Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Ironton-Russell bridge

The Ohio River bridge connecting Ironton, Ohio, and Russell, Ky., celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. This month, people in the two cities are celebrating -- I suppose -- the fact that a contract has been awarded to build a new bridge.

Here's another article that sums up the problems Ohio has had in finding someone to build the new bridge within its budget estimates. In short, the Ohio Department of Transportation wanted to replace the old steel truss cantilever design with a single-tower cable stay bridge. But the bids for that design came in waaaay over estimate, so ODOT had a two-tower bridge designed. The low bid for this one came in over estimate, but within the 10 percent leeway ODOT can live with.

A single tower would have been taller and would have dominated the landscape, like the ones at Huntington WV and Steubenville OH. The towers on the two-tower bridge will be shorter.

Back in the early 1990s, when the old steel truss bridge at Huntington was being replaced, the West Virginia Division of Highways bid out both a steel truss bridge and a cable stay bridge. The truss bridge came in significantly lower price than the cable stay bridge, so it was built. A cable stay design would have been nicer, but the bridge as built has a nice sidewalk that offers a great view of the river and the city. And the sidewalk is used by a lot of people.

If you want more information, check out this site. Be sure to go to the bottom to see the comments from people who would like to see the old bridge saved for pedestrian use and historical value and from those who think it best that it come down.

Why red?

One advantage to being 12 years old, as Adam is, is that you wonder why things are the way they are. Old fogies like me tend to have seen so much over the years that we don't ask questions that a kid would ask.

Like, why are most new coal barges painted red? We've seen some that were painted black, mostly with Campbell lettering on them, and Adam says he's seen a photo of a green barge, but why are coal barges painted a red that's almost maroon? His theory is that maroon matches the color of rust, so when the paint wears off and the steel starts rusting, you're less likely to notice.

But now he's wondering about the colors of barges, meaning the question will bug me, too.

More on the Eggners Ferry Bridge collapse (Updated)

UPDATE: A Flicker member who goes by the name of Porch Dog has some photos of the Delta Mariner at the bridge.


Here are some more news items on the Eggners Ferry Bridge collapse. If it weren't so far away, I'd be there right now.

Here's The Courier-Journal's report, which looks to me to be pretty good. The CJ is a Gannett paper. I worked for Gannett for many years. When a Gannett paper does good work, the work is very good. When it doesn't ...

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear promises speedy work to replace the bridge. This AP story gives details on the Delta Mariner's usual route, which takes it under the bridge.

Naturally, that part of the Tennessee River is closed to navigation for the time being.

From WAVE in Louisville: A local captain shares his thoughts on the accident and what it's like to take a boat that size under that particular bridge.

And here's a report from WPSD-TV.