Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stevenson Dam Bridge, Monroe-Oxford, CT

Stevenson Dam Bridge
I was a little worried this bridge wouldn't be around when I got there. Comstock Bridge was disassembled first time I got there, Ashland Mill Bridge was demolished. When I was researching the Stevenson Dam Bridge, I was reading that it was being replaced in 2009. The Lake Zoar residents (the lake formed by the dam drowned the hamlet of Zoar) and the people downstream on the Housatonic aren't wild about the bridge being closed or replaced. One issue: the Housatonic all up and down its length was previously used for industrial runoff from its source in Pittsfield, MA. Any new bridge construction could stir up contaminated silt in Lake Zoar.

The Stevenson Dam Bridge carries Route 34 between Monroe and Oxford. It's a 24 span arch bridge and I think it might be the only dam in Connecticut that carries a road over it. There aren't many bridges nearby that carry traffic over the Housatonic; the next one to the south is in Derby, the one to the north in Newtown. It's the Stevenson or nothing for fifteen miles in either direction.

The HDR source images
This shot was an HDR experiment. I've recently started following several professional photographers on Google+ and learned a lot about using apertures to, for instance, remove all the traffic on the bridge. High apertures, long exposures and a tripod. The lesson was that I did everything I could do, and the end picture looks pretty much like the bridge looked to me in real life, but I couldn't make it look better that it was.

Sometimes they open the dam up -- that would have been a great picture. A sunny day would have been better (and it was supposed to be sunny today).

There's two great places to park if you wish to visit the bridge. Coming south on 34 to Monroe, continue straight where the road turns onto the bridge down a steep, one lane road to the power station. There is a parking area there for a trail leading down to the river.

On the Oxford side of the dam, there is a small spot to park and take pictures along the span of the bridge, like the one to the right.

There are tourist spots all along both sides of Lake Zoar where, in nicer weather, you can canoe or fish, as long as you don't eat what you catch.

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