Tuesday, July 31, 2018

CB&Q+NC&StL+IC Bridge over Ohio River at Metropolis, IL

(Bridge HunterHistoric Bridges, Satellite)

Note the far (Kentucky side) span is longer. At the time, it was a record long 720' simple span. The other four spans are "just" 551'.
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sternwheel-part4 has a couple of photos of the bridge. That page also has seven facts including: "At 708 feet the bridge contains the longest pin-connected simple through truss span in the world."

Birds-Eye View
David Honan
David Honan

20171230 9402c, east elevation taken from the I-24 Bridge
(I still haven't figured out why my bridge pictures are typically so hazy.)
First of nine photos in C Hanchey's Illinois Flickr Album, License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC)
I have noticed that when you take I-57 to Kentucky you pass under a BN overpass in the southern part of the state. This surprised me when I first saw it because the motto of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy was "Everywhere West." Not South. Like the Milwaukee Road, CB&Q wanted their own access to coal in the Ohio River valley. In fact, James J. Hill, who aquired control the of CB&Q in 1901 could use the coal for his other railroads --- Great Northern and Northern Pacific.
So, in 1904 Burlington acquired a 122 mile line from Concord, IL to Centralia, IL. In 1905 the CB&Q began pushing towards Metropolis to link up with the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad (NC&StL) in Paducah. CB&Q reached Metropolis in 1910. The Paducah & Illinois Railroad (P&I) was formed of a partnership between CB&Q and NC&StL to build a mile long bridge over the Ohio and 15 miles of track to connect the 2 Railroads. [Part 1]
Burlington specified a double track bridge that would support Cooper E90 live loading. This showed significant foresight because E90 (90,000 pounds per axle (Army)) is a strong bridge by even today's standards. [Part 2, ConnDOT, WiscDOT]  The trusses and approach bents support two tracks, but the approach plate girder spans currently support just one track. As I have come to expect with long train bridges, trains travel slowly over this bridge.
A complicating factor at the Metropolis site was that bedrock was approximately 230 feet below low water level. This depth prohibited founding the piers on the bedrock, instead the piers are founded on a thick quartz sand layer at approximately 75 feet below low water level. Founding the piers on a substrate that could allow them to settle over time prohibited many bridge designs. CB&Q Chose to build a Simple Truss Bridge designed and built using Silicon Steel instead of the normal High Carbon Steel and specifying an even stronger nickel steel for certain members of the bridge allowing the bridge to be made lighter. [Part 2]
C Hanchey Illinois Flickr Album has nine photos starting with an overview.

See last paragraph of IC Railroad Scrapbook.

Lots of info in this posting's comments
The rivermen were allowed to specify the placement of the piers. They specified a 700' navigation span [part10] When they learned that the engineers designed a span over 700', the rivermen decided: "By having the main span 720 feet in width, a steamboat with a large tow will be able to pass under the bridge at any angle. With lights on the piers at night the span will be sufficient width to enable the pilots to judge his distance and pass under the bridge." [part12]

John Stigall commented on a posting
Bridge + sunset - what could be better?
If you have seen one of the 551' spans, you have seen them all.

It is hard to catch how much bigger the 720' span is from the Illinois side. This does catch the unique "stepped" design of the piers. The lower part is probably thicker to resist ice and flood waters.

Kenneth James White posted
Another giant spanning the Ohio River: The Metropolis Bridge at Cario Illinois.
[The bridge is at Metropolis, not Cario. The step in the piers make it easy to determine that the water level was higher when this photo was taken.]
Even the approach is rather massive.

Bob Kinstrey posted several photos with the comment: "Crossing the Ohio River a few miles south of I 24 at Paducah KY. Also some of the approach bridges on IL side. There is another RR bridge of the same design several miles north of I 24."

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Ken Bailey posted 13 photos with the comment:
I'm a comic book cartoonist as well as a railfan, and have enjoyed for years going to Metropolis (IL) for the big Superman Celebration in June. The river crossing there for the railroad line has one of the finest bridges I've ever seen -- seven spans, and an approach that must take a mile or two. Trains of several railroads share it.In addition, one of the people working the Metropolis show is a retired Illinois Central locomotive engineer/crewman, and it is always fun to hear his stories of the old days, as well!

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Jeff Yielding posted
From a few years ago, crossing from Paducah KY over to Metropolis IL. The bridge was opened in 1917!
Dennis DeBruler Nice catching it with some engines on it because that demonstrates the scale of those spans. The government agreed to the steamboat industry's demand that the navigation channel be over 700' wide. They thought that length would kill the possibility of a bridge being built. But their bluff was called. At the time of construction, the main span was a record setting simple span of 720'. The others are "just" 551'. The bridge is jointly owned by BNSF and CN.
Jeff Yielding commented on his post
And the speed limit is a whooping 5mph! Have watched many trains go over this man-made wonder. Here's is my photo that I submitted to wikipedia. Oh, and the total length including the approaches is 6,424 ft.


