Monday, November 30, 2020

1884 Viaduc de Garabit Bridge and 1889 Eiffel Tower

Eiffel's Bridge: (Satellite)
Eiffel Tower: (Satellite)

Both of these iron structures were built by Gustave Eiffel. (These structures were built before steel was developed.) This video taught me about this bridge. Note that he built the bridge five years before he built his famous tower in Paris.

He chose a lacy truss to offer less resistance to the strong winds in the valley. "The viaduct was constructed between 1882 and 1884 and opened to rail traffic in November 1885. The structure is 565m (1,854 ft) long and the span of the principal arch is 165m (541 ft). The 448m (1,470 ft) long metal deck is flanked by two masonry viaducts of 46m (151 ft) and 71m (233 ft) in length and is supported by five wrought iron piers the two tallest of which are 80m (262 ft) high. It carried a single railway line 120m (400 ft) above the Truyere River and was for many years the tallest bridge in the world. However, the construction in 1959 of the Grandval dam on the Truy√®re created a 28km long reservoir and the raised water level is today 95m (311 ft) below the bridge deck.​" [BridgesOfDublin

This view shows how the arch narrows and deepens as it rises.
CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

"The largest and highest railway arch bridge in the world at the time of its completion in 1884, Eiffel’s Garabit Viaduct was completed just 5 years before his famous tower in Paris. Eiffel had previously designed the Maria Pia, the world’s longest steel [sic] arch bridge in 1877 in Oporto, Portugal. The opening of the Garabit Viaduct made it the only time in history that the world’s 3 highest bridges were all within one country. The highest was the 1839-built Charles Albert suspension bridge. In second place was the 1882 Pont Chatelet arch bridge. Garabit was the third. That feat will be repeated again in 2010 when China finally opens the Balinghe bridge which will join the Siduhe and Beipanjiang (2003) bridges as the world’s 3 highest. (Assuming you don’t count the Hegigio Gorge Pipeline span as a bridge)." [HighestBridges]

HighestBridges, this site has many more images of the bridge, both old and new
Garabit Viaduct postcard.

The train helps provide scale.
Garabit Viaduct postcard.

Jean Michel DHAINAUT, Mar 2017

After seeing this post soon after I saw the bridge, I was motivated to research both.
safe_image for Origins and Construction of the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel's company won a contest to build a monument for the 1889 World's Fair. It was actually designed by his employees Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier. At 300m (984') high, it stood as the tallest structure in the world until the Chrysler Building was built in 1930 in New York City. At first, many hated it because they thought it would fall down and/or it was an eyesore. But it proved to be a very popular exhibit. It was supposed to be removed after 20 years, but because of its popularity and its usefulness as a radio antennae, it survived. [LiveScience] "It welcomes more visitors than any other paid monument in the world—an estimated 7 million people per year. Some 500 employees are responsible for its daily operations, working in its restaurants, manning its elevators, ensuring its security and directing the eager crowds flocking the tower’s platforms to enjoy panoramic views of the City of Lights." []

Street View

Eiffel Tower fun facts

  • Gustave Eiffel used latticed wrought iron to construct the tower to demonstrate that the metal could be as strong as stone while being lighter.
  • Eiffel also created the internal frame for the Statue of Liberty.
  • Construction of the Eiffel Tower cost 7,799,401.31 French gold francs in 1889, or about $1.5 million.
  • The Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet (324 meters) tall, including the antenna at the top. Without the antenna, it is 984 feet (300 m).
  • It was the world's tallest structure until the Chrysler Building was built in New York in 1930.
  • The tower was built to sway slightly in the wind, but the sun affects the tower more. As the sun-facing side of the tower heats up, the top moves as much as 7 inches (18 centimeters) away from the sun.
  • The sun also causes the tower to grow about 6 inches.
  • The Eiffel Tower weighs 10,000 tons.
  • There are 5 billion lights on the Eiffel Tower.
  • The French have a nickname for the tower: La Dame de Fer, "the Iron Lady."
  • The first platform is 190 feet above the ground; the second platform is 376 feet, and the third platform is almost 900 feet up.
  • The Eiffel Tower has 108 stories, with 1,710 steps. However, visitors can only climb stairs to the first platform. There are two elevators.
  • One elevator travels a total distance of 64,001 miles (103,000 kilometers) a year.

