Sunday, April 30, 2017

Muscatine, IA Bridges over the Mississippi River

(1891 Bridge Hunter1972 Bridge HunterJohn A Weeks IIISatellite)

While studying the location of a couple of depots in Muscatine, IA, I noticed the Mississippi River bridge moved. It used to be an extension of Walnut Street.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
When I first saw pictures of the old bridge, I thought it was just another suspended span cantilevered truss bridge that we have now seen replaced several times. But when I read that it was built in 1891, I dug deeper.

Oscar Grossheim1909  photo from the Musser Public Library
It was built with steel cylindrical piers. But, in 1899, a crew of men and a team of horses pulling a load of logs fell 40 feet with the bridge when a piece of ice slammed into the third pier. All of the piers were rebuilt with stone from Cedar Valley, Iowa. The referenced photo shows the old steel piers. (I wonder if this was a quarry. Nature does not make 90-degree angles. There are three other "water pools" in this area along the shore of Cedar River that were probably quarries.) This 1899 collapse evidently taught engineers that steel piers should not be used in rivers because you now don't see any, even in older pictures.

Oscar Grossheim 1909 photo of the levee and High Bridge from the Musser Public Library
If you look at the Bridges--Muscatine search results, you can seem some pictures during the 1922 flood. All of this levee was covered by water because the water had been on top of the tracks at the left side of the above photo. This is a reminder that a side effect of building the dams to create a 9-foot navigation channel was to reduce the variance of the river level. This Iowa-side photo also has an elevation view of a little over half of the cantilevered span. Historic Bridges has a photo of the Illinois side of the cantilevered span.

When I read in the Bridge Hunter facts that the width of the deck was 18 feet, I checked the width of the Hummer Bridge, which I know is a scary bridge because it is skinny and high. The Hummer is 19.7 feet wide. The new bridge is also just two lanes, but its deck width is 32 feet. So I'll bet the local residents were glad to switch to the new bridge and see the skinny bridge demolished in 1973.

The 1972 Norbert F. Beckey replacement bridge has a through steel truss for the 500-foot wide navigation channel with a clearance of 65 feet. The rest of the spans are steel girders.

John A. Weeks III
Update: QC Times has 20 photos including some of the collapsed span, construction of the 1972 bridge, and demolition of the main span of the old bridge.

Electric Steel Furnace with Excessive Carbon Detonating

A 37-second video of an electric furnace operating. Be sure to play it with the audio on. There are no more bangs during the last 9 seconds so you can stop it early. I do hope Facebook doesn't fink out and later loose this video link.
This is probably one of those plants for which the electric company charges reduced fees if they agree to shutdown during a few days of the year when electricity usage is at its highest. Even in the northern states, this is during the summer when all of the air conditioners are running a significant fraction of the day. I'll bet the employees are more than glad to take the hot days off.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Big Prop Wash (and Threading a Needle)

The former CN/EJ&E Bridge over the Illinois River was very narrow. That is why these pictures show it being replaced by a bridge with a much longer lift span. While Ken was documenting the construction, he caught a couple of photos of a tow going upstream. I was surprised that the hydraulic jump caused by the propwash was so high because I had assumed that the tow would move slowly through such a tight space. They certainly enter locks moving very slowly. Then it occurred to me that it might have been moving slowly as far as the bridge was concerned because he was going upstream and the river may have had a heavy current flow. When they enter locks, they are more sheltered from the main flow of the river.

A Photo by Ken Derry
Then I saw this photo. I think this propwash is the highest that I have ever seen. The pilot probably gunned his engines when the barges cleared the bridge because he could safely go faster. Those big towboats have thousands of horsepower and making a lot of water move fast is how they translate that horsepower into kinetic energy that causes an equal and opposite force to move the tow forward.

I-90 over Cuyahoga River Valley in Cleveland, OH

(no Bridge Hunter for the 2013 bridge, 1959 Bridge Hunter, Historic BridgesSatellite)

It was called the Innerbelt Bridge, but it is now called the George V. Voinovich Bridge.

When the I-90 bridge opened to traffic on August 15, 1959, it was the widest bridge in Ohio with four lanes in each direction. It was a deck truss arch bridge. [cleveland.com1] It was recently replaced by two deck delta-girder bridges. Each new bridge has five lanes and a shoulder. Both bridges were open to traffic in September, 2016. The bridge is 136 feet over the river. [ODOT-FAQ]

First, they built a new westbound bridge...
From Google Map, Ohio DOT link is broken.
...and then they removed the old bridge so that they could build the eastbound bridge.

