|These trees are usually on a dry sand bar.|
Location: N40º 31.612’ W79º 50.747’
This is another, how shall we say, screwing off instead of chores post. I am hoping to make that a hallmark of my retirement. "Well he is supposed to be out cutting the grass, but he is probably taking pictures of some railroad crossing for that stupid blog." On Saturday, April 30th, I had packed my camera in the car to go cut grass at my mother-in-law's house in Monroeville. Curious tool for cutting grass, I know, but I wanted pictures of the Union RR roundhouse turntable before the trees are fully leafed. Well somehow you have to get across the Allegheny River, so around here that means you either cross on the turnpike for a fee or use the Hulton Bridge at Oakmont for free. Free yes, but you burn a lot of gas sitting at lights. The turnpike is probably a deal as long as you are willing to drive to Monroeville, the first exit east. I despise the turnpike, and it has its own set of lights at the Monroeville end. Anyhow, the water has been high this year on the rivers, but having been a working stiff, I always crossed over the bridge in the dark or in a hurry. I don't ever recall of being in a hurry to cut grass so when I saw the high water, I thought what the hell stop and get some pictures. You gotta take pictures of high water when it is high. Parking at the Riverview High School parking lot, I managed to take these pictures. The water has been higher, and it certainly is not flooding, but this is still higher than normal.
The first photo above is looking down stream from the bridge. Those trees are usually sitting on a dry sandbar. Well that is it for the high water photos, but damn, I was still in no hurry to cut grass. I love the Hulton Bridge so mizewell (Pittsburghese for may as well) get some photos of the bridge while I was there. As I walked toward the bank, I rousted out a water bird which I have never seen before. Very white bill, black head and a slate gray body. Very shy, it kept a bush between us so I could not get a good photo. My brother-in-law, the naturalist, ID'd it as probably an American Coot from my description, and I verified it with Google images. One for my life list. At full size you can barely see the black spot on the end of its bill. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology calls this a "swimming rail" not a duck. So it turns out the old coot got to see an American coot.
|The Jonathan Hulton Bridge, Subdivided Parker Pratt Though Truss, 1544 Feet Long, Built in 1908|
|A Gibson Underway|
|Truss Detail, Note Links Under The Deck|
|Massive Stone Abutment|
Note the massive stone abutment in the photo. The piers are also made of stone. Give me those any day compared to the spindly prefab piers that they used on the new turnpike bridge.
|Politically Troublesome Name Plate|
|Zoom of the superstructure. It is rated, sort of like me, structurally deficient.|
|View Down Stream|
|Zoom in on the nun.|
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Allegheny River Navigation Charts
I screen dumped this one showing the pool at the Hulton Bridge. Click on it to view it full size. Item number 5 is the Hulton Bridge. The nun is shown immediately to the left of the bridge on the edge of the navigable channel (white area). Item 6 and 7 are the Turnpike and the Bessemer and Lake Erie RR bridges. Lock & Dam # 3 is denoted by the box with the purple print. Note that north is skewed about 45 degrees clockwise as indicated by the arrow and the latitude and longitude grid. Below is the symbol key, another screen dump of the Corps of Engineers PDF converted to JPG.
EDIT 5-3-2011: I just realized how difficult it is to see the nun in the above chart. I blew it up, touched it up with a brighter shade of red and placed an arrow on an inset of the chart.
|Oh no, this is for the Mon, are they the same for the Allegheny? Yes.|
I love these charts. I am glad that the Corps of Engineers put them back up on their web site. They had removed them for a while after 9-11, as if no one would be able to commits acts of terror on the river without them. Below is a screen dump of roughly the same area in a satellite photo from Google Maps. North is straight up on this image. The Lock & Dam is in the upper right corner, the Hulton Bridge is in the lower left marked with the A.
Image Credit Google Maps, Hulton Bridge
|Green Navigation Light Marking Mid Span|
I am losing track of the trees for the forest. Lets get back to the bridge, well actually more navigation aids. It is a real aid to navigation to not hit the bridge piers with your boat at night. So the U.S. Coast Guard maintains bridge lights. Go under the green light and you are mid channel and safe. The red lights are mounted on the piers. Note the chain on the light. That is for rotating the light fixture upward to the bridge deck to change the bulb. The light post is mounted on an axle. The globe looks blue in the photo and to my eye, but it is green at night.
|Red Navigation Noting Location of the Bridge Piers|
The red pier light has a shield in the back to keep the glare off the bridge.
|The Highest Section of The Truss, Mid Span|
|Zoom In Upstream|
|12 Mile Island|
On weekends, cross the bridge and you can park here at the high school parking lot and explore this bridge. There is a side walk on the downstream side of the bridge that goes the whole way across the bridge. Riverside Park is adjacent to the High School on the downstream side.
And saved for last, my great discovery!
|Click it, then click it again to see the Carnegie imprint right in the middle.|
|Crappy Photo Of The Northern Pike Bridge|
Carnegie Steel became United States Steel in 1901. The bridge was built in 1908 so it was either made with older steel or USS had not changed the imprint. So there you have it, a logo from yester-year that will slowly disappear as time goes on. Anyhow, having searched the Northern Pike Bridge several times for Carnegie and always failing, it was a great find on the Hulton. It will be added to my life list as well. Unlike birders my life list has all sorts of mayhem on it, LSTs, galaxies, and now a logo from an old steel company.
Photos on Saturday instead of cutting grass, blogging on Monday instead of working...what was my objection to retirement?