Jean-Jacques Marchi posted four really nice photos. And a comment by Jeff Lewis has a photo of Eiffel's predecessor bridge in Porto, Portugal.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

1955 132mw Gavins Point Dam and Lewis & Clark Lake on the Missouri River

(John A. Weeks IIISatellite)

The three Kaplan turbine units have a total capacity of 132.2 MW. The discharge capacity at the max operating pool (1,210') is 345,000 cfs and the max discharge capacity at 1,221.4' is 584,000 cfs. The record flow was 160,200 cfs in early July of 2011. [USACE-facts] "While most of the Missouri River plants are used for peaking or semi-peaking purposes, which means they generate more energy during the hours of highest demand, Gavins Point Dam is the only dam consistently used for baseload production, which means the plant provides a continuous energy supply." 726 GWH or 68,000 homes. The Kaplan turbines are variable pitch and turn at 75 rpm. [USACE-hydropower]

Massman Construction Co. posted six photos with the comment:
Gavins Point Dam is the dam furthest downstream on the Missouri River and is one of six major dams authorized by Congress in 1944 as part of
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters
' Pick-Sloan plan. As part of a joint venture, we broke ground in 1953 and had, by 1957, completed the main spillway, earthwork, and powerhouse substructure and intake. In recognition of the structure’s importance, over 8,000 people attended the opening ceremony.
Located near Yankton, South Dakota, the dam impounds Lewis and Clark Lake. Today, the dams assist with the conversation, control, and efficient use of water resources in the Missouri River Basin, with the Gavins Point hydroelectric plant generating enough power for nearly 70,000 homes.






John Weeks



USACE, Omaha District posted three photos with the comment:
Gavins Point dam is the smallest of #USACE Omaha District's 6 major dams along the Missouri River. This dam is 8,700 feet long and 74 feet high, and the typical waterfall of 45 feet. The spillway is 664 feet long and features 14 tainter gates (the part that goes up and down and controls the water flow). Each gate spans 40 feet wide by 30 feet tall. 
The power plant within the dam has three generators each with a capacity of 44.1 megawatts, for a total maximum output of 132.32 megawatts, and create enough electricity to supply the needs of 65,000 people.
(Photo credit: Samuel Weldin, Public Affairs Specialist, USACE Omaha District)
Delta Mike shared



"Gavin's Point Dam at Yankton, should be removed first. The dam is the least useful structure of the Big Six across the main stem, and it is fast filling in with silt." [RapidCityJournal]

(new window)  March 15, 2019 via yankton (paycount 3). If I understand the article correctly, the flow we see here is about 100,000 cfs, and it was enough to cause flooding downstream.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

1910 McKinley Bridge over the Mississippi River at St Louis+Venice

(Bridge Hunter; Historic BridgesJohn A. Weeks III, John Marvig3D Satellite)

The bridge was built by the Illinois Electric Traction Association in 1910. Auto traffic was added during the 1930s and rail traffic ended in 1987. Finances and the complexity of multiple city and state governments caused it to be closed in Oct 2001. The governments came up with a plan to refurbish the bridge into a free, modern 2-lane crossing with a trail on the south side. Work began in 2004 and it reopened to traffic in 2007. [John Weeks] "This bridge is a massive through truss. It was designed by famous engineer Ralph Modjeski and is among the earlier of his surviving bridges." [Historic Bridges] The reconstruction cost $46m. [Jayne Matthews comment in Bridge Hunter] Both approaches were replaced by the refurbishing..

Post Card View provided by Joe Sonderman via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)

safe_image for The “Rededication” of a Bridge Between Missouri and Illinois
This was the original bridge for the 1926 Route 66 (US 66). Four years later the route was moved to the Chain of Rocks Bridge.
Photo Credit: LittleT889 (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license at

This panoramic photo taken in 1910 by A. W. Sanders shows the bridge while it was still under construction (notice the falsework under the third span). via Bridge Hunter
Street View

USACE broke their link

Illinois Terminal switcher eases out over the McKinley Bridge, May 1973, by Gary Forshaw via Bridge Hunter

Street View

MWRD: Enclosed Electrical Switchyard

(Satellite, the building is long gone. The powerhouse now sells the electricity to the grid.)

