Thursday, September 16, 2021

Lost Point Bridges over Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, PA

1877: (Bridge Hunter)

The referenced HAER record is PA-5, and it says to access PA-3. But I could not find PA-3. Fortunately, pghbridges did find it. Unfortunately, I could not find a link to the source. Fortunately, pghbridges copied the content. Search for ": 1877" in pghbridges. It has the history and an extensive description of the 1877 bridge.

The 1877 bridge was removed soon after it was replaced by the 1927 bridge. The 1927 bridge was replaced by the Fort Pitt Bridge in 1959, but it was not removed until 1970.


LC-D4-13890 [P&P]
Photo by the Detroit Publishing Co. via BridgeHunter-1877
The Point Bridge, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Evidently someone enhanced the above LoC photo. This source has some additional photos.
The original Point Bridge in 1900.

Engineering News – July 8, 1876 reported,“The center span is 800 feet center to center of towers, and the side spans are 145 each in the clear.  The height of the towers above low water is 180 feet, and the deflection of the chain is 88 feet.  The roadway is 20 feet wide with double tramways and one track for a narrow gauge railway; outside of the roadway are sidewalks six feet wide each.  The piers and anchorages are founded upon timber platforms sunk to a gravel bed.  The masonry is of the best quality Baden sandstone.  The superstructure will be the first example of a stiffened chain suspension bridge of long span and will differ considerably from others in existence.” 

This photo clearly shows the amount of redundancy in the tie-bar chains.

Dennis DeBruler posted
While researching the Point Bridges that were in Pittsburgh, I came across this Detroit Publishing Co. photo, circa 1900-15. It shows the importance that riverboats, railroads and street cars once had in that area.
LC-D4-15633 [P&P]
Robert Swenson: Awesome photo…. Waiting for the creeks to rise.
Dennis DeBruler: Robert Swenson So they are waiting for the wet season so that there is enough water in the Ohio River to provide the needed draft. I remembered that this was well before the 9-foot channel project was built. But I never realized how they queued up waiting for the rains to come.
Dale Zubik: Largest Inland Port at one Time


HAER describes this as "a cantilever, arch-truss" bridge.
4. Charles W. Shane, Photographer, April 1970. VIEW FROM THE NORTHWEST. - Point Bridge, Spanning Monongahela River at Point of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA

The two Point Bridges side-by-side in 1927. The old suspension bridge would soon be dismantled.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

I-376 Fort Pitt 1960 Tunnel and 1959 Bridge over Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, PA

Tunnel: (Bridge Hunter; Satellite: North PortalSouth Portal)

Looking at the various ramps on Google Maps, the bridge carries I-279 on the northwestern lanes and I-376 on the southwestern lanes. And I-279 becomes local traffic on the south side of the river. It also carries US-22, US-30 (Penn Lincoln Parkway West) and US-19 Truck.

I discovered this tunnel while looking for the Duquesne Incline because I recognized I-376 as the road over which the W&LE/N&W/P&WV/Wabash railroad had two trestles.  And a tunnel for that railroad is on the other side of the Sawmill Run Valley. Pittsburgh is not only the city of bridges, it is a city of tunnels. 

There are NO shoulders in the tunnel. That must make it rather scary to drive through because they have signs posted to "MAINTAIN SPEED THRU TUNNELS." Does that tow truck always park there so that they can quickly yank any disabled vehicle out of the 3,614' long tunnel?

Because the bridge has two decks of traffic, the northbound portal is higher than the southbound portal to match the heights of the decks on the bridge.
Street View

Title: Fort Pitt Tunnel during Construction
Creator: Pennsylvania Department of Highways
Identifier: MSP285.B011.F06.I03
"Description: The 3,614 foot long, over 28 foot wide Fort Pitt Tunnel opened September 1, 1960, as the last link in the Penn Lincoln Parkway. The Fort Pitt Tunnel groundbreaking ceremony was held April 17, 1957, and the drilling began on August 28. Estimated cost for the new tunnels was $17 million."
"Of the highway tunnels in Allegheny County, the Fort Pitt Tunnels are third in length behind the Liberty Tubes (5,889 feet) and the Squirrel Hill Tunnels (4,225 feet) on the Parkway East."
[$17m is worth $158m in 2021. I can't imagine that those tunnels could be built that cheaply today. There must be other differences in addition to inflation such as the cost of preparing environmental impact statements.]

[One of several construction photos in this article.]

