Saturday, February 29, 2020

MWRD: Creating a 40' Head for the Lockport Powerhouse

(Satellite)

More about this photo later.
20140614 0259

Satellite
When the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal (CS&SC) opened in 1900, it terminated at a control structure north of 9th Street at Lockport, IL.
Satellite
There was a 160' bear trap gate in this gap to fine tune the flow of water out of the canal into the Des Plaines River to maintain the proper water level in the canal. That gate has been removed because the powerhouse now provides the day-to-day control of the water level. The sluice gates are still intact in case flood waters need to be released from the canal.
There is about a 40' drop in the land between this control structure and the confluence of the canal with the Des Plaines River just south of the CN/EJ&E Bridge. This drop is why the I&M Canal had its first four locks between just north of Division Street and north of the CN/EJ&E tracks.

To take advantage of this 40' drop, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), then known as the Chicago Sanitary District, made a canal down the slope by building concrete walls on both sides with earth fill on the sides. This 3D view shows the east dike.
3D Satellite
And here is a view of the drop of the land along the west dike.
3D Satellite

Now we have the context needed to explain the top photo. That photo was taken from the bus that was driving along the west wall to take us to a tour of the powerhouse. I knew we were driving along a high wall, so I was trying to get photos that showed the height. I also knew, from taking photos in the Rocky Mountains, that it is hard to show height from above. Here are the rest of the photos I took on this part of the trip.



On the trip back to the parking lot, I took a photo looking South when we were on the 9th Street Bridge to capture what I thought was a rather high level of the Des Plaines River. The blue on the left is the higher level of the canal.

Or maybe the river is always this high.
Street View, Oct 2019
I also got a view of nature taking over some sunken barges.

Satellite
While taking some photos of a towboat, I caught a view that shows the canal level higher than the surrounding land. Of course, it is not as high at the 9th Street Bridge as it is at the powerhouse and lock.

It is worth noting that dikes were used at the original terminus of the CS&SC so that the base of the control structure would be above the Des Plaines River to maximize the flow from the canal to the river during floods. The MWRD must have been really worried about being able to divert flood waters because, when the extended the canal in 1903, they added a butterfly dam near the beginning of the extension. Note two contour lines coming close together near the end of the original canal, especially on the east side.
1954 Joliet Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
Those two contour lines continue down to Division Street. I've read that the dikes were 15' tall at 9th Street.
1954 Joliet Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
Starting at Division Street, more contour lines are added. That makes sense because the I&M Canal locks are along this stretch.
1954 Joliet Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
Although I think the big pile of contour lines on the west side of the canal south of the powerhouse is a mistake.
1954 Joliet Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
Update:
6:49 is where the captain is going south in this part of the canal where the water is at the treetop level before the tow enters the lock.
Most of his videos are on the Mississippi River or the lower Ohio River. This is the first one of his that I have seen in the Chicago area.


Friday, February 28, 2020

MWRD: Butterfly Dam in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal

(HAERSatellite, gone)

A butterfly dam is a movable dam. Gates the full depth of the canal hang from a swing truss. This one would normally be open as shown because it was intended to help with flood protection. Evidently MWRD wanted to make sure that they could divert excess water through the control structure that is just beyond the dam on the left in this photo, which is looking upstream. Since this dam design is so rare, I have added the "wwDamTech" label on this post. The only other movable dam I remember reading about was an emergency swing dam on the Canadian side of the St. Marys River.
Photo from HAER ILL,99-LOCK,3A--7 (CT) from il0434

VIEW OF THE CHICAGO SANITARY AND SHIP CANAL BUTTERFLY DAM FROM THE NORTH - Lockport Historic District, Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, Butterfly Dam, Lockport, Will County, IL

The Butterfly Dam was constructed in the middle of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal for the purpose of providing flood protection for Joliet and other points on the canal west of Lockport. The dam is unique in that it is suspended from a Pratt truss bridge which is supported by two concrete piers. The dam is on a pivoting mechanism, so it can be turned to cross the canal and block the flow of water. It is 30 feet high, and has six electrically operated valves on each leaf. The need to use the dam for flood prevention seems never to have arisen. [HAER-data]
You can clearly see the dam in the middle of the navigation channel in this old photo. I include part of the control structure to provide context for the location.
1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP, at photo resolution

Photo from HAER ILL,99-LOCK,3A--6 from il0434

6. View of the south end of the dam looking northwest with Lockport visible in the background - Lockport Historic District, Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, Butterfly Dam, Lockport, Will County, IL