Because the MWRD built a powerhouse in Lockport, IL, it helped pioneer the transmission and distribution of electrical power. What is now done in an open switchyard, they did in a building.

MWRD posted
The Sanitary District’s (now MWRD) electrical power station at 31st and Western along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Chicago on August 15, 1925, viewed from the Western Ave Bridge. The area is now home to the Richard J. Daley Park boat launch. 

MWRD posted two photos with the comment: "Interior and exterior views of the Sanitary District's (now MWRD) electrical power station at 31st and Western near the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Chicago on November 2, 1917."


MWRD posted
A maintenance truck and crew outside of the MWRD electrical power terminal station at Western and 31st in Chicago on June 19, 1922.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Dennis DeBruler shared a MWRD posting
Historical photo of the week: The 8-track rail bridge over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Western Ave is seen opened for passage of tanks bound for Dickinson Seed Company on February 27, 1917.
[Note the power lines on the left that terminated at this building, which would have been to the left of the photographer.]

MWRD posted
Repairs to the deck of the Western Avenue Bridge over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Chicago, looking west, on June 10, 1924.
Dennis DeBruler: This photo helps establish the location of the now gone MWRD power station that is in the left background.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Lost/Pennsy Bridges over Susquehanna River at Wrightsville-Columbia, PA

(Bridge Hunter; Satellite, the piers are still left)

The road bridge next to it was the 1930 Lincoln Highway.

It continues to amaze me what they did with wood in the 1800s.
Robert Wanner posted
Photo of the original covered Pennsylvania Railroad bridge over the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrighsville,Pa. Also carried horse and buggy/early auto traffic at first until later daylighted to remain in PRR rail service until mid or late 1950's. Once the route of rail car service between Lancaster and York, Pa. Photo from John D. Denney Collection.
[Some comments indicate that this view is from the Wrightsville side.]
Kyle Klinger: The original bridge was burnt in 1863 to prevent the confederate army from crossing the river.

"Built in 30 days in 1896 to be 'temporary' replacement for destroyed covered bridge, with intent of road being added to upper level; neither replacement nor upper deck ever built. Removed 1964" [Bridge Hunter]

Postcard from collection of Scott Mingus, York, PA. via Bridge Hunter via Wikipedia, Public Domain

The Bridge Hunter site has several construction photos.

Trail/SP/various Goat Canyon (Carrizo Gorge) Curved Wooden Trestle

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; Satellite and Satellite)

The bridge was last used in 1976, but it still has rails on it.  Evidently wood does alright in a desert.

Bridge Hunter has street views taken by a hiker going across the bridge.

Jonathan Haeber Flickr via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
The tallest curved trestle in the U.S. dates to 1932, when an earthquake collapsed an adjoining tunnel. The trestle was the only other option for crossing Goat Canyon. The trestle stands 200 feet tall and 600 feet long.

Eric Polk posted
The Goat Canyon Trestle in eastern San Diego County is the world's largest wooden trestle. It was built in 1933 after a tunnel collapse led to a realignment of the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway. By the 1930s, metal and concrete were the preferred construction materials for railroad bridges. Wood was chosen for this bridge due to the extreme temperature fluctuations found in the Colorado Desert. The railroad no longer runs on this trestle and it can be visited by day hikers.
Forgotten posted
16 mile hike to an abandoned Train track bridge in California, USA
Carter Neusbaum: This is Goat Canyon Trestle, it is a wooden trestle in San Diego County, California. At a length of 597–750 feet (182–229 m), it is the world's largest all-wooden trestle. Goat Canyon Trestle was built in 1933 as part of the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway, after one of the many tunnels through the Carrizo Gorge collapsed. The railway had been called the "impossible railroad" upon its 1919 completion. It ran through Baja California and eastern San Diego County before ending in Imperial Valley. The trestle was made of wood, rather than metal, due to temperature fluctuations in the Carrizo Gorge. By 2008, railway traffic had stopped using the trestle.
Warren Burkholder shared
Ian Gove commented on Warren's share