It was "the first tunnel in the world in which portal traffic at one end moves over two different levels. The northern portals are vertically offset to allow traffic to mesh with the double-deck construction of the accompanying Fort Pitt Bridge."
"Inbound traffic crosses the bridge on the upper deck. Outbound traffic uses the lower bridge deck and passes into the tunnel portal approximately forty feet lower in elevation. The outbound bore gradually rises to meet the elevation of its neighbor so that the southern portals are equal in elevation."
"An antenna that ran the length of each shaft, powerful enough to pick up both AM and FM radio, something new at the time for Pittsburgh motorists. Four huge blowers at each end keep the tubes clear of exhaust fumes....A control room at the southern portal has television screens to monitor traffic and a large panel with dials and switches that operate the various electronic functions. The use of television to monitor tunnel traffic was also believed to be a world first."

"Nicknamed "Jumbo" this $130,000 34-ton truck with mounted drilling platform was used to bore through Mount Washington."
The caption of a photo of the Jumbo at the tunnel face states:
"Boring began on August 28, 1957, using twelve pneumatic hammer type drills, mounted on "Jumbo's" platform."

The tunnels were dug from the south portal to the north portal.

"The Fort Pitt Bridge and Tunnels (circa 1960.)"
"When the tunnel opened the average usage was 40,000 vehicles per day. By 2018, that number had risen to 150,000." There are proposals to add two more bores to help alleviate rush hour traffic jams.
[Note the 1927 Point Bridge in the background that is being replaced by this bridge.]

Fort Pitt Bridge

Street View

Street View

Street View

Title: Fort Pitt Bridge
Creator: unknown
Identifier: MSP285.B008.F18.I02
Description: View from Mount Washington showing the Fort Pitt Bridge under construction and downtown in the background. The Fort Pitt Bridge was opened on June 19, 1959. It was opened to traffic 15 1/2 months before the Fort Pitt tunnels were opened. The length of the main span is 750 feet with a total length, including longest elevated ramp, of approximately 1217 feet. The height of the deck is 47.1 feet at the northern pier.

"Designed by engineer George S. Richardson, the Fort Pitt Bridge is a steel, double-decked tied arch bridge that spans the Monongahela River. It is the world's first computer designed tied arch bridge, and at the time of it's dedication the only bridge of its type in the world. Preliminary test boring for the piers began in January 1953 and actual bridge construction began in January 1956."
[This is one of several construction photos in this article. I chose this one because it provides another view of the Point Bridge in the background.]

[An arch requires quite a bit of falsework until it is closed.]


It was painted Aztec Gold in 1980-81. "Beginning in 1993, the Fort Pitt Bridge and Tunnels underwent an eleven-year rehabilitation. Done in stages, the $200 million project began with the replacing of the granite and metal facades on the tunnel portals, then proceeded to a complete renovation of the bridge and associated ramps." [BrooklineConnection-bridge]

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

1877 Duquesne Incline and Fort Pitt Tunnel in Pittsburgh, PA

(Bridge HunterSatellite)

M'ke Helbing shared a Metrotrails photo
Historic Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Originally steam powered, the Duquesne Incline was built to carry cargo up and down Mt. Washington in the late 19th century. It later carried passengers, particularly Mt. Washington residents who were tired of walking up footpaths to the top. Inclines were then being built all over Mt. Washington. But as more roads were built on “Coal Hill” most of the other inclines were closed. By the end of the 1960s, only the Monongahela Incline and the Duquesne Incline remained.
In 1962, the incline was closed, apparently for good. Major repairs were needed, and with so few patrons, the incline's private owners did little. But local Duquesne Heights' residents launched a fund-raiser to help the incline. It was a huge success, and on July 1, 1963, the incline reopened under the auspices of a non-profit organization dedicated to its preservation.
The incline has since been totally refurbished. The cars, built by the J. G. Brill and Company of Philadelphia, have been stripped of paint to reveal the original wood. An observation deck was added at the top affording a magnificent view of Pittsburgh's "Golden Triangle", and the Duquesne Incline is now one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.
I got the date of 1877 from this YouTube video:

It operates every 15 minutes [PortAuthority]. and it is 400' long. [TripAdvisor]

Monday, September 13, 2021

1964 90mw Eufaula Dam and Lake on Canadian River in Oklahoma


Eufaula Lake is also (more commonly?) called Lake Eufaula. It is the largest in Oklahoma and one of the largest man-mad lakes in the world. "Congress approved construction of the Eufaula Dam which serves to provide flood control, water supply, navigation and hydroelectric power generation to the area. Built from concrete and earthen embankment the dam is 3,200 feet long and 114 feet high. Constructed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, it has three turbines and a capacity of 90 megawatts....With beautiful scenery and 800+ miles of shoreline, Lake Eufaula is a favorite spot for fishing, boating, skiing, kayaking and other water activities. Lake Eufaula attracts more than 2.5 million visitors annually and offers several camping and cabin options for visitors."   [PorchesAndPastures] (I'm surprised to see navigation specified as one of the functions of the dam since there are no locks.)

