Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This one I have to see

The states of Indiana and Kentucky need to replace the bridge over the Ohio River at Madison, Ind. The plan was to demolish the old bridge, rehabilitate the piers and build a new one. That would take the river crossing out of service for a year, to be replaced with temporary ferry service.

But a new plan has a new bridge to be built beside the old one, on temporary supports. The existing piers would be rehabilitated while the bridge remains open. Then the old bridge would be removed and the new bridge slid into place on the existing piers. That would cut the outage time to 10 days.

Details are here.

That is something I want to see.

Sunset fun (revised)


When Adam got off the school bus today, I made the mistake of telling him the AEP towboat Buckeye State was headed our way. Because he has not seen this boat from a bridge, we had to go out and wait for it to get to our favorite on-bridge photo spot. He brought his camera so he could get some stills and some video, and I brought mine, naturally.

Before we left, I took a key on a dog tag chain and hung it from the car's rear view mirror. I used it to talk to him about Isaac Newton's first two laws of motion. As we went around curves, the key appeared to move one way or the other. I told him the key was moving in a straight line and it was we who were going back and forth. I used other examples, such as water in a tank truck or air flapping under the tarp on a dump truck to describe the principles further.

Then I explained how a towboat propeller makes use of the third law. As the propeller pushes water backward, an equal and opposite reaction pushes the boat forward. He said he thinks Newton was a swell guy. A few years ago, I had to tell him bedtime stories to tell him about Newton for a week.

Anyway, we saw the Buckeye State first at Kenova, W.Va., at Virginia Point Park.

After that, we went down to Catlettsburg, Ky., to see what we could see. Then we headed for the 6th Street bridge in downtown Huntington, W.Va. By the time we got up on the bridge, the Buckeye State was going  under the West 17th Street bridge, about three miles downstream. As it happened, at that time of day and this time of year, we were close to staring into the setting sun, so we got the boat in silhouette, along with a smaller boat whose name we did not get.

As the Buckeye State drew closer, we got into position to shoot. It's an interesting feeling and an interesting sound to be up on the bridge and see the front of the barges emerge. This time, Adam saw the long shadow of the flag at the front of the tow before I saw the barges. And this is how the boat and its 15 coal loads looked.

After the boat cleared the bridge and we got our photos, we went to a spot on the Ohio side to snap a few more. Here's Adam on the Ohio River bank checking the depth of some soft mud at water's edge.

It's hard to believe the kid turns 11 later this month. It's harder to believe he's more like his dad every day. Poor kid.

For the record, he's wearing the AEP ballcap he was given after he steered the mv. Hoosier State following its christening back in May.

And here's the Buckeye State going under the East End bridge.

Earlier in the day, I saw two other boats passing Huntngton -- the SuperAmerica and the Bruce Darst. I'll try to post some of those photos here in the next day or two.