Saturday, February 18, 2012

East Haddam Swing Bridge, East Haddam-Haddam, CT

East Haddam Swing Bridge
The cruise on the Connecticut this morning was all I'd hoped it would be. The weather was cold, but clear; the river was quiet, and the eagles were out. We saw many bald eagles perched in trees, a flock of eagles wheeling around in the sky, owls, swans, cormorants, ducks, gulls, crows, ravens... I even saw a turkey vulture on the way home.

The East Haddam Bridge was built between 1911 and 1913. The west half of the bridge is an anchored truss bridge. The east, swing half of the bridge is a steel deck reverse truss bridge that puts all its weight on the pivot instead of the edges.

This unique swing method put so much stress on the pivot that it had to be shored up with further construction to keep the bridge safe. The builders did so without destroying the essential character of the bridge.

There's plenty of parking on both sides of the bridge. On the East Haddam side is the Goodspeed Opera House, the Goodspeed Airport behind it, the town offices and a fancy restaurant. The river boats leave from Eagle Landing on the Haddam side of the bridge; even in the depth of winter, the cruises are popular. There were crowds waiting for their boats all the time I was there, and ours debarked again, full of new passengers, minutes after we ourselves landed.

I regret that I didn't have a longer lens to take better pictures of the birds. I've put a link to the album with the birds in it below.

The East Haddam Swing Bridge is the southernmost freshwater bridge over the Connecticut. By the time the river gets to the mouth crossing at Old Saybrook, Long Island Sound's effluence has turned the river salty. Conversely, the Connecticut is largely responsible for keeping Long Island Sound from being as salty as the Atlantic.

While it's legal to walk over the bridge, there's no sidewalk or marked lane. You'll be dodging cars. A bicyclist crossed at speed, though. He was pretty brave -- I wouldn't trust my tires on the steel mesh deck of the swing portion.

Eagle Watching

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