Friday, February 17, 2012

Willimansett Bridge, Holyoke-Chicopee, MA

So excited! It looks like tomorrow's Connecticut River Cruise is a go! It's going to be in the morning, but not early enough to get some dramatic sunrise on the river pictures. Those will wait until it's warmer.

Anyway. Today's bridge is the Willimansett Bridge in Holyoke, Massachusetts, just north of Springfield, where I was going for more shots of the Memorial Bridge. Springfield's Memorial Bridge, like Hartford's Bulkeley Bridge, will get a post when my photography gets good enough to do it justice. Practice!

The Willimansett Bridge is a four span truss bridge over the Connecticut River. Built in 1891, this old bridge is currently closed to traffic while it undergoes an expensive renovation. Over 15,000 cars are said to have crossed this daily when it was open, which is frankly astonishing. Now drivers have to go a couple miles downriver to take Route 391 across.

The Route 391 bridge is boring, but it is definitely the best vantage from which to see the Willimansett Bridge -- but only at highway speeds from your car, as there is no pedestrian access on that bridge. There is, however, pedestrian access on the Willimansett.

It looks as if you could probably climb down the north bank on the Chicopee side of the bridge and get a better view, but by this time I was already quite a long way from my car and getting nervous about it, as I'd accidentally left my phone on the front seat.

Holyoke has a canal running alongside the Connecticut which is crossed by several other bridges. The Water Street bridge, above, crosses one outlet of the canal as it heads to a dam and into the river. You can see a bridge crossing the dam itself in the background.

This short, three span arch bridge takes Cabot Street over the canal and up to the Willimansett Bridge. With the canal crossed by all these low bridges, I'm not sure what the function of the canal IS. Maybe irrigation?

The Willimansett Bridge in the background, covered by tarp while workers work inside it. Pedestrian access is to the left.

On the Willimansett. I still had my camera with the bad lens at this point, and my phone with its excellent camera was (as mentioned above) back in the car, so I couldn't take pictures that looked toward the west (or the bridge), where the sun was shining, without having the image ruined by huge flaws. Gotta get that fixed, because the G12 is a really good camera and it cost me a lot of money. Even broken, it takes these fantastic pictures with incredible color.

Truss bridges aren't particularly rare around here, but every one is unique, all of them beautiful, and most of them were the lifeblood of their communities. I can only imagine how proud the people who lived in Holyoke were of their bridge when it was built 121 years ago.

Willimansett Bridge ca 1893

1 comment:

  1. 3/4 of the bridge is actually considered in Chicopee. Only 1/4 belongs to Holyoke from what I have heard.