Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 23 > Page 16 - Building the Grand Narrows Bridge

Page 16 - Building the Grand Narrows Bridge

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/8/1 (1986 reads)
 

tical job • this cofferdam built of heavy timbers that would stand the pressure of 90 feet • and made big enough to contain the foot of the pier. Now once they got it down, they had to pump it out. Of course it leaked like the devil. So it all had to be ballasted out? side with sand and gravel piled up around it, underwater. They couldn't go down. This is the early '90s. Probably lowered sandbags. They had to put a lot of ballast around so there wouldn't be a rush in. They finally got this thing pumped out, stopped the leaks around • then went inside and went to it at the bottom with picks and shovels, and hoisted out the overbur? den. And they had to go down quite a lit? tle distance. (Let me understand: men climbed down inside the cofferdam and then began digging through the overburden to get to the bedrock?) Oh, yeah. (At the bottom of the lake?) Yes. They had to get to the bedrock. It could have been 3 or ' feet, it could have been 30 feet • I don't know. Anyway, once they hit the bedrock they had to quarry out a flat area. They had to put in anchoring bars • big long bolts. And then start the masonry up the sides, build it up, inside the cofferdam. Cofferdam stayed there. (You mean the cof? ferdam was the mold, and they poured con? crete into it?) No, no, no. It was a sort of mold all right. But the work was all stone work. They had to cut the stone and lower it in. They couldn't pour. They didn't have cement like that in those days. Cut stone. And build up the pier from the bedrock up to a distance say of 4 or 5 feet above high tide • that's the way it is there now. The tide is 6 feet. (All cut stone?) Big stones, good size, mortared them together • and up they came. Each one of those piers that you see at the end of the girders. We call them gird? ers; actually, they are cantilever beams. And there is an extra one for the turn? table • because one of those spans rotates on an axis. And by the way, if you like old engines, you should go up in that tow? er some day and have a look at the engine that turns that span, that rotates it • it's the most ancient thing you ever saw in your life. The railway would always keep things. No need buying something new. The block breaks, cast a new one • that sort of thing. The thing they have there now has about 6 cylinders, 14 or 15 inches long • and each cylinder block is separate and between each cylinder block there's a big grease cup. It's got an old magneto type of thing to get it going, hooked up with gears and levers. It rotates a cog at the bottom which engages a big band right around the base of this thing and moves it. Opens the bridge. But that's apart from the main bridge. It's only a detail. Anyhow, they finally finished these piers. Of course the ones near the shore weren't so troublesome. But the one next to the turning span, I'm pretty sure that's close of 90 feet of water • because there's a ship in there. A ship hit one of the piers during the First World War. She was under tow, taking dolomite from Marble Mountain to Sydney • and that ship sank right there. What is the Nova Scotia Museum like? there are 20 'svays to find out... At 20 locations around the province from Sydney to Yar? mouth, 20 Nova Scotia Museum branches tell us a lot of things about ourselves and the world around us, and how it all works together. They also offer us a perspective into our history, so that we can better understand what makes us the way we are today. The 20 museum branches around the province include historic homes, mills, a 19th century farm, a restored village and specialty museums ... all offering us a fascinating glimpse into our vivid and vigorous past. The Nova Scotia Museum is a great opportunity for all of us to learn about ourselves. For information on locations, opening dates and hours simply fill in and mail this coupon. Dept 9 : Nova Scotia Museum : 1747 Summer Street • Halifax, N.S. B3H 3A6 : 429-46ia : Please send me information about the Nova Scotia Museum • branches. • NAME : ADDRESS • POSTAL CODE 1. Nova Scotia Museum 2. History Branch, Citadel Hill 3. Ross Farm Museum 4. Lunenburg Fisheries Museum 5. Wile Carding Mill 6. Perkins House 7. Ross-Thomson House 8. Barrington Woolen Mill 9. Firefighters Museum of Nova Scotia 10. North Hills Museum 11. Prescott House 12. Haliburton House 13. Uniacke House 14. Lawrence House 15. Balmoral Grist Mill 16. Sutherland's Steam Mill 17. McCulloch House 18. Sherbrooke Village 19. Cossit House 20. Fisherman's Life Museum
Cape Breton's Magazine
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