A sheave returns to Canal Park

Aerial-Bridge-Pre-1929-ViewDuring the winter of 1999-2000, the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was given an extreme makeover, replacing some equipment used in 1929 to update the original Lift Bridge at right (1901-1905). That initial version used a gondola to carry people, horses and automobiles from the mainland to Park Point. In 1929, the gondola was replaced by a roadway that could be lifted to allow ships to go under it on their way to deliver and/or load cargo from the port. When the bridge went down, automobiles, people, bikes and anything needed by the people on Park Point were able to cross.
A sheave is a wheel with grooves in it. Four of them were installed in 1929 at the top of the new towers that were built inside the old bridge to support the roadway as it went up and down. Cables attached to the road way at one end and to a large counter weight at the other would run in the grooves of each sheave. When the bridge went up, the cables allowed the counter weight to go down.
In the 1999 update, all four sheaves were replaced, one of them seen above just being lowered on December 31, 1999. (That was just hours before the new millennium would be ushered in while the world waited to make sure it would still be there. Some experts predicted that computers would crash all over the world since they were not built to handle a date that did not start with 19.)
Three of the sheaves were sent to the scrap yard, as you see in the picture here. The other one was to be put on display in Canal Park as part of the 100th anniversary of the bridge. That was 17 years ago.
Finally, this morning (November 20, 2017), the Corps of Engineers brought that sheave over and deposited it close by the south tower on a concrete patio that was built to hold it. From there, you can look up to the top of the tower to see the new (now 17 years old) sheaves in action.
Above, a truck arrived on January 21, 2000 from Alabama with one of the 4 new sheaves.

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge lifts for 2 boats

On September 27, 2015, the Aerial Lift Bridge made a lift for 2 boats, the Tim S. Dool, arriving here with cement to discharge, and the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr., leaving with coal.

Kayla’s picture

My friend Kayla Currens, from Rockford, Illinois, took this picture of the American Integrity this morning (August 1, 2015) as she came into town to load 66,000 tons of coal for Detroit Edison’s power plant in St. Clair. It is the boat’s 15th trip to the Twin Ports this season; she made 22 visits last season.

HHL Amur, under Bridge, into slip

hhlamurdavecampbelljuly17201-1 hhlamurdavecampbelljuly17201-2
The HHL Amur arrived under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on Friday afternoon, July 17, 2015 at 1:45 with wind turbine blades on her deck. She is now discharging them at the Port Terminal. (Two images above courtesy of Dave Campbell; click pics for larger versions)

Missed the bridge by seconds but phoned it in

I have a really tough job. Every day in the summer I have to figure out how to cross the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge to deliver my daily newsletter to my good friends (and advertisers) at the South Pier Inn. Or I should say, how to time my trip across so I can deliver the papers and get back before it goes up again.Today, Sunday, July 5, 2013, was not my best day for timing my sprint. On the good side, the John D. Leitch was set to enter the Superior entry to load iron ore pellets at the BN but had a change of heart and perhaps more to the point, needed to get fuel at Calumet so she decided to come in using the Duluth entry. My readers would be able 2015-0705-2056to see her come in and better yet, I found out about it before I printed the paper.Next challenge, I went out to take my run across the bridge to the Inn, at about 10:23 this morning, knowing that I would have enough time (8 minutes) to get across and back before the bridge went up to let the Vista boat come in at 10:30 (the bridge only goes up on the half hour for smaller vessels). I started across. After all, this was my 46th issue of the summer and I had the pattern down good. I could make it across and back in 8 minutes, if no one wanted to talk to me. As I approached the bridge, I saw the Leitch way out there and the Vista boat  2015-0705-2068approaching the Duluth piers. I stopped and did some mental calculations (not my strong point, as you will see). The Leitch was far enough out there that I had time (I thought) to deliver the papers and get back again before the bridge went up for the Vista boat and maybe the Leitch too. So I started to run across, ran into the South Pier Inn, threw my papers on the counter and ran out (luckily, no one wanted to say hello). I had 3 minutes left, I started to run, just as I arrived at the new light they installed, it turned from walk to stop. I thought I still had enough time to cross, since I still had 2 minutes left before she went up. But I thought about the clean record I have had for the last 15 years. The bridge has never yelled at me, as it sometimes does and someone tries to beat the system. I stopped, said a bad word and turned around.

