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

Raymond Story posted
MUSCATINE IOWA  [Rock Island depot]
J Pete Hedgpeth: See that long and old hiway bridge in the background. It was finally replaced in the 70's after terrorizing my daughter on our trips from Chicago to Lincoln, NE by its rattling and banging as we drove over it and causing H J Heinz company to have to "float" the tomato hauling trucks every summer across the river on barges from the "Patches" on the east side of the river to the "factory" in west Muscatine where they were turned into Ketchup and juice.

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.

Ethan Smidt posted, cropped
Today on pool 17...the Ardyce Randall headed upstream with a load...almost to 16.

Karen Satterthwaite Yant posted
Muscatine IA

Reed Vonder Haar posted
Muscatine Light Show
Reed Vonder Haar: A little distracting to run changes colors - yellow, red, green, stripes - and so bright you can hardly see beyond it. Thankfully only on the northbound approach.
Yvette Ardans posted
Bridge from Iowa to Illinois,over the Mississippi.

FrankieJoe Wilderman posted
Muscatine Iowa to Illinois bridge. April 2020

One of three photos posted by Steve J Crile
M/V Joseph Patrick Eckstein heading up-river at Muscatine
[Interesting views of the bridge and dam]

Steve J Crile posted
Corps of Engineers towboat M/V Mississippi approaching lock 16 and heading down-river at Muscatine. Towboat M/V Virginia Ingram can be seen heading up-river.
[There are other photos of the USACE monster that shows it has three engines and is pushing just one barge.]

Steve J Crile posted
M/V Anaconda heading down-river at Muscatine

A video of the bridge changing colors at night, going into Lock 16 and going through the Crescent RR Bridge.

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