Yesterday afternoon I was driving around in the flats with Steve and Rachel and we happened to be about to cross the red swing bridge, when it started gearing up and swinging into action! What started out as a slightly boring (to them) drive around downtown looking at cool bridges suddenly turned into a fantastic opportunity to see this thing in action.
I had heard about this swing bridge thing from some coworkers, but didn’t really understand what people were talking about, because honestly, there are a ton of weird-looking bridges in the area. So the deal with this one is that when a big boat needs to go through on the river, the guy in the little hut on top pushes a button, and the whole bridge turns on this passive pivot in the middle!
It’s quite a sight to see! We stood there and watched as this thing turned and stopped parallel to the river, and then this massive, long, huge boat came through around the curves of the river! It was so long that it reminded me of the beginning of Spaceballs, where you see the spaceship, and it keeps going on for a ridiculous amount of time.
Anyway, it took at least ten minutes for this massive boat to come through, and the bridge swung back around, and the backed up traffic got on its merry way.
According to the Flats Oxbow Association, it’s called the Center Street Swing Bridge, was built in 1901, and is the only one left, which means that there used to be more! It’s the red bridge in the top right of the picture below. Who knew bridges were so interesting?
And there’s another great photo of the swing bridge at the website of the people that built the bridge, King Bridge Company. Scroll down once you get there to read more!