A long article about the lift bridge over the Erie Canal being built on Main Street in Brockport. Although the bridge has had some re-builds over the years, it basically looks the same as it was 100 years ago when it was finished.
THE BROCKPORT REPUBLIC
Thursday, April 15, 1915
THE NEW MAIN STREET BRIDGE
A BRIEF STATEMENT OF ITS SIZE, MOTIVE POWER, ETC.
Will Cost About $90,000, To Be Ready on Opening of Navigation.
Lift Bridge; April 14, 2015
Twenty-five years ago this spring, contractors installing the machinery to furnish hydraulic power for the Main street life bridge, were encountering the same difficulties that Contractors, W. S, Cooper & Co., have recently overcome in complementing the machinery pits of our new bridge. These pits have been put down 32 feet, until solid rock was struck, necessitating working through quick sand, gravel and much water. Few realize what this means, as the dimensions of the pit, 18×45 feet do not permit employing a large force of men to combat the difficulties as they are encountered and work at best is a slow preceding. Of the time and expense, the underground work has greatly exceeded that above ground.
However, we are now realizing the tangible results of their tedious work and new lift bridge will be ready for operation by the time traffic is open, on the canal. Where the old lift bridge was but eighty feet long the new one is one hundred thirty feet. It measures twenty-seven feet between the main trusses and has a clear roadway of over twenty-five feet with six foot sidewalks on each side. It has a lift of fifteen feet three inches an d is operated by two 12 H. P, motors either of which is sufficient to operate the bridge. Power is to be furnished by the Sweet Electric Co. So nicely balanced is the mechanism that the bridge can even be raised by hand if necessary. All the machinery weighing about 31 tons is underground in the pits and each pit contains a counterweight weighing over 100 tons which affects the balance the whole bridge weighing over 200 tons. Where the old bridge, hydraulically operated, was suspended from above with the machinery exposed, all this is done away with now and the new bridge looks like a fixed bridge. Westinghouse electrical equipment is to be used.
The Main street approach has been raised about two feet which will mean a considerable improvement in the appearance of the street. The north approach has the same grade as the old one but is much longer. The operator’s cabin will be of concrete and will be extremely commodious. It will be heated by electricity and equipped with a semaphore and light similar to those used by railroads, for warning approaching boats as to the position of the bridge. Street traffic will be warned at night by red lantern signals and a date constructed of a series of bars, will absolutely block off traffic when the bridge is up.
Since the work commenced in June 1914, about 10,000 cu. yds. of excavation has been done and about 60 tons of steel reinforcement and 100 bbls. of Lehigh Portland cement has been used in the 3000 cu. yds. of concrete placed. The steel bars used in the concrete were manufactured by the Carnegie Steel Co.
Those not informed on the subject of bridges often wonder that the heavy pieces of steel used in the construction are not found to have flaws and thereby cause accidents. The greatest of caution is taken however, at the mills where the steel is fabricated and whenever a “Heat” is run a test is immediately made both for chemical composition and physical strength. These tests are made very quickly and the entire heat is rejected if it is not up to the specifications. Then the shapes and plates are rolled and machine punched for rivet and bolt holes and edge milled where required. Each of those operations is rigidly inspected. The trusses of our bridge are the only part of the bridge which are assemble and fitted together at the shop and then shipped together with other pieces. These parts were manufactured by the Rochester Interstate Co. The riveting and fitting is inspected here in the course of construction.
Naturally the erection of the bridge has brought numerous outside workers to our village, the average force now being sixty. Incoming freights have also been greatly increased, twenty-five car loads of cement alone having been received here. Gravel from the Niagara River was shipped here for the concrete work. Altogether it is estimated that the bridge will have st about $90,000 upon its entire completion about July 1st although it will be ready for use when navigation opens as has already been stated. Because of so much adverse criticism the contractors have changed their original intention of painting the bridge red, it will be black.
The W. S. Cooper Co. of Cleveland are also erecting bridges in Middleport, Medina and Lockport.