Duluth, MN Steamer Hits Bridge, Aug 1906

Wreckage of the Bridge

STEAMER HITS LARGE BRIDGE; BLOCKS TRAFFIC.

PACKAGE FREIGHTER SENDS SPAN OF INTERSTATE STRUCTURE INTO CHANNEL.

SMALL BOATS ABLE TO GET THROUGH.

THIRTY-FOUR VESSELS IN UPPER HARBOR OF DULUTH CUT OFF -- FINANCIAL LOSS TO BRIDGE ESTIMATED AT FROM $100,000 TO $200,000.

Superior, Wis., Aug. 11. -- WHITNEY brothers of Superior have just signed a contract which calls for the removal of the submerged bridge span now blocking the channel between the upper and lower bays, the contract reading that within twelve hours the channel will be "clear for navigation." This time begins at noon today.

Duluth, Minn., Aug. 11. -- At 1 o'clock this morning the steamer Troy, a five thousand ton steel packing freighter owned by the Western Transit company, collided with the span of the interstate bridge and precipitated it into the channels on either side of the center pier on which the span revolved. Navigation to and from the upper harbor the most active portion of the head of the lakes is blocked.
The span was about one-third open at the time of the crash. The accident is the worst that has ever happened in the Duluth-Superior harbor.

Night Engineer's WILLIAMS Story.
"She seemed to be about 500 to 600 feet distant, probably 600," said WILLIAMS, bridge engineer. "I at once started to open the draw and when I had it one-third open, the steamer struck it about twenty feet from the center pier, in the channel on the Superior side. The span gave way. The end of the span that was struck by the boat gave way first, and then the other end toppled over into the water."
The bridge is owned by the Great Northern railroad. The draw span was 500 feet in length and one of the longest in the world.
The Troy was badly damaged, her bow being stove in, and she will require considerable repairs.
"As the steamer was under way," said Captain MURRAY, "I expected the bridge to swing out as is usual, permitting the steamer to pass through. The fact that the bridge would not open became apparent too late and the Troy crashed into the draw. Then came the big splash."
It is asserted that the bridge cannot be put in commission again this season, although the span now blocking the movement of many steamers will be removed as soon as possible, conservatively estimated at two days.
Thirty-four steamers now in the upper harbor are cut off from returning to the lake or to the Duluth side of the harbor. Most of the coal docks are on the upper harbor, also many of the grain elevators, merchandise docks and the shipyard, on the Superior side. Water communication with all this is cut off.
The greater part of the tonnage of the Duluth-Superior harbor originates in St. Louis bay, where the docks of the Duluth, Mississippi and Northern road is located. Therefore many thousand tons of ore will be held up until the channel is cleared.
Estimates of the financial loss to the bridge alone vary from $100,000 to $200,000. The bridge when built was bonded for $900,000 and cost approximately $1,000,000. The pier which held the balanced draw span is not badly injured and it is believed that with salvage subtracted, the actual loss will not exceed $100,000.

Racine Daily Journal Wisconsin 1906-08-11

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