Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ships and Bridges

The area around Crowley's, where Donnybrook is kept in the off season, is fascinating if you like ships, bridges, trains, and the like!  In 2011 Chicago was ranked 36th in the United States in total trade with over 19 million tons of freight passing through.  This surpasses ocean ports such as Jacksonville, Florida and Oakland, California.  A lot more ships than most realize visit Chicago.

Michipicoten about to pass under rail lift bridge
The Michipicoten is a 695 foot Canadian flagged bulk carrier. She was being helped by a tug up the river. It took several minutes to pass under the 95th street bridge, where this picture was taken.

G.L. Ostrander/Integrity heading toward Lake Michigan
A few hours after the Michipicoten passed, we saw this tug/barge combo heading to Lake Michigan.  The 95th Street bridge is up allowing her to pass. 

The barge is the Integrity.  The tug, pushing her, is a separate vessel called the G.L. Ostrander.  The FleetMon app installed on my smartphone showed her destination to be Green Bay with an ETA in just 16 hours.

Fuldaborg in the distance
A few weeks ago Carlos and I spied the Fuldaborg, a Dutch freighter, at Iroquois Landing near where Lake Michigan and the Calumet River meet.

US Steel Railroad Lift Bridge

The tracks lead to this lift bridge and serves the former US Steel South Works site.  The bridge is up most of the time, however Donnybrook had to wait for this bridge as recently as 2 or 3 years ago while a switching train engine passed.

Tug and barge heading up river
There is plenty of barge traffic on the Calumet river.  This tug is pushing a handful of barges up river.  The Chicago Skyway bridge is in the background with part of a railroad lift bridge to the left.

Commercial and pleasure craft coexist

This shows how low the lift bridge is.  The tug had to stop in a hurry as it appeared to be expecting the lift bridge to be up.

Weights on 95th Street Bridge
Mike noticed these odd looking weights chained to the bridge They were on booth leafs on both sides of the bridge. We theorized they are there to balance the bridge and necessary as part of recent bridge work.

The final picture shows the relationship between the bridges.  The raised drawbridge is the Ewing Avenue bridge, currently up for repairs.  To the left, out of the camera's view, is the US Steel lift bridge.  To the right (not visible, before the rail lift bridge) is the 95th Street bridge.  Behind the lift bridge is the Chicago Skyway bridge.
Bridges Everywhere!
You can read more about the bridges in the Encyclopedia of Chicago:  Calumet River Bridges and Great Lakes Shipping at the Boatnerd site.

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