Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tomlinson Lift Bridge, New Haven, CT

Tomlinson Lift Bridge
As I feared, the Connecticut River Eagle Cruise was canceled today due to the weather -- high winds were whipping the river to a froth. We're rescheduled for next Saturday and are hoping for better, or at least quieter, weather. Probably still be cold, though. January may have forgotten the season, but February remembers.

The Tomlinson Lift bridge, and its parallel partner, the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, cross the mouth of the Quinnipiac River as it empties into New Haven Harbor. The P.H.M. Bridge, AKA the Quinnipiac Bridge or simply the Q Bridge, is easily tall enough to let the tankers and container ships crawl a little further upriver, but the Tomlinson Bridge, which carries local traffic, needs a lift.

Taken from Long Wharf
I've seen a few lift bridges -- I saw a couple nice ones in Bridgeport last weekend -- but the Tomlinson is the nicest. Aluminum cladding gives the towers a classy feel, and the pale blue truss paint blend naturally with the harbor water and the sky.

It's a perfect complement to its setting and is a magnificent bridge for all its small size.

The Hardesty & Hanover civil engineering firm completely revamped the Tomlinson Lift Bridge about a decade ago; there's a complete report about the work (and some amazing aerial photos showing the bridge along with the "old" Q Bridge) on their website.

There's a floating platform where sightseers can look at the bridge or the ships in the harbor on the east side of the bridge. There's no decent place to park for it, though. The area immediately around the bridge is closed off while the Q Bridge is expanded. An oil pumping station (to the left in both pictures) closes off the west end of the bridge. Up the road a bit on the east side are some small businesses and residential areas, not fantastic places to park. I parked in a banquet hall parking lot about half a mile away.

It was worth it!

The second picture was taken from Long Wharf Park, which is another really great place to view the ships in the harbor, the lift bridge and the Q bridge. It's also a fantastic place for clam digging (but you probably need a license for that). The east point of the park has some utterly beautiful memorials to fallen soldiers. People on my social networks have seen this picture many times... and here it is again.

Veteran's Memorial in Long Wharf Park
Tanker delivering oil
Container ship unloading


  1. Did you ever see the bridge that existed before this monstrosity? It was a simple draw bridge that many used to cross on foot, bicycle and car w/o fear of injury. A great many (including myself) used to fish off the old bridge too. This pales in comparison to the old bridge and was sad to see the old bridge go.

    1. No, I just moved to CT five years ago, so things are still pretty new to me. Lots of wonderful older bridges are being replaced all the time; I just read of another old bridge that is being replaced with something generic.

      At least the new Q bridge is going to look cooler than the old one.

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