[Actually, this is looking southwest at the north end of the dam! In the background we see the grain silos, the 9th Street Bridge and the Cargill elevator]
As the above photo shows, we can't trust the directions in the photo captions. But it doesn't matter because the dam was symmetrical. We can see six electric motors for the six "valves." It is not at all clear to me what the open position of the "valves" looks like.
Photo from HAER ILL,99-LOCK,3A--3 from il0434

3. North end of the butterfly dam showing stone abutment - Lockport Historic District, Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, Butterfly Dam, Lockport, Will County, IL


Photo from HAER ILL,99-LOCK,3A--4 from il0434

4. Center section of the dam showing the pivoting mechanism - Lockport Historic District, Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, Butterfly Dam, Lockport, Will County, IL





Thursday, February 27, 2020

Division Street Bridges over I&M Canal, Des Plaines River and CS&SC at Lockport, IL

DPR Bridge, 1899: (Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges3D Satellite)
CS&SC Bridge, 1905-1993: (Bridge Hunter; HAER; Satellite, gone)
I&M Canal Bridge: (Bridge Hunter; 3D Satellite)

CS&SC = Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal

When I first came to the Chicagoland area, I not only drove Division Street from State Street in Lockport to IL-53, I went south on an access road along the SC&CS to visit the Lockport Lock. Now Division Street is closed to the public between Praire Avenue in Lockport and the Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve. This is what you encounter when you head east along Division Street in the preserve.

20150702 2416
Jeremy Brzycki got a better view past the trees of the trusses over the DuPage River.
Jeremy Brzycki posted
Ben Felber Wow alot to dial for an emergency....911 would be quicker.
Josh Anders Ben Felber and 911 would have to call one of them numbers to open a Damn or somthing. 911 wouldn't be much help there unless people where under water already.
Adam J. Bader Sr. What causes the water flows?
Dennis DeBruler A sudden change would be caused by these control gates being opened to lower the level of the water in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.
https://www.google.com/.../@41.5979778,-88.../data=!3m1!1e3
I don't know when the last time was that they were opened.

Bob Dodge commented on Jeremy's post
West Division Street Lockport Illinois
["Bridge has a slight curve between pratt span and Main Parker Spain." [Bridge Hunter]]
It takes more guts than I have to go down the access road along the west side of the CS&SC canal to get to here to take the above photo. I chicken out when I encounter the gates across the access road.

The top photo in eBook has a 1948 view of the three truss spans.

The Bridge Hunter page for this multiple-truss bridge has several photos by three people. They recognized the historic significance of these pin-connected trusses.





The bobtail bridge that used to go over the canal is similar to the 135th Street Bridge that has been preserved in a Forest Preserve.
Photo from HAER ILL,99-LOCK,3B--7 (CT) from il0435

GENERAL VIEW OF THE BRIDGE IN OPERATION - Lockport Historic District, Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, Swing Bridge, Sixteenth Street, Lockport, Will County, IL

There is something wrong with the view above because the view below looks more appropriate. Is the canal partially drained above so that they could do work on the bridge? Both views have the 9th Street Bridge in the background, so they are both looking North.
Photo from HAER ILL,99-LOCK,3B--1 from il0435
This is the view I would expect to see for the bridge in operation.
Photo from HAER ILL,99-LOCK,3B--5 from il0435

This old aerial view shows that there was a jog in Division Street to accommodate the bridges.
1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Was the 1939 photo taken during a drought? The river is significantly narrower than today's river.
Satellite



Even the plain bridge over the I&M canal has changed since I first came to the Chicago area. In fact, this one changed since I started writing this blog in May 2014. On one of my trips to check out Lock #1, I noticed that Division Street was closed over the canal. Below is the old bridge. You can see the steel I-beams that were added under the deck as a "patch" to prolong its life.
Photo by Steve Conro via Bridge Hunter
This street view shows the replacement bridge.
Street View













Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Three IC branches fed by Otto Tower and Bloomer Line

