Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
I had to go upriver today, so I took Adam and his late grandfather's film camera, which Adam has adopted as his own. We found ourselves in the parking lot of the McDonald's in Pomeroy, Ohio, as the Marge McFarlin rounded a sharp bend and went under the Bridge of Honor between Pomeroy OH and the town of Mason WV. Adam's grandmother said grandpa would have been proud.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Run errands for the wife.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Today is the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Silver Memorial Bridge between Gallipolis, Ohio, and Henderson, W.Va. Henderson is a small community across the Kanawha River from Point Pleasant, W.Va.
The Silver Memorial Bridge opened two years to the day after the Silver Bridge collapsed into the Ohio River, killing 46 people. A lot has been written about the Silver Bridge, including by me. This time, however, let’s talk about the replacement bridge.
As far as I know, there was not much talk in 1967 about whether the old bridge needed to be replaced. Sure, it was narrow and inadequate, but the late 1960s was not a time when people thought the old bridges over the Ohio needed to be replaced ASAP. Most of the older bridges were considered inadequate, but it was not considered urgent. Of course, that changed with the Silver Bridge collapse.
After the collapse, the need for a new bridge was obvious. The bridge carried U.S. 35 over the Ohio River, and that was a major truck route between Columbus, Ohio, and Charleston, W.Va. Restauranteur Bob Evans made his fortune on that fact. His first restaurant was a place in Gallipolis where truck drivers could eat and drop their trailers for other drivers to take onto the narrower, twistier roads of West Virginia.
To speed up the replacement process, the design of an existing bridge down South -- Louisiana, I think -- was adapted. The new bridge was to be four lanes, making it the first bridge of that width in this part of the Ohio River. Other than bridges built specifically for the interstate highway system, the new bridge may have been the first four-lane highway bridge between Wheeling and Cincinnati. If there was another, I can’t think of it.
Work moved quickly, enabling the new bridge to open on the second anniversary of the Silver Bridge’s demise.
In 1977, the state of West Virginia closed the Silver Memorial Bridge for a few months so it could repair some cracks in the structural steel. Other than that, the bridge has had practically no serious problems.
The Silver Bridge gets a lot of attention, as it should. But the Silver Memorial Bridge has something worth noting, too: It has been in service about six months longer than the Silver Bridge was, and there is no sentiment that it has outlived its usefulness. Thousands of drivers use it each day with little thought as to its safety or its adequacy. The new generation of bridges, which replaced those built in the 1920s, has stayed adequate far longer than its predecessor.
People driving across the new bridge get two good views of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers. Downstream, you see repair docks and fleeting areas on both sides of the Ohio. Looking upriver, you see the m mouth of the Kanawha River, the historic park at the Kanawha's mouth, the Point Pleasant riverfront park and a 100-year-old railroad bridge over the Ohio. If only the Silver Memorial Bridge had a sidewalk, photographers would be very happy. They would probably grumble over which side it would be on instead of the other. It's just the way we are.
One more thing: As a tribute to what happened 42 years ago, the Silver Memorial Bridge retains its silver color. All other new steel bridges built and maintained by West Virginia are painted green, but the Silver Memorial Bridge is allowed to keep its original paint scheme.
One more one more thing: There is another bridge of this design over the Ohio. Back in 1986, the first time I drove up the river past Marietta, Ohio, I was surprised to see a bridge at St. Marys, W.Va., that appeared to be a twin of the Silver Memorial Bridge. And it was. The old bridge at St. Marys was of the same design as the Silver Bridge. It was replaced with a bridge of the same design as the Silver Memorial Bridge, with one exception. The St. Marys bridge has a sidewalk.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
As the late Willie Wilson, who at the time was manager of Merdie Boggs and Sons at Catlettsburg KY said, these two boats could “talk to the wndows.”
They were the Omar and the Omega. They were built by St. Louis Ship in 1981, and they had two technological innovations, one or both of which produced the rumble and the rattles.
Here was how I explained it in a story in The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington WV on March 21, 1982:
Two new boats are turning the heads of river hands on the Ohio.
They are the M/V Omar and the M/V Omeg, two new vessels owned by Ohio River Co. as experiments in adapting seagoing technology on the inland waterways.
The boats are noted for their engines and their propellers.
The engines are capable of burning No. 6 diesel fuel, a thick liquid that must be heated to be pumped. After being blended with No. 2 diesel fuel, which the boats burn now, Ohio River Co. will spend only about three-fourths as much for fuel as it does for conventional boats. Considering the large amount of fuel a large towboat burns in one day, that amounts to substantial savings.
The other innovation on the boats are the controlled pitch propellers. In layman’s terms, the propeller blades swivel 180 degrees on their hubs. This eliminates reverse gear and also gives the pilot more control over the boats’ movements in tight spots. ...
I boarded the Omega to talk with its steersmen. They both were bothered by the vibration problem. One went about the pilothouse stuffing small pieces of paper into the ceilingtiles to eliminate the rattles. They could reduce the vibration some by keeping the stern fuel tank loaded, which kept the rear of the boat deeper in the water.
As for the propellers, the steersmen praised the boat’s handling.
That was then. The Ohio River Co. is gone, and the boats are owned by Ingram Barge. And the boats have been repowered. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Omar up this way. The Omega has been renamed the Erna E. Honeycutt and spends most of its time on the Mississippi.
They look similar to the Jackson H. Randolph and the W.H. Dickhoner, but the dimensions are a bit different. I try to look at those two when they’re in this area. It’s the closest I get to a visual reminder of what it was like along the Ohio when the Omar or the Omega was in this area.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Somewhere in the earliest of my memories are images of boats such as this one traveling the Ohio River in the early 1960s. One in particular was white with a peach-colored pilothouse. Seriously. But I have no recollection of what its name was.