Sarah Palin's presence in the lower 48 means the Arctic ice cap can finally return.

calendar   Saturday - August 20, 2016

Rule 34 Is For Real

Rule 34 is the internet rule that says that some kind of porn exists for everything. Shoes, puppies, blueprints, Swiss cheese, rare books, anything. And if porn doesn’t exist for it, the mere mention that such is the case will cause porn to be created for it.

After making my previous bridge post, I stared at my work and eventually realized there was a girl in the picture. Hiding half the truss, thanks. Fine. If that’s how the game is played, let’s go. I knew of one picture right off the top of my head. I even knew the model’s name. So to the search engines, and I plug in “Ariel bridge”

and what comes back is ...


Not what I expected, but both awesome and abhorrent in its own right.

Awesome, because what you’re looking at is a bowstring truss bridge, made from both wrought and cast iron (like I just wrote about) and utilizing our old friend the Phoenix Column. This means the bridge is older than I beams, but younger than the Civil War (because after the war the Phoenix Iron Company turned swords into plowshares almost literally and used their cannon building technology to make rigid braced hollow tubing that could be easily assembled on site; ie the Phoenix Column). And this particular bridge is given superb coverage by my fellow bridge hunter Nathan Holth. Awesomer, because it’s a “WIBCO”; a bridge made by the prolific Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio. The bridge now lives in a park in Mt. Vernon Ohio, so maybe our friend Turtler can go and visit. Google found it for me because the bridge is funded by the Ariel Foundation. Figures, right?

Abhorrent because the bowstring truss is very strong, so it was a total diss to just nail the thing to the side of a walkway - not even a bridge, just a wooden path with railings on pilings!!! - to make it look like a bridge. This little arch could support a steam locomotive, even though it’s 140 years old. Also abhorr - ok, not really abhorrent, just a bit embarrassing, because the pictures I was looking for all came back in the search too; every one of them already stored in the back room here at this blog. Oh the photos are out there galore; I’m just the only one who renamed them to name the subjects.

Here’s what I was looking for ... mildly NSFW, plus a few others similar, because this is a Rule 34 post after all.

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/20/2016 at 05:40 PM   
Filed Under: • BridgesEye-Candy •  
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full countered Pratt pony

Yes, it’s finally time for another bridge post.



Counters are the diagonal members running in the opposite direction. They help manage shear stress. By using the full set of counters you get a bridge made of “X"s, which is very good at supporting transitional loads ... like when a locomotive drives up one end of the span, across it, and off the other end. This is also the very best reason to use forged steel components, because steel can handle switching from tension to compression, which wood and iron can’t. Wood is always weak in tension, cast iron is weak in tension, and forged iron is weak in compression.

Too cute ... the model’s name is Bailey. Like the Bailey bridge? Maybe she has a sister named Bridge-ette.

Woo hoo!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/20/2016 at 04:49 PM   
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calendar   Sunday - January 03, 2016

Pull her papers forever

Bridge Killer

Truck Driver Destroys 135 yo Iron Bridge Because She Can’t Do Math


The Lick Creek bridge located in downtown Paoli, Indian took a tragic fall on Christmas Day when when a 23 year old Semi-truck driver, Mary Lambright thought it was a good idea to take her 43,000 pounds of bottled water across the 100 year old bridge. Lambright who was accompanied by her 17 year old cousin in a leased Penske semi abstained no injuries as the time of the accident. She didn’t get out of the situation easy, the Paoli Police department cited her for overweight on a bridge, disregarding a traffic control device and reckless driving of her tractor-trailer. No one was injured at the time of the collapse

The old iron bridge on South Gospel Street in Paoli was destroyed when a truck driver disregarded the weight and height and drove a load weighing over 43,000 lbs. over it Christmas Day.

According to police, Mary Lambright, 23, of Fredricksburg, Ind., was operating a 2015 Volvo tractor pulling a 53-foot semi-trailer loaded with bottled water when she crossed the bridge at about noon. Authorities estimated the load of water weighed around 43,000 lbs.

As Lambright’s truck entered the bridge, the trailer’s top was ripped off due to its height. She continued across the bridge until the weight of the tractor and trailer caused it to collapse.

The craziest part isn’t that 23-year-old Mary Lambright drove her 30-ton truck onto this tiny bridge in Paoli, Indiana built in 1880. It’s that she knew that the bridge’s weight limit was six tons. She just didn’t know how many pounds that was.

