Ten movable bridges (plus two bonus items)
October 2, 2013 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Ten movable bridges for you.
posted by shothotbot (49 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
THIS IS THE BEST THING! MetaFilter, you have made me happy once more!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:18 AM on October 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, the designer of the M60A1 AVLB is so getting my contract to build a huge mechanical spider.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:20 AM on October 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Barton Swing Aqueduct just joined the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on my British canal tour must-see list.
posted by frijole at 10:29 AM on October 2, 2013


They're not the best thing. They're a pain in the ass.
You're late for your dentist appointment because some dude in a sailboat has stopped traffic.
We had one here and finally got rid of it. It sometimes got stuck in the up position.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:44 AM on October 2, 2013


Needs more Heatherwick rolling bridge.

Also, it's not a bridge but if we're doing canal must see lists then The Falkirk Wheel needs a mention.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:52 AM on October 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Having lived in a place that had both moving bridges and railroad crossings near a large factory, the bridges were the lesser pain. Boats don't tend to crawl forward, stop, back up, and repeat eight times while you wait.
posted by Foosnark at 10:54 AM on October 2, 2013


You're late for your dentist appointment because some dude in a sailboat has stopped traffic.

Fuck, like traffic lights. Assholes who want to go a different direction than me and make me wait.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:56 AM on October 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


One of my favorite bridges in Portland is the steel bridge, it is a scissor lift bridge, allowing for the bottom rail section to be raised independently of the upper car deck.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:05 AM on October 2, 2013


That Heatherwick rolling bridge is a little crazy, and I'm only halfway through watching it roll up.
posted by immlass at 11:06 AM on October 2, 2013


Needs more Heatherwick rolling bridge

Oh no! The bridge is going to smash that guy! Lookout Guy!
posted by shothotbot at 11:08 AM on October 2, 2013


Notice that every one of these bridges is outside the United States, except for the #2 bonus item US Army armored vehicle launched bridge. This is illustrative of the fact that we do not get cool bridges in the US because we spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined, so we can only afford run-of-the-mill utilitarian bridges (with few exceptions). But hey, we're making the rest of the world safe for cool bridges.
posted by beagle at 11:22 AM on October 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is illustrative of the fact that we do not get cool bridges in the US because we spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined, so we can only afford run-of-the-mill utilitarian bridges

We have 38 movable bridges spanning the Chicago River's various branches and canals in the city today. And I guess the BP Pedestrian Bridge is cool, if you're into to that sort of branded architecture crap*, but it doesn't really go anywhere, at least not right now.

Yes we spend too much on the military, but we also have some cool bridges. So, pshaw, I guess.

*Just to be clear, this refers to Gehry, not to BP.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2013


beagle: "But hey, we're making the rest white, non-Russian-speaking portions of the world safe for cool bridges."
posted by IAmBroom at 11:29 AM on October 2, 2013


Yes we spend too much on the military, but we also have some cool bridges. So, pshaw, I guess.

There is the now permanently raised Crook Point Bascule Bridge, much loved by at least some of the people of Providence....

It's like the ghost of a moving bridge.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:29 AM on October 2, 2013


It is not movable, but I drove under the pleasing Leonardo Bridge in Norway the other day.
posted by Harald74 at 11:35 AM on October 2, 2013


They're not the best thing. They're a pain in the ass.

The curmudgeon in me grumpily celebrates the curmudgeon in you.
posted by codswallop at 11:49 AM on October 2, 2013


We have 38 movable bridges spanning the Chicago River's various branches and canals in the city today.... Yes we spend too much on the military, but we also have some cool bridges. So, pshaw, I guess.

Moveable does not necessarily equate to cool. I think the context here is relatively new bridges with innovative designs (like all the ones in the post link). Sure, we have some cool old bridges including the all time coolest ones, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. But we built those, and many other great bridges, before we became the cops of the world. Now, it's mostly: how cheap can we get away with. With a few exceptions like the ones I linked. I'm not seeing anything very new in those 38 Chicago bridges. I suppose some of them may be "cool" to bridge groupies, but they're not "cool" in the sense of "spectacular" like those in the post.

white, non-Russian-speaking

Cool Russian bridge.
posted by beagle at 12:07 PM on October 2, 2013


Sure, we have some cool old bridges including the all time coolest ones

The thing about old bridges, they cost loads of money to maintain. For instance, the Wells Street Bridge in Chicago has undergone major renovation recently, the whole thing was replaced - new for all intents and purposes but echoing the historic structure.