Heading west from Otto Tower was a route that fed three IC branches. My 1967 IC map does not have the Tracy branch. I had to use the only older map that I have, 1891.
<source of map is lost>
Unfortunately, system maps are not geographically accurate. Fortunately, AJ Grigg's abandoned railroad map is quite accurate. The Tracy Branch is the green trace that goes northwest, then northish of Buckingham, IL. This branch, along with branches of the EJ&E and GM&O, were obviously built to serve the Northern Illinois/Peabody Coal Company. This post discusses where this branch crossed the NYC Kankakee Belt.
AJ Grigg's Abandoned Railroad Map
I use the following topo map with a green line to highlight the Bloomington District that went from Otto Tower on the IC mainline to Bloomington on the IC central charter route. The yellow line highlights the IC Pontiac District that used to go from the Bloomington District south of Kempton to the central charter route south of Minonk. The blue line will be discussed later.
1958 Peoria and Aurora plus 1957 Chicago Quadrangles @ 1:250,000
Zooming in on the west end of the Pontiac District we can see that the segment between Flanagan and the central charter route had already been abandoned by 1958. But what is really bizarre is that the route is labelled Illinois Central Gulf. ICG was not created until 1972!
1958 Peoria Quadrangle @ 1:250,000

Satellite
Treelines still mark the wye where the Pontiac District joined the Bloomington District. This junction was called Saxony. [abanicp]

Now the entire Pontiac District is abandoned and the west end and the east end of the Bloomington District is abandoned.
The middle part of the Bloomington District is now owned by the shortline Bloomer Line (BLOL). This shortline also owns the former-Wabash route between the former-IC route and Gibson City that was abandoned by Norfolk Southern. CN still owns the track between Herscher and Otto Tower.
The [BLOL] railroad was formed by purchase of the former Illinois Central (now-CNIC) line from Hescher to Barnes, IL. The track from Kempton to Colfax, IL is in operation. The railroad started operation in June, 1985. In May, 1990, the railroad acquired from N&W (now-NS) the line from Strawn to Gibson City. [casr]
IlliniRail
A user comment on the Pontiac District abandonment is interesting:
This is the former Illinois Central Pontiac District. It was of light rail, as were the Bloomington (Bloomer Line) and Rantoul Districts, and most grade crossings were protected only by a crossbuck. Interlockings consisted of dwarf signals on the Pontiac District and sometimes, signals that required opening the interlocking cabin and operating levers to get a green or yellow dwarf signal.
The connections at Saxony and Minonk were merely switches to the Amboy District and Bloomington Districts of the Illinois Central. There were no signals, just a wooden telephone booth. There were horns to use in inclement weather or other unfavorable conditions at Pontiac, where also a Wabash branch crossed.
Of these three light-duty lines, only parts of the Bloomington District survive as the bloomer line.
George R. Carlisle
formerly Urbana , IL
1/13/2014
Another view of the abandonments. This includes other abandonments such as the Wabash route from Strawn to Manhattan.
AJ Grigg's Abandoned RR Map
Four of the resources I studied, ChicagoRailfan, Bloomer Line, Shortlines and the above abandoned RR map indicate the Bloomer Line goes past Cullom. But I have to agree with AbandonedRails that service ends at Cullom. That town does have an elevator with a yellow fall protector.
Street View
Satellite
I found a cut of cars stored north of town until the track disappeared. It may have disappeared because it is under weeds and/or dirt because you can see track further north. But I see a truck, instead of track, on the RoW by the elevator in Kempton.
Satellite


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

MS-25 Scruggs Bridge over Tennessee-TombigBee Waterway

(no Bridge Hunter; Satellite)

When I was headed north on MS-25 to Pickwick Landing Dam, I noticed a sign at a bridge indicating the bridge crossed the Tennessee-TombigBee Waterway. I recognized that as the canal between the Tennessee River and a river that goes to the Gulf of Mexico. Soon after I crossed the bridge, I noticed a sign for a boat ramp, so I went down the road to the ramp to check out the view. When I arrived by the river, there was a semi-truck crossing the bridge with a regular trailer. The trailer looking small made me appreciate how big the steel girders were. I waited for another truck to cross to catch a photo with the truck providing scale. Unfortunately, the next three trucks were empty log trucks. But the cab provides some scale. And the girders are even deeper as it crosses the piers. The size of these girders is why I'm doing yet another steel girder bridge.
20200219 1319
The photo also shows that we are in the canal part of the waterway since the banks are equidistant the entire length.

The long span over land on the south end must be for floods otherwise they would have just made the embankment on that side longer.