(Facebooked1, Facebooked2. Facebooked3)

Nevers Dam, 80' Bear Trap Gate was the longest at the time

The dam was removed in 1955 after 1950 and 1954 floods made it a danger to fisherman and canoeists. So I can't provide a satellite image of it. According to John Weeks, it had a head of 17'.

I learned about this dam because it was part of a tour of dams taken by two of the engineers for the Chicago Drainage Canal (now the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal). They studied the 80' bear trap gate at this dam to refine their design of a 160' bear trap gate for the CS&SC control structure. [Building the Canal to Save Chicago by Richard Lanyon, p55]

The St. Croix River was like the Muskegon River in that a lumber industry used it to float logs from the forest down to saw mills. Another similarity is that the dams on the rivers use a bear trap gate to pass the logs over the top. When the Nevers Dam was built in 1889, it was the largest wooden dam in the world, and the 80' bear trap gate was the longest gate in the world.

The wooden piers were built on top of piles and filled with stone. The road built across the dam was the only road across the river in the region. The truss bridge spans the 80'x20' bear trap gate and the 13 other gates were 16'x24' Tainter gates. The builder, Robert A. Lang, was the inventor of the bear trap gate.

dnr.state.mn.us
 I've seen numbers of 5000, 7500, and 9000 for the number of piles under the dam. They were driven 12' to 15' into the ground. This is a photo of a steam pile driver used during 1916 repairs.
J.R. Frawley Photo

J.R. Frawley Photos
J.R. Frawley was the manager of the dam for many years. Unlike the dams on the Muskegon River that were built to harness the river's flow to generate electricity, this dam was built to create a flow. Sometimes the river would not have enough flow to float the logs downstream. So they built this dam so that they could close the gates for two weeks to create a head of water and then open the bear trap gate to allow the logs to float downstream on a tidal wave of water. The sawmills would process that wave of logs during the next two weeks as the water and logs again built up behind the dam. The bottom photo shows that there was a significant leak at the bottom of the gate when it was closed.

By 1903 the logs were pretty well gone so the Northern States Power Co. bought it as a river control point for the hydroelectric power dam it planned to build 11 miles below at St. Croix Falls. The last log was sluiced through in 1912.

After 1955, the power company hired a two-man well-driller crew to take 100s of samples of the river bottom. But the results were that the sand and gravel extended down as far as 113' with sandstone beneath that. Northern States Power was evidently not aware of the Tumble Bays, long aprons, and pier keys used by the Midwest power companies to build concrete dams without a viable bedrock. For example, the Elkhart Hydro Dam.

[dnr.state.mn.us]



Sunday, July 29, 2018

CSX/P&LE 1910 Bridge over Ohio River at Monaca+Beaver, PA

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges, HAERSatellite)

P&LE = Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad

Photo from HAER PA,4-BEAV,1--1 from pa3716

One of 26 images posted by Mike Brady
[Many of the images show the stresses calculated for each member of the truss.]
Pictures are of the original Stress sheet of the P&LE cantilever bridge at Monaca - Beaver PA . Appears to be drawn on vellum type paper using a ink well pen. All of the math about the bridge is here. Live load,dead load, impact load and wind load Date is Jan. 31, 1908. Bought this on eBay around 20 years ago. Was unaware at the time of purchase of what I was getting. Wow, when I actually received it. Total calculated design load on one of the main bearings is 11,994.000 or 12 million pounds or ( 6 thousand tons).
One of 26 images posted by Mike Brady

Photo taken by Bob Harris in May 2012 from Bridge Hunter


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Mark Arnold posted five photos with the comment: "CSX's Ohio River crossing between Monaca and Beaver Pennsylvania."
Pedro RamosPedro and 757 others joined RAILROAD BRIDGES, TRESTLES, TUNNELS AND CUTS within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! Wow makes you wonder how were they ever able to build a massive structure like this.
Dennis DeBruler One of the reasons for building cantilever designs is that it allows minimal interference during construction in the navigation channel. Typically, they would use timber falsework to build the trusses between the abutments and piers. Then they would use travelling derricks along the top chords to build the other sides with minimal falsework. I found some construction photos for a bridge: http://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../csxc-1917.... But the top chords on this bridge have a very steep angle, so I don't know if they could have used a travelling derrick.

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Kenneth James White shared his post
And here's yet ANOTHER Ohio River colossus: The Beaver Bridge(P&LE) at Beaver Falls Pa.
[I see from Bridge Hunter that this is a HAER photo.]