While the second bridge is being built, 8 lanes of traffic are being squeezed down to 6 lanes with no shoulder.
I don't know if the number of lanes in each direction was changed depending on the time of day or if they always had four lanes going west and two going east.
Once again, I can get an older image from the birds-eye view, that still shows the 1959 bridge.
Birds-Eye View
This bridge was one of the projects that Upstate Detailing worked on and they posted three photos:



An august 3, 2015 posting, this web page has other photos
[The piers are built and the deltas are started. Note the temporary top cords to use one span to balance the other until the spans are completed.]
They changed the lighting to red and green for Christmas, Cleveland Innerbelt Facebook Page.

ODOT Overview
ceacisp, there are some construction photos on this page. Some include the old bridge in the background.
[They used a barge-mounted crane to build the span over the river. In Chicago, they sometimes use a barge-mounted crane to build buildings.]

ODOT has a Flickr page of construction photos.

BNSF/CB&Q Congress Park Yard

I learned that the name of the little yard here is Congress Park Yard in the comments on the following derailment that happened on or before 1967.
This is one of eight photos posted by Mike Croy.
[There are other views of this stock car. It is the stock car itself that I find fascinating. Most photos from the 1960s are of engines, not freight cars. So I think this is the first time I have seen a quality photo of a stock car. Note the outside truss bracing and the script "Everywhere West" logo.  There are also a couple views of a Big Hook in Mike's posting.]

20161017 6305
After rail fanning for a while where BNSF/CB&Q crosses over the IHB, I headed east along the tracks to check out the commuter stations. I was rather surprised to find that Pepperidge Farm was not the only line-side industry left along the Racetrack. When I saw cars on what looked like an industrial lead, I turned around to take some pictures.

BNSF seems to now use the Congress Park Yard for Maintenance of Way storage.

Since it is close to the connection with the IHB, it was once probably used to interchange local freight with the IHB. This Bing map image shows five cars spotted on the industrial spur.

An older image even has the fallen flag of a Burlington Northern car.
Birds-Eye View

Friday, April 28, 2017

US-17 over Cooper River in Charleston County, SC

(2005 Bridge Hunter (Arthur J Ravenel Jr.), 1966 Bridge Hunter (Silas S Perman), 1928 Bridge Hunter (John P Grace), 3D Satellite)
The Arthur J. Ravenel Jr. Bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in America and replaces both of the predecessor cantilever truss bridges. [Bridge Hunter]

Jake Jones posted
Charleston SC 6-18-2015
Photo by Andrew Penik from Bridge Hunter
All three, 1928, 1966, 2005
[From right to left]

Skip to 1:05.

Building the Sanitary and Ship Canal pioneered new technologies

I've read that much of the technology developed to build this canal such as steam-powered shovels was then used to dig the Panama Canal.

MWRD posted
Historical photo of the week: Construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal at an unknown location in the mid-1890s, showing one of the cantilever incline machines that were used to move broken rock from the excavation areas to the spoil piles
Jeff Bransky It says section 10 on the photo. I noticed that that large conveyor structure is sitting on rails so it can be moved as work progresses. Interesting to see horses at work in the background. I imagine the machine was driven by a steam engine.
Eugene Klichowski Section 10 was between Summit and Willow Springs
I thought the above was a conveyor belt where this end would be lowered into the canal so men could dump debris on it. But the following indicates it is for removing big rocks.

MWRD posted
Historical Photo of the Week: Workers loading rock for removal during excavation of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in September 1894.
Kevin Murphy looks like the Lemont area with stone

Here is how they got the sidewalls so straight.
MWRD posted
Historical Photo of the Week: Workers pause for a photo with a channeling machine during construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) near Romeoville on September 25, 1894. Channeling machines were used to make smooth, vertical “wall” cuts on each side of the canal and then the rock between the walls was drilled, blasted and removed. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

White's Mills in Athens, OH

20170416 8445
You are looking at where a 10-foot dam used to stand across the Hocking River In Athens, OH. If you look in the lower-right corner, you can see the cut-sandstone foundation built for the original 1816 mill by Captain Silas Bingman. Looking at the bottom of that foundation, behind the bush, you can see a steel plate. This plate covers the water intake. You can still see the vertical board next to it that would have held one side of a sluice gate when it was operational.