I decided to take a walk down to the water behind the Hotel; might as well get some exercise since I could not get back to take a picture of the Leitch. We don’t see her so much these days. I ran into 20100806_3126Dale and Bette Sola, the owners of the hotel. They were out back tending to their wonderful garden. I started to tell Dale (at right, taking me for a ride on his luxury liner) my sad tale. He added to it by reminding me that it was too bad I didn’t have my camera since the light is better on that side of the bridge in the morning. I felt worse, then realized I had my iPhone on my hip; it had a camera in it. Most of the world knows that but I keep forgetting since I am a snob about taking pictures with a phone.

But it was a chance to turn defeat into victory. I phoned the pictures and the Leitch went by, I crossed the bridge and started to write this. Above you see the symbols, thanks to Dale, of my victory, the work of my iPhone. Now I just have to remember to get my finger away from the lens when I take an iphone picture.

3 Chiefs

Dave Campbell, Chief operator on the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, LCDR Anthony J. Maffia, Commanding officer Coast Guard cutter Alder and Vanta E. Coda II, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority are just outside the bridge on the Alder enjoying the almost warm weather this morning (March 12, 2015).
Listen as we salute the bridge while going out to the lake. You will first hear a warning they gave us just before blowing the whistle; I think it says, “Ears on deck,”  meaning hold your ears.
The Alder was the first vessel to go under the Lift Bridge this season.  That gave a chance for Campbell to go under the bridge.  He has gone up with the bridge thousands of times; this was only his 3rd time to go under the bridge.
Below, we are just about to leave the ice and go for a short trip on the open water of Lake Superior, about 5 miles out.
The temperature was pretty warm for March 12, but inside the pilot  house, where the smart people stay, it was nice and warm.
We returned using the track we had opened up on the way out; notice the wind was already moving it around; we left a straight track behind us.
Some of the bridge operators had to say hello to the boss as he passed under them.
Great Lakes Towing Company tugs North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana and Minnesota are already in open water. Behind them, the American Integrity spent the winter at the Port Authority dock at Holcim Cement.
The Mesabi Miner has been at Midwest Energy Resources for the winter. With no cargo, she is high in the water (ice) but will soon be loading coal and will likely be the first commercial boat to depart the port within the next week.

Is that water out there??

Taken on March 2, 2015

Indiana Harbor here for more coal

The Indiana Harbor comes under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on December 29, 2014. I am waiting for the world’s largest Christmas ‘tree’ to come down but at least the leaves are off the trees that frame this shot in warmer weather. This is her 26th trip to the Twin Ports this season. After fueling at Calumet, she will load 66,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy Resources for the St. Clair electrical generation plant of Detroit Edison.

Backwards under the Duluth Lift Bridge

The CSL Assiniboine went under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge this morning(August 11, 2014)backwards. Such a thing is not easy to surmise from the photo above but have you ever seen the Lift Bridge down with a boat in the ship canal going forwards. Either way, check out the video above.

Mesabi Miner In



Cold day in Duluth (-15 F, wind chill–34 F)

The Baie Comeau arrived this morning at 9:20 so she could share our beautiful weather with us; she will also load iron ore pellets while she is in town.
Two Great Lakes tugs helped her get through the ice. That is the St. Clair at her winter layup dock at the Port Terminal on the right.

Two offices, up and down, back and forth

Photo Monday, November 04, 2013 027Every week or so, these two guys work closely together, but until today (November 4, 2013), they had not  met. Dave Campbell (right) is the new chief bridge operator. He works in that little house that hangs in the middle of the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. His job is to make sure the Bridge goes up when a vessel comes under the Bridge. And when the bridge goes up for a vessel, the little house goes up too. His job is horizontally stable however. (picture, above right, taken in the pilot house of the Tregurtha on November 4, 2013. Picture below taken on July 30, 2006)
Tim Dayton (left) is the Captain on the Paul R. Tregurtha. His office is in the pilot house at the top of the boat. His office does not move vertically very much, but it covers a lot of ground moving horizontally between the Midwest Energy Resources coal dock in Superior and the several Detroit Edison power plants where he delivers his cargo of coal. It takes about a week to load in Superior, take a trip down to Detroit to discharge the coal and then come back to the Twin Ports for more coal. So about 4 times a week, Tim’s office at the top of the Tregurtha goes under the Lift Bridge just below Dave’s office in the little house now high up in the air.

New boss in town

When the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge goes up for the arrival of the Philip R. Clarke this morning (May 17, 2013), Dave Campbell (right) will be in charge and Ryan Beamer (left) will be home working on the next chapter in his life. It is an historic day and where better to read about it than at Zenith City Online.