In addition - you forgot the Clark Bridge on your short, short, way too short list of cool, newer U.S. bridges.

Regardless, cool is subjective. Movable does equate to cool in my mind. I'll let it go though, since you like bridges.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:16 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


It sometimes got stuck in the up position.

If your bridge remains raised for more than 4 hours, you may wish to consult an engineer.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:20 PM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Awesome post! Led me to look up this bridge in my community (it's perpetually open):
Spring Garden Bridge (Baltimore).
I always wondered why put a bridge there, because on one side there is the whole harbor and Chesapeake Bay. But on the other side it's just a little spit of low-lying water. Why not just run the train tracks around?
Here's the location on Google Maps. Huh, seems there ARE other train tracks that go around. Maybe they needed the extra track for volume?
posted by joecacti at 12:51 PM on October 2, 2013


"The Belize City Swing Bridge is a swing bridge located in downtown Belize City, Belize. It connects the north side with the south side of the city and spans over the Belize River. A touring destination and historical landmark of Belize, it is the oldest swing bridge in Central America and one of the few manually operated swing bridge in the world still in function."

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_Bridge_(Belize)
posted by cephalopodcast at 12:51 PM on October 2, 2013


I think my favorite is the Hörn Bridge, not because I like it but because it's so quintessentially German: ugly as sin, a billion moving parts for no reasonable purpose other than to show off, and breaks down so frequently that they had to install a simpler backup bridge right next to it. Despite all this it is regarded as a "technical masterpiece."
posted by contraption at 12:52 PM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, thank-you. I found those bridges really moving.
posted by bicyclefish at 12:55 PM on October 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


Photos from aboard the M/V American Republic as it winds its way under draw-bridges, lift-bridges, swing bridges, and high-level bridges within a few short miles on its way up the Cuyahoga River.

None of them are cool, but it's somewhat interestesting that all three types of moveable bridges are instanced in a very tightly packed area on the crooked river.

The Center Street bridge was built in 1901 and is Cleveland's last remaining operating swing bridge.

Warning/Guarantee: Bridgehunter.com is TVTropes for bridge nerds.
posted by Herodios at 1:17 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am freaked right-the-fuck out by movable bridges. I lived in San Francisco in 1989 and the briges moved PLENTY during the Loma Prieta earthquake thankyouverymuch.

Really though, kinda cool, kinda freaky.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:21 PM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's a manually operated swing bridge at Southport Island in Maine. A person sits in the bridgekeeper's hut all day, and if you radio ahead from your boat, she'll come out and close the road gates.. then, with her big bridge-opener tool - which is sort of like a giant hex key? - she goes to the center of the bridge, sticks the key/lever thing into its appointed spot in the road, and walks, pushing it around and around -- hand-cranking the bridge open. It is a sight to see.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:12 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


> The Falkirk Wheel

Wow. Now that's some impressive engineering.
posted by mosk at 2:43 PM on October 2, 2013


Very nice! And you see how pleasant it is to have all 12 items on one page?
posted by jontyjago at 2:52 PM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


A co-worker was recently in England and, being a curious guy, talked his way into the control room for the Gateshead Millenium Bridge. The bridge operator, being kind to such requests, told him about the bridge's construction and operation. As a cherry on top, said co-worker had the honor of pushing the button to raise the bridge. He's an engineer, if that helps add context.

Also, bridge #2 looks like a ferocious flyswatter.
posted by Turkey Glue at 3:24 PM on October 2, 2013


I'm not seeing anything very new in those 38 Chicago bridges

Um, those bridges defined their type. That style is known worldwide as the Chicago-type bascule bridge.
posted by hwyengr at 3:27 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


All of these bridges are cool, and some of them are quite lovely aesthetically, too.

