Sunday, April 25, 2010

Centerton Bridge

A favorite bridge crossing Rancocas Creek has been closed for a month now. In the past the county closes it every year for a few days to make welding repairs to the grating. This year however it has been closed off with concrete barricades. Pete & I were afraid they were removing it. It is one place where you can get close to the water (and sometimes in it at a high high tide). The views up and down creek are spectacular. Seasons are changing with alarming rapidity these days and crossing the creek here gives a person the daily weather, tide and season check besides being the shortest route between the points I go to most. You have to drive down hill through a tree tunnel made from overlapping branches of mature sycamores which suddenly open out onto the mudflats and the wide cedar water creek. The sky opens up.
It is a narrow thing. Novice drivers travel at a walking pace, while locals barrel across knowing that there is just room. Early this afternoon, Pete took me to see what was happening there. We were worried, since we had seen backhoes and lift trucks, more than just the odd welder & pick-up truck. Being Sunday, no one was around and we picked our way out to see what was up.
Relief was granted in seeing shiny new guard-rail going up and bridge decking being patched. I'd known that this was a movable span from the charts, but have never seen it open. Sure enough, on the bridge bipedally, the slow speed revealed some great details like the instructions for opening the bridge. Counterclockwise to open and the toelocks must be rotated the other way. A very large wrench is required. Amazing and simple. Empty grease containers let us know that it is not a thing of the past. There are no barricades for traffic, so the average boatman wishing passage, must have to set things in mothion with the powers that be in the two towns so no one attempts driving across while the bridge is open. The center span rotates. Nice bit of engineering that. Left us wondering if the county has a bridge repairman on staff. I'd like to meet him.

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