Bridge from web cam in window


Merry Christmas Federal Sakura

The last saltwater ship of the season, the Federal Sakura, arrived last night (December 17, 2012) at 7:56. She was of course greeted by the annual Bentleyville Christmas light display in Canal Park.

Hermann Schoening here

The Hermann Schoening arrived Duluth on December 13, 2012 (below) to load grain at CHS2 in Superior. It was her first trip to the Twin Ports.

Aerial Bridge down on Wednesday for 6 hours

The Aerial Lift Bridge will be closed to vessel traffic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 to allow workers to replace an electrical switching assembly. The unit will be installed to ensure operation of a backup diesel generator in case normal power is lost. (from the City of Duluth)

Looking through the Aerial Bridge at night

Last night, Wednesday, October 24, 2012, at about 10:15, I saw two ships at anchor as I looked through the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. I think the Atlantic Erie is to the left, and the Pochard to the right. The Atlantic Erie is waiting to load coal at Midwest Energy; the Pochard is waiting to load grain at CHS. The Atlantic Huron is out there now (Thursday morning) as well as the Mandarin. (Let me know if you think these two ships might be other than the above; after all, it was dark out there) You can see the beginning of Bentleyville a the lower right; they have already erected the metal Christmas tree and were testing some lights last night. Remember, it is exactly 2 months before Christmas. Click here to see more pages featuring the Aerial Lift Bridge.

Garganey waits at anchor in Duluth

  Sunrise on August 14, 2012 found the Hong Kong flagged Garganey at anchor off the Duluth piers. She is named after the duck of the same name. The duck can be found in Europe and Asia in the summer; in winter, they fly down to South Africa and India. In August, 2008 and again today, the ship was in Duluth. In 2008, she loaded bentonite. Today she is here to load spring wheat for Savona, a port on the northwest coast of Italy. 
  The ship is owned by a company in Hong Kong and is currently under charter to Canadian Forest Navigation, commonly called Canfornav. She may come in late this afternoon and go to CHS in Superior. The crew, all from mainland China, will load on Wednesday and may depart the Twin Ports for Italy Wednesday night.

Thanks to Dennis O’Hara

dennisoharaamericanintegrityLate last evening at 20:45, as the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was lifting for the 1000 foot American Integrity, the bridge lost power and the alert crew of the Integrity made a go-around and re-entered once the power was restored.
Had the crew and Bridge Operator not done a superb job in dealing with this emergency, a catastrophe would have occurred in front of a crowded Canal park.
This video will show the first attempted entry and the go-around.

The Marietje Marsilla departs Duluth

Watch Marietje Marsilla come into Duluth

Watch the Duluth Pilot boat take the pilot out to the Marietje Marsilla in the anchorage just off the Duluth piers, and then come in with us, as we go with the ship under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and move up the Duluth harbor to the Port Terminal

Ebroborg makes a quick trip to Duluth

The Dutch flagged Ebroborg came into town on Friday (May 11, 2012) to get bentonite clay at  Hallett Dock #5. She left with her cargo on Saturday morning (above).

American Spirit leaves winter layup

She battled a thick fog but the American Sprit had no trouble getting through the Duluth Harbor, under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and out to Lake Superior on her way to load iron ore pellets in Two Harbors

Still water in Duluth harbor

alder20120302_0466Three views of the Duluth harbor this morning, Friday, March 2, 2012. Top, a crane barge, owned by Duluth Timber, sank in her Railroad Street slip yesterday. The Coast Guard is investigating any potential spills or other hazards that might be involved. Just off the slip, the Coast Guard cutter Alder was sitting still in the still water (note: I said water, not ice). Below, the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was also pretty still (more water).

Cedarglen cheered by Duluth boatwatchers

The Cedarglen, built in West Germany in 1959 as an ocean going ore carrier, arrived in Duluth on August 18, 2011 to load iron ore pellets. Being a sunny day in August, there were a lot of people at the Duluth ship canal to greet her (above).

The Algowood, just a part of the scene

Algowood seen through the Duluth Lift Bridge while at anchor
The Algowood spent a large part of the day on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at anchor waiting to come in and load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. The Arthur M. Anderson left that dock and went under the Lift Bridge this morning (Thursday, July 7, 2011) at 7:05. The Algowood was already in the harbor, coming in at 6:16 this morning. The Mighty Thomas Carnival is still going strong and being Wednesday night, the sailboats were out racing on the lake.

Flying cameras, Yikes!