Except one: the submersible bridge. That one literally gave me the shivers. It is an abomination. Bridges should NOT sink! Even if it is on purpose. That is just so, so wrong. I am FREAKING OUT over it all over again now, just typing this.

Reminds me of driving over that weird floating bridge in Seattle while the driver, a native, casually informs me that, yeah, this part of the bridge has actually been under the water before! Grglgrlgghhh.
posted by misha at 5:36 PM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


We've got several floating bridges near Seattle, but I think only two that have sunk. (If it's stormy enough, they can seem underwater as waves can break over the bridge, but I think they usually close them when that happens.)

They all have movable sections in the middle for ships that can't fit under the high-rise sections at the ends, though, so they're even slightly on topic in this post.
posted by hattifattener at 7:59 PM on October 2, 2013




It only moved once, but I think it still counts: the Sellwood Bridge. And traffic was never stopped while it moved, so you'll make your dentist appointment!

Note: You will not actually make your dentist appointment because the construction delays are horrendous.
posted by GrumpyDan at 8:17 PM on October 2, 2013


Marvelous!
posted by coaster at 9:43 PM on October 2, 2013


I don't know if this counts, but not too far from here there's a movable bridge that inverses the normal operation. At Big Chute, boats take the lift over the road!
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:01 PM on October 2, 2013


They left out the Queen Emma bridge in Curaçao!
posted by DreamerFi at 12:45 AM on October 3, 2013


Huh, seems there ARE other train tracks that go around. Maybe they needed the extra track for volume?

The thing about railroads is that they are not operated as a single cohesive system. They compete for business. If you want to get from A to B to deliver a package, you need train, and your train needs a right-of-way. If somebody else already built a right-of-way where you need it, you may be out of luck unless you build your own someplace else.
posted by dhartung at 3:14 AM on October 3, 2013


There's also the Rolling Bridge, just around the corner from Paddington Station in London. It doesn't sound that interesting until you realise "rolling" is used in the sense of "rolling up like a hedgehog".
posted by Jakey at 4:29 AM on October 3, 2013


This is illustrative of the fact that we do not get cool bridges in the US

You seem to mean "cable-stayed bridges."

There are a fair number of cable-stayed bridges in the US.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:26 AM on October 3, 2013


I can't get over these.
posted by flabdablet at 6:43 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Give it a moment or two. You'll find a way.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:20 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fuck, like traffic lights. Assholes who want to go a different direction than me and make me wait.

Not even close to a good analogy, tylerkaraszewski. I'm not pissed off at the guy in the sailboat, but at the city that would design a system such that one person can hold up 300 cars for ten minutes at unpredictable intervals. People here hated it. Now you can make your fire truck analogy.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:27 AM on October 3, 2013


I'm not pissed off at the guy in the sailboat

...though he should pay a toll that's high enough that the tolls pay for the difference between a regular bridge and a moving bridge, and that internalize the negative externality of people wasting time and gas waiting for a pleasure boat to pass by.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:33 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


weapons-grade pandemonium: "I'm not pissed off at the guy in the sailboat, but at the city that would design a system such that one person can hold up 300 cars for ten minutes at unpredictable intervals."

Yeah. probably better not to build a bridge at all, so that everyone always has to go the long way round. That way you can predictably suffer the inconvenience and delay whether there's a boat in the river or not.
posted by Jakey at 8:00 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed wgp, please take a walk for a bit?]
posted by jessamyn at 11:13 AM on October 3, 2013


I took a walk, jessamyn, across our new bridge--the one with the high span that allows both sailboats and traffic to pass at any time.
It is always a good idea to allow both directions of traffic, and not arbitrarily shut one side down.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:47 AM on October 3, 2013


Good, now feel free to talk to people here without insulting them and we should be good.
posted by jessamyn at 11:48 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here in the US my favorite is the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge (seen in 8x10 glass plate detail here), which began life in 1905 as a transporter (like #4 Vizcaya Bridge) but was converted to a lifter in 1929.
posted by Twang at 1:54 PM on October 3, 2013


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