Since the water flow of the Hocking River is rather low, you can see the sandstone cap from which he cut the stones for his foundation.. He built a 10-foot high wooden crib dam. The person I talked to in the store said they made the dam with 10-foot rectangles of big wood beams and filled the wood crib with debris. In 1895 the wooden water waterwheel was replaced by a turbine. The dam was lined with concrete in 1900. The mill has had a few dam rebuilds because of floods, one fire that burned it down to the sandstone foundation, and a few owners. [scificincinnati]

Ed White bought it in 1911. Given it was started in 1816 and White did not buy it until 1911, I don't know why the date on the building is 1809. [scificincinnati] The dam was last rebuilt after a flood in the 1970s. Milling operations stopped in the 1980s. It is now a garden and gift shop. (For example, it sells books about Athens and Southeast Ohio and some art work.)

The following video has several scenes of the milling equipment that was inside the building.

Note the parking lot and wood fence on the other side of the river. Those are locations from which I took some pictures that are later in this blog.
They are proud of their old-mill history and have several photos hanging in the store of old mills, including some of their own. Look at the huge hydraulic jump created by their 10-foot dam.
This is a view from the Union Street Bridge that I used to get to the parking lot on the other side of the river.
This is a view from that parking lot. This was on a Sunday and the parking lot was otherwise empty. So I was not occupying a spot needed by a customer. There were a lot of No Trespassing signs along the edge of the parking lot. They don't want fisherman taking any risks here.
Obviously, I walked a downstream a bit to get this shot.
A closeup of the cut-sandstone foundation.
A view looking the other direction from the same spot to provide context. The next photo was taken after I walked downstream of that red building.
This is the view further downstream past the curve in the river.
This building is owned by the Athens County Habitat for Humanity. Their office on the right was closed, but the entrance is open dawn to dusk so that users of the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway can use the restrooms.
It looks like a former depot with the bay window for the agent's office and the bay being offset a little to one side of the building. But the former B&O+NYC+HV depot was closer to downtown. So the ancestry of this building remains a mystery.
This is the view from the wood fence. I could not figure out how to legally get a view of the falls without that center tree obstructing the view.
The next day I was headed to the mill to show my wife what they were selling. There were some thunderstorms in the area the previous night, and I was amazed by how quickly and significantly one rain storm changed the flow level of the river. In the Midwest it takes several days of rains and/or snowmelt  to impact the river flow. And the bigger the river, the bigger the delay before the rain from the watershed reaches the river. The Hocking River is surounded by big (by Midwest standards) hills, and it is obvious that the rain of the entire watershed quickly washes down into the river.

So I walked downstream to get another set of pictures to capture this higher flow of water.

From the previous days photos, we know that there is a "trough" in the middle of the river where the water normally flows. When the river is high, this trough allows more cubic-feet-per-second to pass in the middle. I took this wide angle to try to capture that you could actually see the water "hump" up in the middle of the downstream part to accommodate all of the water that was flowing through the trough. This is another form of a hydraulic jump --- water above the normal water level to accommodate a faster flow of water into a slower pool of water.

Compare this downstream view with the one I took above. We saw no water turbulence downstream the previous day but we see plenty when the river is "humping."
I was shocked as to high high the hydraulic jump was given how low this waterfall is. So I took a video to capture that hydraulic jump and the roar of the water.

Then I took another video from downstream to try to capture the "hump" of water in the middle of the river do to the hydraulic jump caused by the larger volume of water flowing through the "trough" next to the sandstone cap. You can see that the hump is higher in the middle than at the bank quite a ways downstream and that some of the water flowing to the bank of the river then flows upstream to create a whirlpool.

I see both the satellite sites I use caught the river when the flow was even lower than the first day I visited.
Google Satellite

Bing Satellite

When I took the picture furthest upstream above, I discovered I still had the ISO for the camera set at the highest level of 6400 when I took the pictures of those photos that were hanging inside the building. The above photo was after I reset the camera for outdoor pictures at ISO 400. This is the picture I took at ISO 6400. At web resolutions, granularity is not an issue. But there is better color contrast at ISO 400.

As I walked back to the van, I retook pictures with the more appropriate ISO of 400. Since it was cloudy enough that the high shutter speed and f-stop of the camera was able to avoid over-exposure with ISO 6400, there is not a lot of difference. But I do this photo dump of the ISO 400 photos anyhow because it does provide some more views of two of my favorite topics --- old buildings and flowing water.