic National Road. The best vantage point for observing the Y-Bridge is from Zanesville’s Putnam Park Overlook. Find more information here.