Photo taken by Mahat Tattva Dasa via Bridge Hunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)

Trent Reeve posted
Goat Canyon Trestle is a wooden trestle in San Diego County, California. At a length of 597–750 feet (182–229 m), it is the world's largest curved, all-wood trestle.
Mark Harold AdamsGeorge Parrino shared

(new window)  In southern Anza Borrego Desert rests the largest freestanding wooden trestle in the entire world: the Goat Canyon Trestle.  Built in 1932, this engineering marvel requires a 16+ mile round trip hike across (as of this writing) abandoned railroad tracks, through train tunnels, and over smaller wooden railroad trestles.  By the time you see the trestle, it's clear why this railroad was deemed "the impossible railroad."
[The YouTube AI offered at least eight more videos.]

Thursday, November 26, 2020

1877+1911 NS/CNO&TP High Bridges over Kentucky River near Wilmore, KY

1877: (Bridge Hunter) A cantilevered truss
1911: (Bridge Hunter; Historic BridgesHAERSatellite)
The original bridge was opened by President Rutherford B. Hays in 1877. At that time, at 275' tall, it was the highest railroad bridge in the world. Gustav Lindenthal designed the 1911 replacement. The track of the new bridge was 33' above the 1877 track so that the new bridge could be built around the old one while the old one continued to carry traffic. It was double tracked in 1929. Until the 1950s there was a walkway on the west side of the bridge because excursion trips were run to the bridge until the 1930s. [Bogart]

In this photo, the new bridge has been opened but they have yet to remove the old truss.
Henri Charles shared
[1877 Bridge Hunter identifies this as "Louis Edward Nollau High Bridge Photographic Collection, University of Kentucky."]

We can see one of the suspension bridge towers that Roebling started in 1851 for a different railroad. The Panic of 1857 terminated the construction of that bridge. When the original railroad resumed construction, they picked a different route that had a lower crossing of the Kentucky River. The CNO&TP acquired the charter for this route and finished a bridge. [Bogart] "It is the first cantilever bridge built on the American continent. The large twin towers were torn down in 1929." [Anonymous comment] The towers were removed when the bridge was double tracked. [Ed Hollowell comment]]
Elmer L. Foote Lantern Slide Collection, Lexington Public Library via 1877 Bridge Hunter

The longest (1125 feet) and highest (275 feet) cantilever bridge in the world when built in 1877. It was the highest bridge of any type in North America until 1888 when Young's High Bridge was built to 283 feet a few miles away. A new bridge was built around this bridge in 1910-11 which was 308 feet tall, surpassing Young's High Bridge. The 1877 bridge continued in use during construction of the new bridge around it and was only dissembled sometime after the 1911 bridge was in use. The Cincinnati Southern Railway was and still is owned by the city of Cincinnati. Contract cost for bridge was $390,000. Final cost of the bridge was $404,856.58. Cincinnati Southern Railway built and owns the bridge. Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific (CNTP) leased and continues to lease the line from Cincinnati Southern though CNTP is owned by Norfolk Southern (formally Southern).
[1877 Bridge Hunter]

Look at the base of the tower and you can see that the two cranes have started constructing the new tower around the old one. A concrete layer has been added to the cut stone pier.

Louis Edward Nollau F Series Photographic Print Collection, University of Kentucky via 1877 Bridge Hunter

They added temporary supports next to each tower to help balance the trusses while they were cantilevered during construction.
Louis Edward Nollau F Series Photographic Print Collection, University of Kentucky via 1877 Bridge Hunter

Elmer L. Foote Lantern Slide Collection, Lexington Public Library via 1877 Bridge Hunter

HAER KY,57-HIBR,1--1

Ben Childers, Nov 2017

Russell Saunders posted three photos with the comment: "This is High Bridge crossing the Kentucky River near Wilmore.  Very historic, it is an engineering marvel that still carries freight traffic."