Seriously, that’s what she told the police after the crash on Christmas, as they note in their report:

Ms. Lambright was aware of the iron bridge stating she had driven on it several times in her personal vehicle and was also aware of the posted signage “no semis, weight limit of 6 tons”. When asked by Paoli Police why she continued through the bridge knowing the weight limit was only 6 tons she admitted to not knowing how many pounds that was. She was advised the weight of the vehicle at the time of the crash was close to 30 tons.

Lambright, who got her CDL earlier this year, said she wasn’t comfortable backing up her Volvo truck, so she just chanced it on the bridge.

That bet didn’t exactly pay out.

She knew what the weight limits were, she knew what the clearance was, and if she had the awareness of half a jar of peanut butter she knew damn well her load exceeded both. But screw that, she “wasn’t comfortable” making a U-turn in her truck, so she went and did what she damn pleased. And this antique 8 panel pin-connected Pratt through-truss paid the price. The pity of it all is that the fines she will face are minuscule. A couple hundred bucks total, and that’s about it. And a piece of history is destroyed. [ commenters noted that parts of the bridge had to be cut away to allow the truck’s removal. ]

This nice example of an iron kit bridge - it wasn’t steel in 1880 it was iron - most likely won’t be repaired. Not with iron. And not to it’s original specification. They might rebuild it, but it will get “upgraded” with massive steel floor beams, one-piece giant I beam stringers, and welded chords. In other words, it will sort of look like an old bridge, but have the carrying capacity of something modern. And it won’t really even be a truss bridge anymore. These kit bridges were the real thing; every point where the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal beams came together was on an axle pin. They’re completely flexible structures until they’re complete, at which point they become as stiff as any solid structure. That’s the whole idea behind truss bridges, and it was the pin connected chord variety like this one that expressed that engineering principal most honestly. Welded plate bridges are stronger, and they are truss bridges too, but the flexing takes part in the welded plate itself, which is a little cheat on the pure theory of triangular sectional creation.

Oh, and note the upside down deck truss on the floor beams under the bridge. Very rare. This made the road bed a bit stronger, made the bridge a bit lighter, but most importantly it saved a town a couple of bucks and the need to move some really heavy I beams around. Like I said, these are kit bridges. Order one by mail, and the bridge company builds it for you, numbers all the parts, takes it apart, and ships it to you via rail car. Your local workers put Tab A in Slot B and assemble it, no training needed. And it stays up for 135 years. Or longer. Until the luck runs out.

It occurs to me that we have almost the exact same bridge right here in Hunterdon County. Same size, same age, same builder, same highly rare trussed floor beams. Better condition. It’s a beauty I visit every year. I wonder if theirs was put together using hydraulic rivets like ours was, or if they used hand hammered ones?

Thanks to Rich L for the link.

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/03/2016 at 04:21 AM   
Filed Under: • BridgesStoopid-People •  
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calendar   Wednesday - September 30, 2015

Don’t Look Down

China Builds Glass Bottomed Bridge To Thrill Tourists


It’s a bridge to nowhere from nowhere, but with a transparent floor made from real glass and a 590 foot drop to the ground, the “Haohan Qiao” or “Brave Man’s Bridge” in Shiniuzhai National Geological Park​ is the country’s scariest but perfectly safe suspension bridge.

This tourist attraction is not for the faint of the heart.

China has opened a glass bottomed bridge hovering 590 feet above the valley floor in Pingjiang county in Hunan province.
Stretching almost 1,000 feet long, the glass suspension bridge is named Haohan Qiao, translating in English to “Brave Men’s Bridge” and it’s not hard to see why.

The bridge was originally wooden until its conversion using glass panes 24mm thick (about .95 inches) and 25 times stronger than normal glass.


visitors are issued shoe booties to keep the panes clean

Outside of setting records, the glass architecture is meant to minimise any disruption to the surrounding scenery.

“I believe in nature, harmony, balance and beauty. Nature is beautiful as is,” said Haim Dotan, the Tel Aviv-based architect who designed the bridge’s concept. “The Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge was designed to be invisible as possible – a white bridge disappearing into the clouds.”

With a suspension constructed only of two side steel beams, banisters with side-hanging stay cables and a glass deck, the bridge may look minimal – but it can withstand high winds, earthquakes, frost and the weight of 800 visitors at a time.