Dennis O'Hara and his OktoKopter at the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge I went down behind the Aquarium last night (June 29, 2011) to take a picture of the salt water vessel Orsula coming into port. With tugs helping out and the sun just sliding over the hill behind me, it seemed like a good thing to do. Then I noticed a cute couple watching the ship too. Upon further investigation, they seemed too serious to be simply visitors out for an evening stroll.
Dennis O'Hara and his OktoKopter at the Duluth Aerial Lift BridgeWhen Dennis O’Hara turned and said, Hi Ken, I realized I was not alone, or rather I was alone. All I had was my little camera. Dennis had his wife Debby with him, a couple of interesting boxes and an even stranger, bug-like contraption sitting on the grass in front of him.
Dennis O'Hara and his OktoKopter
Upon further investigation, I realized it was a helicopter. Knowing Dennis, I looked underneath the helicopter and saw what looked to be a camera. A closer look at that box revealed the controls you usually see in the cockpit of an airplane. Despite being a licensed pilot, Dennis had spent a  good part of the winter learning how to fly his OktoKopter.  Octo from the Latin for 8, meaning 8 blades.
OktoKopter takes off to get a picture of the incoming ship Orsula
And the first step for that is to know precisely when to take off so you can get your picture and get back with a safe landing. A slow moving ship can cause a problem so they carefully judge the speed of the ship as it came under the Lift Bridge. I assigned myself the task of announcing that important moment in the countdown to lift off. You can see the bow of the ship just coming under the bridge, the tug ready to help and the OktoKopter just taking off. My work was done, successfully, I might add.
OktoKopter in the air
Having lost the battle to get exclusive pictures of the Orsula, I decided the only thing left was to get exclusive pictures of Dennis and Debby taking pictures of the Orsula with the OktoKopter.
Dennis O'Hara guides his OktoKopter so he can get a picture ofhe incoming Orsula
This is not your average model airplane. For one thing, it will be flying over water so stalling in midair, or worse, is not an option. Nor is your battery running low. Happily all this technology includes a voice that announces how many minutes the battery has left, from the 7 it had when it took off.
Dennis O'Hara hat and his OktoKopter
I thought of one problem, but they had that covered too. How do you know what the camera is seeing. Debby took care of that with a totally separate system; she was watching a live feed from another camera on the OktoKopter showing her what the camera in the sky was seeing. That allowed Dennis to maneuver the OktoKopter into position. He had rigged it to take a picture every 2 seconds after he pressed the button. Can’t expect him to pilot the aircraft and take pictures at the same time.
Meanwhile, the voice was giving Dennis an update of the status of the battery. Click here to go to his web page at Northern Images to see the picture he, Debby and the OktoKopter took last night. His home page at Northern Images Photography is here.
The OktoKopter comes back to earth

After 3 weeks at anchor off the Duluth piers…

The Nogat finally came into port to load grain on Sunday afternoon, May 8, 2011. Above and below, she is assisted by the tug North Dakota as she made her way to the Duluth Storage (formerly Cargill)

The Canadian Olympic knows how to make an entrance!

7:10 am on Friday, April 8, 2011

Foggy April morning in Duluth

The snow is gone, most of the ice has vanished; Duluth is the usual April shade of brown. Happily, this morning (Thursday, April 7, 2011), the fog moved in and prettied the place up a bit. Above, the Vista Star and the William A. Irvin survived the winter in good shape; unfortunately the Blue Bridge is still there, but after a slow journey from the Midwest Energy coal dock in Superior, the Mesabi Miner finally departed the port with 58,000 tons of coal for Presque Isle . It seemed like the Aerial Bridge was the only place the fog lifted even a little bit. I could not see the Miner once she got beyond the bridge, just as I could hardly see her very well as she approached the bridge.

Post blizzard beauty

Alder is ready, the bridge almost

It is Sunday, March 6, 2011. The Alder has been at her moorings since mid-January but is due to go back to work in the harbor on Monday morning.
The tent is off the south tower
of the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and the scaffolding is coming down.  Beneath the steel, there is a brand new paint job to match the one on the north tower.

Ice, wind, cold but not much snow

East wind of Lake Superior attacks Duluth shoreline
It was a cold and windy day on Monday, February 21, 2011, as it was the day before. On Sunday, the tent that was built over the south tower of the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was torn to shreds by gusts of wind up to 69 mph. The tent was there to protect the bridge painters from the wind and cold, and to keep the material they were scraping off the bridge before painting from us. Probably worse is all the ice from Lake Superior that has now filled the north end of the harbor. The ship canal is full of ice; yesterday it was all water. Click here for a short video I took this morning. It is a bit choppy since I was trying to stand upright on ice and keep the camera mostly still. I kept some video in while I walked from my car to my ‘spot.’

