Friday, April 28, 2017

Harris Riverfront Park

I like Harris Riverfront Park here at Huntington. It was built in the 1980s, and it was the prototype for several similar parks that have been built in this area since then.

This is the Robert C. Byrd Bridge that crosses the Ohio River just below the park. Yeah, Byrd got his name on it, but locals refer to it as the 6th Street Bridge, which was the name of the old bridge that it replaced.

This bridge has four lanes with a concrete median wall separating traffic. The posted speed limit is 25 mph, but I don't know of anyone who observes it. I mean, 25 mph on a four-lane bridge with wide lanes and no cross traffic?

The 6th Street Bridge opened to traffic in the fall of 1994. The old bridge, which was immediately upstream, was demolished the following winter and spring.

This was probably the last steel truss bridge built across the Ohio. Unless I'm wrong, every bridge built since then has been of a cable stay design. West Virginia took bids for both a cable stay bridge and a steel bridge for this one. The steel bridge came in at far less than the cable stay, so it was selected.

Here are some evening shots taken from the park with a cheap smartphone camera.

The park is a nice place to hang out on a comfortably warm spring evening. The angle of the setting sun makes it a nice place to get pictures in the golden hour. It's one of my favorite places to get photos of my granddaughter.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A couple of things

About ten years ago, someone decided to recover a rock from the middle of the Ohio River. The rock had some historical interest, but it had been under several feet of water since the Greenup Locks and Dam raised its pool, and probably Lock and Dam 31 before that.

The recovery set off a dispute between Kentucky and Ohio over who owns the rock. At one point, Kentucky insisted the rock be returned to the river.

Now a documentary on the famous -- or infamous -- Indian Head Rock has been produced.

# # #

Another old boat has made its final voyage under its own power. The Fred Way, built by Dravo in 1945, was towed from Henderson WV to the Neale fleet at Vienna WV recently, where it will be used as a landing boat.

It was one of the more distinctive boats on the Ohio. I don't know about anyone else, but I'll miss it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

You can never have too many pictures of the M/V Charleston

As seen from the upstream sidewalk of the Patrick Street Bridge in Charleston WV, the towboat Charleston heads down the Kanawha River pushing eight loads of coal. 

Sorry for the quality. An iPhone was all I had, and I had to zoom in to get this. Maybe I should carry my regular camera with me more often.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Oil and Venezuela

A bit off topic, but an interesting read of how the shipping of oil from Venezuela is collapsing along with that nation's economy.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

AO 102 (Updated)

You never know what you'll see while you're driving on a county road in Lawrence County, Ohio.

In this case, it was a barge at Superior Marine just outside the corporation limits of South Point, Ohio. (As the road marker says, Southernmost point in Ohio. Overlooks two rivers, three states.).

When I saw this, it reminded me of the interview I did with Dale Manns, the founder of Superior Marine, last fall for the Waterways Journal. Then my memory took be back farther.

The "AO" on the barge ID tells me it was built for Ashland Oil. That means the barge must have been built before Marathon Ashland Petroleum was formed in, what, 1998? Barges after that had "MAP" in their ID numbers.

And that reminded me of a news conference I attended in Jeffersonville, Ind., in the mid-1990s. Ashland Oil was announcing its Ashland Petroleum subsidiary was having Jeffboat build a bunch of double-skinned tank barges. Ashland Oil wanted local media to attend the news conference, so it put a bunch of us on a corporate jet and flew us down to Jeffersonville for the afternoon presser.

That was back when John R. Hall was CEO of Ashland Oil, or Ashland Inc. as it probably was known at that time. It was also when Jeffboat and ACBL were owned by CSX. Yes, that CSX. The railroad company that was into several lines of business at the time. I remember asking Hall at the news conference if his position on the CSX board of directors had any bearing on Ashland's decision to have the barges built by Jeffboat. He said no, there was no connection.

Back to AO 102: I don't know what the barge was doing at Superior Marine. Was it being repaired? Upgraded? Dismantled? Converted into something else? None of the above? I don't know. I just know that the folks at Superior have invested a lot of money in expanding their business in recent years, and it was beyond interesting to see a big barge like that hauled out of the water for whatever work is being done on it.

UPDATE: I've been looking at the pictures of this barge closer up. I noticed that it could just as easily say A-Zero-One-Zero-Two as it could A-Oh-One-Zero-Two. So which is it? I don't know. But my memories about the trip to Jeffersonville stand.

If anyone knows what the numbers really are, please let me know.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A reason to visit Cleveland

In college in Athens, Ohio, I met a lot of people from the Cleveland area. Despite having one or two as good friends, I never really wanted to visit Cleveland. But now I do.

This item on a Crain's blog, which links to this article, talks about how Great Lakes boats must navigate a narrow river to deliver materials to industries along the Cuyahoga River. It makes me want to go up there and see them in action ... if there's a way and a place for a regular guy like me to get a good look.

(The first time I clicked the link to the story, it let me in. The second time, it said I needed to have an account. FYI.).

I've begun following a guy on Flickr who takes some pretty good pictures of lakers, and now I want to see them in action on open water. But watching one in action on a narrow river would be pretty cool, too.

Monday, April 10, 2017

15 barges

For the past two weeks, I've spent my days at the West Virginia Capitol covering the Legislature. It's been tiring, and it has kept me away from the river.

But the 2017 regular session ended Sunday, so this evening I was free to go back down to the river.

About nine months ago I was lamenting how I rarely saw boats pushing 15 barges loaded with coal. But around October, that began to change when I spent a day upriver in the Racine and Belleville pools. This evening I got to shoot a Crounse boat coming down river about sunset pushing 15 loads.

Perhaps coal has bottomed out on the river. We'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Still standing?

This is from March 10, on my most recent trip to Ironton, Ohio, to check out dismantling of the 95-year-old Ironton-Russell Bridge over the Ohio River.

This is the tower closest to the Ohio shore. The last photo I saw, the tower on the Kentucky side is gone. If this tower is still there, it won't be for long. I hope to get down there next weekend or the week after to see how things are going.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Catching up

This week has been an unusual one in that I spent it covering the regular session of the West Virginia Legislature for my employer. It looks like I missed a couple of river-related stories during that time.

First, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said the federal government has spent too much time studying problems at Montgomery, Dashields and Emsworth, and it's time to do something about them, particularly Emsworth.

We also learn that there are plans to build a gas-fired power plant at Hannibal, Ohio, near the Hannibal Locks and Dam, on the site of the former Ormet plant.

The week did have a high point, though, when the State Senate adopted a resolution recognizing the 200th anniversary of the ferry at Sistersville, W.Va.