Of course, if walking across it isn’t enough of an adventure, the bridge also has plans to offer the highest bungee jump in the world, beating out current record holder, the 233m Macau Tower bungee jump.
The developers plan for the bridge to host fashion shows, and they planned a specific area for bungee jumping.



Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/30/2015 at 01:24 PM   
Filed Under: • Bridges •  
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calendar   Tuesday - September 08, 2015

Lockatong Bridge is falling down, falling down

A year after being squashed by giant crane, local bridge will be demolished and replaced

They try so hard to save the old bridges here, but sometimes one gets hurt so bad you just have to let it go.

proper engineering at work: even when subject to more than double the maximum expected load, the bridge didn’t break but only bent

A bridge on Route 519 that collapsed under the weight of a crane more than a year ago is due to come down soon. Demolition is expected to start around Sept. 14, county Public Works Director Thomas Mathews said Friday.

Demolition marks the first visible step in the bridge’s replacement, but much has been happening behind the scenes to move the project forward, Mathews said.

“A lot of preliminary stuff has been taking place,” he said. A contract has been awarded to Tony and Sons construction company, and “shop drawings and prefabrication drawings have been submitted,” Mathews said. “We’re targeting a completion date of April 1, but they’ll be rewarded if they get it done sooner.”

The bridge was not marked with a load limit, however the roads in that area are limited to 40 ton loadings. Somehow a giant crane was driven across the state and over the bridge without travel permits, and it’s 85 ton mass gave this old Warren pony truss a bad case of the bends. For destroying the bridge, which will cost the county more than a million to replace, plus 18 or more months of detours, the crane company was fined ... $3,000.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/08/2015 at 01:08 PM   
Filed Under: • Bridges •  
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calendar   Sunday - December 14, 2014

A Two For One Deal


A small suspension bridge somewhere. Interesting use of a 3rd cable set to stabilize the hand rails, which are actually mounted pony-style to the cross beams under the decking.

And Ariel seems to be pretty well suspended too. Looking good, as always.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/14/2014 at 06:13 PM   
Filed Under: • BridgesEye-Candy •  
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calendar   Thursday - December 11, 2014

Invisible Bridge

You’ve heard about infinity pools, right? The ones where the edge of the pool seems to blend in with the horizon, and the pool sort of disappears ...


Here’s an infinity bridge.


Pretty hard to see, isn’t it? Maybe we should call it an invisible bridge.

Actually, it has the nickname of the Moses Bridge, because it parts the waters as if by magic.

Like everything else in life, it’s a matter of perspective ...


... because what they are calling a sunken bridge actually floats. The bridge is made of wood.


Pretty cool. This sweet bit of architecture spans the moat at Fort De Roovere, a 17th Century earthen fort in The Netherlands.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/11/2014 at 05:17 PM   
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calendar   Wednesday - December 10, 2014

It’s Nowhere on both ends


Peiper’s corner of the world. It’s a bowstring arch box girder pony truss, a pedestrian walkway built around 1885. External lateral pipe struts were added at a later date to reduce vibration; not from the people walking on it but from the ground shaking around it. Earthquakes? No, trains. The building behind it is now a car park, but once was a railroad station. The railroad is long gone, tracks and yards as well, and even the name of the place has changed from it’s original Cheese Hill. Or ceoselJust this bridge remains. I don’t think it even has a footpath. It’s just a bit of scenic ... stuff.

Cities grow and shrink, and always change. And they change the landscape around them, for better or worse.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/10/2014 at 04:38 PM   
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calendar   Monday - December 08, 2014

Part of a two day celebration in honor of a bridge. Drew will appreciate this.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge, spanning the picturesque Avon Gorge, is the symbol of the city of Bristol. For almost 150 years this Grade I listed structure has attracted visitors from all over the world.


Ten of thousands of people have attended a spectacular fireworks display in Bristol to mark 150 years of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The display was part of a two-day celebration for Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s structure, which joins Bristol to North Somerset and was designed by the engineer in 1829.

The bridge joins Bristol and North Somerset and is owned and operated by Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust. It is entirely funded by tolls - which have paid for its upkeep since it first opened to the public on 8th December 1864. We are open and manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year.




Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 12/08/2014 at 12:25 PM   
Filed Under: • BridgesUK •  
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calendar   Friday - March 28, 2014

A Nice New Erection

And a decent size one too, considering that it’s white!