A big wind opens a door into the Aerial Lift Bridge front (back) door.

Click here to see live video of the bridge from our web cam at the Duluth Shipping News web site. Click here to see a short video taken this afternoon (Sunday, February 20, 2011).

February 17, 2011; bridge still not moving


This is a test caption to see how it looks and how it will look if i have two lines of text that should force it to the next line

I took this off my web cam that for 10 months of the year is watching the ship traffic come under the bridge. The other two months (as in now), it sits watching the bridge not moving (and we still have folks tuning in). This year, we have the added attraction of the south tower being painted (last winter, the north tower was painted). That should be done by the middle of March for the beginning of the next shipping season. Of course, all the action takes place under, or inside, a tent which renders the shot doubly ridiculous. TV was not invented to watch a bridge get painted under a tent. Actually, radio would not make much of an improvement. But for a niche product like the Duluth Shipping News, it works fine. You may notice the fog around the bridge; it arrived earlier this afternoon, foretelling a big wind and very cold temperatures and even some snow, soon. For two days now, it has been like spring, almost.

The tent is almost up; let the painting begin

The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is almost dressed up and ready to go … I mean to be painted. The north tower was painted last year. It is hard now to see the south tower but it is the same color as the top span, dark, old metal like. The lower span has been painted already, I think. When the painting is completed, by mid-March, the bridge will be  back in balance, paint wise. The tent protects those of us around the bridge from getting contaminated by old paint and whatever else they take off before painting. The tent has the added benefit of keeping the painters dry and warmer.

News notes for January, 2011 …

… as of Wednesday, January 17, 2011
Winter layup in Duluth
The Adam E. Cornelius, American Victory and Edward L. Ryerson have been in port for an extended layup. The H. Lee White arrived in port for winter layup on January 4th, 2011. The American Spirit arrived here for layup on January 12, 2011 and the Roger Blough arrived on January 14th. Both the American Century and the James R. Barker came in on the morning of January 17, 2010; the American Integrity arrived on January 18th. The John G. Munson arrived on Wednesday morning  January 19, and is the last arrival for layup for the winter. Weather will not allow the American Mariner to be as originally expected. You can check the schedule page at www.duluthboats.com for up-to-date information.
Soo Locks According to the Cheboygan Daily Tribune, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted a request from the Lake Carriers’ Association to extend the closing date of the Soo Locks for three days. The Poe Lock will officially close for the season on Tuesday, January 18th so that low inventories of iron ore pellets could be replenished to meet the wintertime needs of industry. The locks traditionally close on January 15th each year.
bridgepainting20100224_1581Bridge painting The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge will close at 6 am on Friday, January 14 so that the south tower can be painted (the North tower was painted last winter. See picture at left). That means all traffic after the 14th and until the end of the season (defined as the time that the last boat arrives in port) will use the Superior entry to access the port. It is anticipated that the bridge will reopen for traffic at 10am on March 14th. Watch paint dry!! You can still watch the paint dry, or at least watch the tent that covers the bridge paint while it dries, at our live 24/7 web cam at www.duluthshippingnews.com/dsntv I may find something even more interesting that paint drying before the winter is over!

The James R. Barker arrives in Bentleyville


Bentleyville pictures; comment question

Bentleyville, 2010, is a great place to catch the Christmas spirit, to say nothing of taking some interesting pictures with your camera, phone or whatever you have in your pocket. Above, you see a picture I took of the Bentleyville version of Duluth’s Aerial Lift bentleyville20101126_7075-2Bridge with an ore carrier about to go under.  I don’t usually talk much about Photoshop;  it has become a bad verb, but it showed me something about the pictures I took over there. In the top picture, it is very hard to see that the real Lift Bridge is just to the left of the Christmas ‘tree.’ I didn’t until I used the 
shadow/highlight tool in Photoshop. That tool magically found the real Lift Bridge, or quite literally brought the real bridge out of the shadows. So it is hard to say Photoshop changed reality; in this case, it found a little more reality.)
bentleyville20101126_7083But at the expense of messing up the nice black sky.  Then I closed in on the bridge and found that my camera saw something I did not see, and I still don’t know exactly what that is. These pictures were taken with a 1/3rd second exposure. If I had caught the bridge in motion, I assume the picture would be blurry.  Does the camera have a memory of what it had seen just seconds or less before; I have no idea.