I'm surprised that a canal dug across a divide between the Tennessee River and the Gulf of Mexico would be prone to significant flooding. But this clearance gauge painted on a pier indicates that the river level can be an issue. Note that we were visiting when the Tennessee and Perl Rivers were flooding. Yet this water level seems well within the banks of the canal.
As I left the boat ramp road, I took a photo of the sign marking the facility.
The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal is a "no wake" canal. Did the USACE add rip-rap to the banks of this canal for the benefit of speed boats? This is the first time I have seen water skiing on a canal.
Screenshot
The boat ramp road also had a boat storage facility. In the Chicago area boats are stored in the winter because of ice. On the Tennessee River, boats are evidently stored because of floods and high river flows. I saw other boat storage facilities in this area.
Scruggs Bridge Boat Storage, cropped
A view in the other direction shows that the rip-rap consists of some fairly large rocks. Our van was the only visitor. The fact that the temperature was struggling to get into the 50s may be why there was no boat activity. Or maybe it was because the current on the nearby Tennessee River was high.


Monday, February 24, 2020

First Lock and Dam on Illinois River was built in 1870 at Henry, IL

1870 Abandoned Lock: (Satellite)
1870 Bridge: (Bridge Hunter)
1935+1988 Bridge: (Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; John A. Weeks IIISatellite)

Terry Baker posted
Part of the old locks and dam at Henry IL   Purpose? It sure has a good look.
Kerry Doyle Looks similar to the housing for a gauging station, which would report water height and flow.
Rob Smith Yes. And since the Peoria Pool is so long ( 74 river miles ) and an elevation difference of 18 feet along that distance.... Commercial mariners keep a pretty close eye on the gage there during rising or falling river events. It is approximately halfway between Peoria and Starved Rock.
Dennis DeBruler I learned that "right bank" is from the perspective of a boat going downstream.
https://rivergages.mvr.usace.army.mil/.../stationinfo2...
Learning about an abandoned lock is fascinating.
Dennis DeBruler "This lock here is the largest and most complete of any on this continent. Twelve canal boats can be taken through at one lockage. The gates, four in number, are wonderfully ponderous in their dimensions, each gate being forty-three feet wide, and twenty-four feet high, and containing 25,000 feet of lumber, and ten tons of iron, and yet their construction and machinery are such that two men can handle them easily."
http://genealogytrails.com/.../mar.../history/HenryLock.html
The shadow makes it easy to find the river gauge on the upstream side of the land wall of the old lock.
Satellite

Dennis DeBruler commented on Terry's post
Several web sites have copies of this postcard. This was the first lock and dam on the Illinois River.
https://www.cityofhenryil.org/history-of-locks-dam-and...

A colorization of the above

James Leffel & Co. / Public domain

LandmarkHunter
The lock and dam was built to extend the navigation season to improve the utilization of the I&M Canal.

Art Kistler, IDOT photographer, 1931 via Bridge Hunter
Henry Bridge, 1931

Gene Smania 1988 via Bridge Hunter, License: Released into public domain
Look upstream

Street View
[The trees on the right hide two more spans over the flood plain.]

Art Kistler, IDOT photographer, 1935 via Bridge Hunter

John A. Weeks III
Prior to 1870, the Illinois river was shallow enough in the area of Henry that horse and buggy traffic could ford the river most of the year. This was convenient for land travelers, but it made river navigation all but impossible.

To solve the river navigation problem, the Henry Lock & Dam was built, opening in 1870. The lock and dam project cost $400,000. It was the first lock and dam structure on the Illinois River. While the lock and dam was successful, it raised the water level of the river high enough that it could no longer be forded. As a result, a new wood and iron bridge with a swing span was built between 1867 and 1870. It was designed for horse and carriage traffic.

John A. Weeks III

CityOfHentryIL
After many years of carrying traffic across the Illinois River, the bridge again was closed in 1988.  Construction crews worked night and day to repair the vital link between Putnam County on the east side of the river and the Henry community on the west.  Traffic was rerouted to surrounding communities.  School buses customized their routes to provide continued service to the students.

The race between Illinois and Kentucky to see who can destroy all of their truss bridges first is still on.
Henry Bridge
Posted October 27, 2019, by Anthony Scriven (Ascriven1 [at] juno [dot] com)
Sadly, IDOT has now announced plans to replace this truss bridge as well. Plan to replace with a new bridge by 2025. Probably a UCEB in the works. Fewer truss bridges over the Illinois with each passing year.
https://www.pjstar.com/news/20191027/gateway-bridge-into-hen...


I wondered if the green spot in the river off the east bank was a remnant of the dam.
Satellite
So I fired up Global Earth to look at the area with different river levels, and I concluded that it is just a high spot on a sand bar.