A Bridge Grows In Hunterdon

The new White Bridge Road bridge over in Franklin Township is nearly finished. The old one, an iron truss built in 1886, was a beat up, rotten hulk that not even massive life support could save. So after years worth of designing, funds finding, neighborhood bickering, and a slew of not always sympathetic press, last summer the old bridge went away. And work began on the new one, from the water’s edge on up. New foundations, new abutments, and a new drainage system went in. The pre-fabricated trusses were ordered ... and then winter set in early, and work came to a halt. With nearly all the snow gone by early March, the trusses were delivered and dropped in place with a crane. After that all the beams, stringers, guard rails, feet, straps, and now the deck plating went in. It’s nearly done, save for laying on some asphalt, hooking in some new guard rail, and repaving the road on both ends. And (drum roll please) I’m pretty sure that it’s a real truss bridge. The lower chords are not so massive that they could carry the entire weight themselves. No, the truss is actually doing its job. And the trusses are big enough, just barely, for a road that wide. And that’s a good thing. Because we love our old bridges here in Hunterdon County, and sometimes this has lead to cost saving designs where the new bridge is actually a simple girder span, but with a pretend truss stuck on top, to “make it look right”. Hey, we derive a lot of income around here based on our country quaintness, so it behooves us to pay attention and do things like this project properly.

Click any of the pictures for a much larger version.

View from the West end, showing the 16’ skew. Skew means the sides are offset from each other; from above the bridge is a polygon, not a rectangle.

View from the East end. Note moderate sized lower chords and beams.

A nice view of the lattices and a peak underneath.

Detail view of lattices, decking, guard rails, two piece lower chord

I thought at first they had actually put this together with rivets, but all those bumps are actually nuts and bolts. Which are stronger than rivets, and easier to maintain. You betcha, they’ve built a white bridge on White Bridge Road (when the county painted the old bridge green once, the neighborhood turned up in the middle of the night with gallons of white paint and “fixed” that error!); it’s a real truss bridge ( an alternating verticals Warren pony truss using gusset plates instead of pinned sections ), and it has some actual lattice in it. Lattice - also sometimes called lacing - is the criss-cross strapping used to connect one smaller bit of beam to another one, to make a bigger, stronger beam while using less steel. Back in the day when steel was expensive and labor cheap, metal bridges were made almost entirely of latticed bits. This one has a few real lattices, where the beam is built from two lesser pieces, and several false ones, where a big solid beam was used, and lattice was just tacked on later for show. Both are easy to spot in the last picture.

The new bridge is two generous lanes wide, and I’m sure that it will be rated at at least 30 tons. Which means emergency vehicles can now cross the bridge when necessary, instead of having to drive 5 miles around the other way. Unfortunately, heavy trucks will now be able to cross as well, which is why the neighborhood wanted to keep the dilapidated old bridge. Because nobody wants their quiet street of expensive antique rural homes turning into a shortcut to the highway for big rigs at all hours of the day and night. Although I doubt that would happen here anyway, given that White Bridge Road is sort of off in a quiet corner to begin with.

So there you have it: a brand new modern bridge, built to look like it was made 90 years ago. And I’m sure it will get a nice power washing before the opening ceremony, which ought to be pretty soon.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/28/2014 at 04:29 PM   
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meanwhile, here in Hunterdon

My post on Barnes Wallis, “Winning the war with weeds and seawater: the geodetic airframe” is taking far longer than expected. Just too darn many links and too many interesting side tracks. Like why the Pidgeon Process for isolating magnesium is so bad for Climate Change.

So here’s a picture  of Islamic Rage Boy with a pancake on his head  of the new bridge going up 3 hills over here, the new white bridge on White Bridge Road.


Pretty neat, huh? It’s a half connected Warren pony truss. But what makes it super neat is that the bridge was designed to carry modern loads while still looking like an old time bridge. So note the lacing between the beams, and the extensive use of rivets on the gusset plates. Cool. Because the folks in the neighborhood really really loved their old iron bridge (ca 1898), but it was just too beat up, too rotted away, and too weak to do the job any longer. 

If the rain lets up, I’ll run down to the job site today and get some fresh pictures. For now, here’s a link.

And Barnes Wallis? What a genius. What an amazing natural engineer. If Wallace, from the claymation films featuring Wallace and Gromit wasn’t named in his honor, he ought to have been. Cracking toast, what a brain he had.