Two ships at anchor

With 7 days left in November, we have 5 salt water ships in Duluth today, two of those at anchor. Above the Orla, framed by the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, is waiting to come in while the Three Rivers is just south of her (below). Four more salt water ships are expected by the end of the month. The last salt water ship usually departs the Twin Ports by December 18th.

Mesabi Miner passes by the Island Skipper

On Friday afternoon, November 5, 2010, the Mesabi Miner came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge for the 37th time this season, on her way to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. She was coming from Taconite Harbor and at 01:42 this morning (November 6), she departed Duluth for a return trip to Taconite Harbor to deliver a cargo of coal. You can see the Greek flagged Island Skipper at anchor waiting to come in, probably on Monday, to load grain. She was last in the Twin Ports in November, 1998.

Duluth Shipping News webcam ….

… caught the Indiana Harbor departing Duluth late in the afternoon of October 23, 2010. Click here to watch the live action on DSNTV, unless of course there is no boat traffic under the Lift Bridge; then you can watch the cars go over the Bridge

Federal Power through the fog


The Federal Power came into port today through the fog to load distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a byproduct of the ethanol production process. DDGS is a cargo rarely loaded in the Twin Ports, although this will be the 2nd shipment going out this year. In the US, we produce about 3.2 million tons of it annually and ship about 700,000 tons to Europe where it is used for animal feed. This is the Federal Power’s 3rd visit to the Twin Ports since she was built in 2000; she made two trips here in 2007. When finished, she will take her cargo to Ireland.

The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge has been stopped in place …


since she went up for the Joseph H Block. Actually, I presume until shortly after the Block went under the bridge since it did start to go down. Go here to see the live video of the bridge; not a lot of action, but…

The bridge is now operable at 7:33 pm

Power went out during an electrical storm; perhaps after the Block went under and the bridge had started to go down. For some reason, it was not level and at that point, as a safety measure, the descent is automatically stopped. They then had to manually lower the bridge or actually lower at least one side until it became level. That happened and it appeared that they then turned the job over to the computer again and she came down without a problem; cars and people started over immediately and there was lots of horns honking. The bridge even blew her whistle to presumably thank everyone for their patience.

8:10 the Bridge was raised, presumably to test it. It appeared to work.

Two Canadians; one lift of the Bridge

As I pulled into my parking lot this morning, the bridge was up so I scampered across the street to see who was coming. I was not the only one scampering to see the Algosoo. I ran into my office to make sure DSNTV was working (Microsoft sometimes thinks it is a good idea to reboot my computer when I am not there; they always forget to turn the camera back on); ran back out to catch the Algosoo in the harbor, found the bridge still up and there was the Canadian Olympic arriving right behind her. The Algosoo went to the CN dock in West Duluth to pick up iron ore pellets; the Canadian Olympic waited for the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. to finish loading coal at Midwest Energy.

The beginning of the end …. ?

bridge20100329_1979 The sign above made Park Pointers happy today; it is the beginning of the end of the Aerial Bridge north tower paint job. Still one lane though. It is possible the work may complete later today; the bridge may go up for the first time in 2 months and it is even possible that a boat, the James R. Barker, might come under later today. As a friend of mine used to say, “Watch but don’t bet on it.” DSN-TV (Duluth Shipping News TV has the web camera video on the bridge now and probably for the rest of the day. (2:50 pm: Note: the bridge went up around 2:30 this afternoon and the Barker came in via the Superior entry about the same time. Stop by and take a look)

The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is slowly getting undressed for the new season

The 2010 shipping season got off to a dark start when the James R. Barker departed the Twin Ports between the Superior piers at 3:12 earlier this morning. Meanwhile, between the Duluth piers, seen here several hours later, the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge was shedding her winter skin so she could show the world her new paint job and perhaps more importantly, lift herself up to welcome the first visitor to go underneath her in several months, probably before the end of this month.

Ice out, painting almost done

morning view of Duluth Aerial Lift BridgeThe first ship, probably the James R. Barker, should depart here in 6 days. As you can see, the ice is breaking up in the harbor;  most of Lake Superior is ice free. We just need to get the Aerial Lift Bridge painting job completed (note the north tower, still enveloped by scaffolding and tent that protect us from lead and other things that are being scraped off the bridge).

The bridge is in the bag!

The North Tower of the the Aerial Bridge is getting a paint job.