9 October 2016

D Street Bridge Breakthrough

Faintest praise: i think Clinton will be less disastrous.

 

Great D Street Bridge event the other day.  I was going to call it “spectacular” but realized i’ve reached an age at which the slightest improvement on the mundane is impressive.

There i was, Segwaying to the post office via the D Street Bridge in hopes of catching a tender about to open it.  Alas, no tender in the cabin, but i spotted out of the corner of my eye to the south a large catamaran just sitting there in the river with her sail furled.

Hmmm, i wondered as i crossed, has her motor conked out or is she waiting for the bridge to open?  Got about a block and a half before i decided to postpone the post office and just wait around.  Turned back onto the bridge, and yep, a tender had just arrived, so i whirled around over to the foot of C Street where there is an excellent vantage.

Oh, was my timing ever superb.  Just as i dismounted, the bridge horn started blowing to signal the closing of the roadway barriers.

Whipped out the camera and got some shots of the bridge opening and the boat passing through.  As the bridge starts to open.

D Street Bridge opening

 

 

 

Fully open with the catamaran approaching.

cataraman approaches

 

 

 

Catamaran passing through.

Catamaran passing through the D Street Bridge

 

Catamaran clear and bridge closing.

Catamaran through the bridge

 

 

 

Oh, but there’s more good news.  When i went back across the bridge to thank the tender, he turned out to be a delightful young man who invited me inside the cabin and gave me a complete tour with operating information, history, and photo ops.

The bridge was designed by Leon Hagop Nishkian in 1933, and when it was new, the two tiny eastern rooms in the cabin were occupied by the bridge tender, it being routine in those days for lighthouse and bridge tenders to be domiciled on site so they could work 24/7.

Here’s the main room with all the controls.   The old controls have been left in place, inoperative, at this end of the room.

D Street Bridge control room

 

And here’s a closeup of the new control panel.

D Street Bridge new control panel

 

 

Here’s the tender at the controls.  He corrected me when i called him the “tender”, saying there wasn’t actually a tender anymore.  The guys just take turns operating the bridge as necessary.  Note that since he’s not actually operating the bridge, his foot is not on the dead man switch.

The operator at the controls

 

And finally, some historical photographs on the wall.  Leon Nishkian is at the left.

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