Never heard of him? Actually, you probably have. He’s the WWII Dam Busters guy, but that was one of his lesser accomplishments.


On May 16, 1943, 19 aircraft took off from RAF Scampton, Lincs, to fly to Germany’s industrial heartland and destroy the heavily-defended Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams on the River Ruhr.

The Lancasters were carrying 9,000lb of ­“glorified dustbins” – bouncing bombs designed by Sir Barnes Wallis, the “wizard boffin” immortalised in the gung-ho 1955 film The Dambusters.

Almost half of the 113 airmen who took off on that historic mission never made it back.

Hopgood and Byers were among the 53 British, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand airmen killed.

Three others were shot down and taken prisoner while 1,294 people on the ground in Germany were killed – many prisoners in forced labour camps.
“When Barnes Wallis heard about the losses he broke down and cried. He said ‘I’ve killed all those young men’.”

But, Johnny [Sqdr Leader John “Johnny” Johnson] says, Guy Gibson told him: “No Barnes, you didn’t. Without you that raid could never have taken place.”

Dr. Barnes Willis, pictured in front of a Lancaster bomber, perhaps one used in Operation Chastise.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/28/2014 at 01:51 PM   
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calendar   Friday - November 29, 2013

a bridge for drew

Well, I did say I was late on everything.

Note to Drew.

Meant to have this as a welcome back present combined with your Christmas gift. So now I don’t have to spend big bucks on a card cos that bridge I got sold was kinda pricy.

Welcome home. Just in time for winter. Good move. lol.



Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/29/2013 at 11:40 AM   
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calendar   Friday - November 01, 2013

More Fun Than Gnomes Or Flamingos

Nice Lawn Ornament


If it were mine, I’d make sure there was a troll living underneath.

And yeah, this one is mostly local to me, and it’s a nearly priceless bit of history. But nobody pays attention to bridges, so nobody knows or cares.

This one is old. Very old. Before the Civil War old. And while it may not be older than stink, it’s older than Fink (and Howe! Well, in iron anyway), and that makes it nearly one of a kind.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/01/2013 at 07:33 PM   
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calendar   Thursday - October 31, 2013


Galavanting with a purpose

The 7 Bridges of Twin Rivers

Where the Lehigh River Meets the Delaware River in Phillipsburg NJ, Old Bridges Abound

Coming over from Easton Pennsylvania, the 1937 Pennsylvania Petite through truss Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge, in all it’s moderne glory, sits just 200 yards up the Delaware River from the highly unusual 1895 cantilever through truss Northampton Street bridge with all it’s odd decorative bits. 100 yards downstream the Lehigh River pours in from the west over a 12 foot tall waterfall, adding significant flow to the shallow Delaware. Hardly 100 yards behind the waterfall, an old CNJ Pratt truss carries the railway over the closed spandrel George S Smith concrete arch bridge, a nice shallow arch bridge from just before WWI that brings the road across the end of the Lehigh. Less than a stone’s throw to the east, back on the Delaware a 3 span turn of the century Parker through truss brings the CNJ over the Delaware and right up to the Lehigh. From an earlier age, yet only a few dozen yards away, a multi-span Pratt deck truss brought the D&L RR across the river until the late 1950’s or 60’s. Barely 10 feet away an under-slung “fishbelly” Warren deck truss once brought the CNJ line out of PA and into NJ across the Delaware, and may still be in use by whoever owns the lines in this day and age. You can barely see them in the picture of the 3 span Parker, but they’re there, hanging down behind it.

Somewhat incongruously, from a small park on the Easton PA side of confluence, a rather rare Mk III Driggs-Schroeder rapid fire 6pdr 2.244” naval gun from the 1880s watches over the bridges and the waters, in case Somali pirates should someday be so bold as to venture this far. And while the internet may claim that a Mk III was a Hotchkiss, there is just no arguing with the Driggs horseshoe breach design, even if the dummies in the parks system did manage to mount the gun backwards in its carriage.

All in all, it was a fun little trip through history on a gray and soggy late October’s day. Big iron and steel, millions of hand hammered rivets. Rivet-topia. And for whatever problems it might have, that corner of Easton PA is loaded with 1850s-1920s buildings, many with cast iron decorations, that recall an earlier time when the city was a happening place.

image image image image image


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/31/2013 at 07:13 PM   
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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GNU Terry Pratchett

Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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