Five Bridges

January 14, 2012

The vicinity of my hometown of Ottawa, Kansas has a number of bridges/overpasses stretching over water, roads or railroad tracks.  I’ve intended for a little while to take a “mini-tour” of several of them, with pictures.

This morning didn’t seem to be a good fit for the plan, with a 14 MPH sustained wind from the WNW – which would be a headwind for the direction I’d need to approach several of them.  However, although my nerve initially faltered, I decided to press on.  Climbing elevation into a decent headwind is hard work, even on a good bike, and I was good and tired by the end of my 9.3-mile route, but it was a great workout.

Following are some pictures from the ride…

Atop bridge #1. Looking back at Ottawa.

Looking to the east (right) from bridge #1.

And to the west from bridge #1 (crossed the road).

Another shot from bridge #1.

Bridge #2.

And looking across bridge #2 to the other side, showing the aged structure.

Curious small “grave” on bridge #2.  With no attachment to what it represents, it still made me sad.

Looking back from whence I came on bridge #2. Just around that curve is a short but quite steep ramp up to/down from the overpass.

Another from bridge #2 (crossed the road).

And one final from bridge #2, showing the moon still visible in the sky.

Atop Bridge #3.  Small little foot/bike bridge over the Marais des Cygnes bridge in Ottawa.  I’ve biked across this many, many times to get to Forest Park just beyond it.  This is looking east to the Main Street Bridge (bridge #5).

Looking off to the west at bridge #4.  I did bike across this bridge this morning also, but without a true shoulder or good stopping point, and being only 2 lanes with no median, I didn’t want to inconvenience traffic by getting out for a picture.

Looking south to the beginning of the bridge #3. That stop sign at the “on-ramp” to this bridge marks exactly the 1-mile point from my front door.  As in most of these pictures, snow still visible on the ground from the “wintry mix” we experienced the other night.

From just beside bridge #2 and looking east to bridge #5.  At the top left of the picture you see the floodgates/levee for the river – the rocks I’m standing on are part of the same system.  Hard as it is to believe in this picture, I’ve seen the river come up to touch the underside of these two bridges a couple times, and in fact it flooded over the bridge a couple years ago, necessitating the closure of the floodgates.

The levee system on the west side of the same bridge, looking toward bridge #4.

My new bike propped on bridge # 3.

Looking east on bridge #5.  This is the main traffic bridge (on Main Street) into/out of Ottawa.

…and finally, looking west on bridge #5, with bridge #3 in the middle of the picture and bridge #4 in the distance.

I returned home weary from the climbing and battling the wind, but looking forward to the next adventure 🙂

While looking around on the net writing this entry, I found this really cool article about the history of bridges in Ottawa, featuring a 1961 Ottawa Herald story and a few very old photos chronicling the development of the bridges.

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