Mar 16, 2007

Floating Bridge

I grew up in a city that had 2 intersecting rivers, so to me it seems normal to have a few bridges. Right now, I live across the lake from the city proper, so I deal with The Bridge on a regular basis. This is the only bridge across a fairly long lake, built at the narrowest point; it's just under 1 mile long. Here's a view of the bridge from my balcony:

Here's another view, taken from the top of the mountain on which I live. Because the lake is so deep, there's a section about 1/2 mile in length which floats on pontoons. This is the only floating bridge in Canada. (My MIL insists that the bridge, which she has yet to see in person, cannot be a floating bridge because concrete is too heavy to float. She tells us that it must be a suspension bridge.) In order to let boats pass through, there are 2 raised sections - 1 on either side. The section on the left side of the picture has a portion that lifts to let tall sailboats through.
Some pictures taken while driving across the lift bridge
It's charming to have to wait for a sailboat to pass by the first time. After a few times, though, you wonder what the hell people are thinking when they decide to go under the bridge during rush hour.
This is the section of the bridge on my side of the lake. As you see, there are 3 lanes. The direction of traffic in the middle lane alternates about twice an hour. When this bridge was built, it was big enough to accomodate traffic to and from the sleepy little town. But in the last 10 years, there has been a population explosion, and delays in crossing the bridge are common. At rush hour, it may add 10 minutes or so to one's drive. But come summer, when the snowbirds return and the tourists arrive in droves, it can get pretty hairy - it wasn't unusual to add an extra 45-60 minutes to my drive home because of congestion going across the bridge. There is an online bridge cam site which allows you to see what traffic is like in either direction. Unfortunately, there's not really any other option to get across, unless you drive 45 minutes north to the top of the lake, and then drive for 45 minutes down a windy 2 lane road that runs along the other side of the lake. I got a fair amount of knitting done this summer while stuck in bridge traffic.

Here you can see one of the spans of a new bridge, which is in the process of being built. It will have 5 lanes. The old bridge is near the end of it's life span, so it is going to be demolished once the new bridge is completed. The projected completion date is summer 2008. Which will be long after we are gone. The general consensus is that taxes and house prices on our side of the lake will go up significantly once the new bridge is completed.
I've enjoyed being able to see the water from my car window as I cross the lake everyday. A little flash of nature in the middle of my commute.


Stacie said...

wow, floating bridge... and the BART tunnel that goes under the San Francisco Bay made me panicy...

Bezzie said...

Hey, if they can make freaking aircraft carriers float, why not a bridge? Pretty darn cool!