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The New Bridge

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The Winona Weekly Republican
September 17, 1890



Since work was commenced several weeks ago on the new bridge across the Mississippi river for the joint use of the Winona and Southwestern, the Green Bay, and the Chicago, Burlington and Northern railways, it has been rapidly pushed, and on Thursday night the driving of piles for the third pier was completed. The bridge is located just a little below the Keyes residence, and above the location of a winter bridge of the Burlington last year. The total length of the bridge when completed will be 1,300 feet. At the end of a span of 240 feet on this side the draw 440 feet long will be located. The Union Bridge Co., which is doing the work, has established an office just at this end of the bridge, having telephonic connections with the city. The office is the headquarters of Mr. T. J. Long, the superintendent of bridge construction, and the accountant and typewriter. A blacksmith shop and five temporary storage sheds are erected nearby.

The work of driving piles for the support of the piers was begun on the Wisconsin side at what is known as pier No. 4. Afterwards piers 5 and 6 were driven on this side. In each pier there are 17 rows of piles, five in a row and three feet apart, making a total of eighty-five piles in a pier. The pier for the support of the center of the draw is somewhat larger, and will take 121 piles. Work on this pier was begun to day. The pile driver with which the work is being done is known as a Nesmorth steel hammer and water jet combined. The water is thrown in a powerful jet at the base of the pile to displace the sand and make the driving easier. The pile driver itself has a short quick stroke at variance with the long one on the Jumbo first employed. The weight on that machine was only 2,200 pounds, while the present weight is 5,000 pounds. With this driver a pile can be driven in a little less than half an hour. The greatest number of piles driven in any one day has been twenty two, while the average is eighteen.

The piles will have to be sawed off to the requisite depth below the surface of the water before the masonry work can be commenced. At the northern pier a sand-bar rises several feet above this level. A centrifugal steam sand pump is now at work clearing away the sand. The sawing will be done in a few days, and it is expected that the stone work on this pier will be begun next week. Four tiers of gullage, two open and two solid, will be laid on the piers before the stone work, the cross beams being one by one by sixteen feet in size. A large quantity of the Gillmore valley stone which will be used in the work is already on the ground, and a temporary dock is being erected to facilitate its handling. The small steamer Little Hodie does all the necessary carrying for the bridge work, and is kept running the greater part of the time. Forty-nine men are at present employed in the work of construction, and the scene presented is a lively one, well repaying inspection. Visitors should use the drive-way at the rear of the Keyes property.

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Updated July 11, 2015