USACE-Facebook, Jun 23, 2015
[48,000cfs at an pool elevation of 597.60'.]

I found this dam when I noticed on a map that Big Boy was going across just the lobe of a huge lake. In fact, Lake Eufaula is the largest lake in Oklahoma.
River Rail Photo posted
Yoo·faa·luh. While Union Pacific Railroad's 4014 (Alco, 4-8-8-4) has been traveling around the system, it has seen all kinds of terrain from mountains to canyons. One of the more distinctive views could be enjoyed on Thursday, August 12, 2021 as the "The Big Boy" skirted the shores of Lake Eufaula near Crowder Point, Oklahoma. Drivers on the parallel road, U.S. Route 69, were turning their heads as the unique power sped along by the water towards its last stop for the day in McAlester, Oklahoma.
USACE, cropped via EncyclopediaBritannica
"The Eufaula Dam (1964) on the Canadian River impounds one of the world’s largest man-made lakes, covering 102,500 acres (41,500 hectares)."

USACE via PublicRadioTulsa (This also has a video)
[Releasing 172kcfs in 2015]

In the chart below I wondered why they would be releasing (spilling) 31cfs rather than saving it for hydropower. Then I realized that 31cfs is basically a gate leak. Then I noticed the Gate Settings of "1 Sluice Gates open 0.1 FT." So it is a leak because they can't close one of the gates all of the way. I'm surprised that the USACE uses "sluice gate" as a generic term for spillway gate because sluice gate is also a specific type of gate design. The photo at the top of these notes clearly shows that this dam uses Tainter gates.
USACE, Part 1

USACE, Part 2

USACE-map via TravelOK at 50%

I zoomed in on an area that includes the town of Eufaula because I wanted to confirm that there is no light green area along the shore of that town. That means the town is built on enough of a hill that water won't come inland as the lake level rises during a flood event. I included Fourtainhead State Park and the Eufaula WMA (my guess: Water Management Area) to illustrate an area where any facilities that are built there have to be designed to tolerate periodic flooding. The economy of the area has become dependent on 2.5 million visitors per year and bass fishing. So the USACE has to listen about small businesses hurting whenever the dam does its job of flood control. I read a comment asking why the USACE doesn't open the gates before predicted rain storms to reduce the flood levels. USACE did not respond in public but invited the commentator to come take a guided tour. Is the bottom of the gates at the conservation level? If so, they can't lower the lake further in anticipation of a flood event.  The first paragraph of these notes lists the four functions of the dam as intended by Congress. Note that the list does not include recreation. But a recreation industry develops around USACE created lakes and the locals think that is the function of the dam. Many small businesses are dependent on the lake level to not dramatically exceed the conservation level. They should contribute to a fund during the good times so that they can withdraw from that fund during the flood times. From what I have seen of YouTube search results, 2015 and 2019 were the recent years that had floods.
USACE-map via TravelOK at 100%

The lake level exceeded 595' twice in 2015. In February, it was within a third of a foot (0.32') of topping the dam and caused releases of 171 kcfs. "In 1990, the Lake Eufaula lake level reached a record level of 599.70 feet, just barely squeaking under the maximum level of 600 feet and nearly an amazing 15 feet higher than normal. The United States Army Corps of Engineers had to release 235,000 cubic feet per second to control the flooding by opening the Eufaula Dam’s gates up 18 feet." [PorchesAndPastures]
uslakes-level via uslakes

Screenshot, May 13, 2015. Gates at 3' passing 48 kcfs but they didn't give a lake level.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

1881 CSX/C&O Ashland Tunnel in Ashland, KY

(Bridge Hunter; Satellite, see below)

LRLconstruction via BridgeHunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)
"The Ashland and Princess Tunnel project located in Ashland, KY was awarded to LRL in order to improve the vertical clearance by rock notching, arch liner removal and replacement with steel fibered reinforced shotcrete and rock dowels. LRL also installed temporary erosion controls and storm water management as required by local and state regulations. LRL also removed and replaced the track ballast throughout the tunnels and surrounding area."
[Note the 2012 date. The construction work tore out this portal. That is why Steve's photos below looks different.]

Using Facebook comments, Steve confirmed this is the tunnel in his photos below.
38°28'43.0"N 82°39'35.9"W




Steve Russo posted seven photos with the comment: "This tunnel runs for a very short distance (maybe a 1/4 mile) under the streets of Ashland, KY. I took these pics on March 5, 2017. At that time there was a CSX train that would run maybe once a week through it. Not sure if it is still in use."
[According to some comments, the interior looks weird because they exploited a natural cave.]







Saturday, September 11, 2021

1908 UP/MoPac and US-190 Bridges over Atchafalaya River in Krotz Springs, LA

MoPac: (Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; Satellite)
1934-1986 US-190: (Bridge Hunter; HAER)
1973(w/b, north side)+1988(e/b, south side) US-190: (Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; Satellite)
The 1988 w/b bridge reused the 1934 piers.

The railroad bridge contains the cantilever truss and the road bridges are built with continuous trusses.

MoPac Railroad Bridge

Street View
In the mid-1920s, the Louisiana Highway Commission entered into an agreement to pay the railroad company - at this point, the Missouri Pacific Railroad (Gulf Coast Lines) - $25,000 per year to share the bridge with auto traffic. However, there were delays in constructing the adjacent portions of State Route 7 (now US 190), then known as the Evangeline Highway. As the highway neared completion, the railroad bridge was surfaced with asphalt and opened for auto traffic on September 1, 1930. Auto traffic was discontinued in April 1935 with the opening of the original highway bridge just upstream. [BridgeHunter-MoPac]

 A desire to dredge and expand the capacity of this river required expanding the bridge with a new 721 foot extension. This extension took an unusual form. A three span cantilever structure was built, but unlike most 3 span cantilever bridges, the center span was designed as the anchor span while the end spans were cantilever arms. These cantilever arms each held one of the original fixed 1908 Double-intersection Warren through truss approach spans, turning these former simple truss spans into half-suspended spans. The project took place from 1938-1940. [HistoricBridges-MoPac]

Judging by the trees on the right, the river was running high.

Street View, Apr 2021

Photo by Jeff Dubea via BridgeHunter-MoPac
Taken from a boat trip in October 2017. The US 190 bridges seen in background.

I saved a satellite image to record that they have recently done some maintenance work on the railroad bridge. HistoricBridges-MoPac indicates that the rehabilitation was done in 2019.

Travis Gordon posted
August 19, 2021
UP 4014 crosses the Atchafalaya River in Krotz Springs, Louisiana.

[Renaming the road bridge in 2015 to be the "Frank and Sal Diesi Bridge" appears to be a monument to nepotism----father and son were president of the Port Commission.]


1934-1986 US-190 Bridge

HAER LA,49-KROSP,1--1, cropped
1. VIEW, FROM SOUTHWEST, OF ELEVATION - Krotz Springs Bridge, Spanning Atchafalaya River, Krotz Springs, St. Landry Parish, LA

"This bridge is a K-truss bridge and is one of six bridges of this truss type in Louisiana [in 1983]. The K-truss type is virtually non-existent outside of Louisiana." The War Department "insisted that all channel piers be carried down to a minimum depth of one hundred feet below low water and also insisted that no mattress protection work be constructed around these piers on the bed of the river. Their reasons for these requirements were based on the supposition that the Atchafalaya River would be used as a relief floodway for the excess water from the Mississippi River and would, therefore, be subject to additional widening and deepening due to the steep hydraulic gradient. This is especially true at Krotz Springs, where the river had increased its cross sectional area approximately 100$ in the 40 years before the bridge was constructed....The type of piers that were constructed were cylindrical in shape and extended approximately 140 feet below low water. As this death was beyond the limits to which men can safely work under the pneumatic process of pier sinking, and it was most desirable to penetrate the river bed by this method to a depth beyond where obstructions such as sunken logs, barges, etc., might be encountered, a combination of pneumatic and open sinking was employed. In this way, the piers would be carried to a depth of approximately 100 feet below low water where the roof of the air chamber would be removed and the pier carried down to the depth desired by open dredging methods. The natural ground elevation at the site of the two back piers was approximately 30 feet above low water elevation and, consequently, these two piers were sunk to a penetration of approximately 170 feet in material, varying from gumbo clay through silt and sand to gravel. One of these piers was sealed with a tremie when the water elevation was about 33 feet above low water stage or, in other words, at a depth of approximately 173 feet." The K-truss is not as efficient as the Warren truss. [HAER-data] The work expended on the piers paid off because they were reused for the 1988 bridge.


Jared comment on BridgeHunter-1973

[The 1973 span is on the left.]

Frank and Sal Diesi Bridge

A John T. Dauzat photo via BridgeHunter-1973
[This is looking east so the 1973 bridge is on the left and the 1988 bridge is on the right.]

I used this view of the southern span from the northern span to confirm the above view is looking east. Because of the levees, you can't get decent street views from the side roads.
Street View

Another view looking east. The truss of the 1988 bridge is unusual because it used the old piers. Historic Bridges describes these two bridges even though they are not historic as an example of how truss bridges have become ugly. As a taxpayer, I don't mind the simplified look of modern trusses. At least they are trusses instead of cable stayed bridges.
Courage and The Wheel of Progress, Jun 2019

A view looking West.
Betsy R. via FourSquare