Posted Feb. 16, 2009 at 12:01 AM
Updated Feb 16, 2009 at 3:23 PM
The United States Coast Guard was issuing an advisory Monday afternoon in regard to the Norfolk Southern’s railroad bridge, which spans the Mississippi River in Hannibal.
The Coast Guard’s advisory dealt with the amount of time that it requires for the western span of the bridge to be raised and lowered to accommodate passing barge traffic. Typically the raising of the lift section of the bridge takes three minutes, according to the Coast Guard. Currently, it is taking 10 minutes for that process to occur. Officials with the railroad and Coast Guard could not be reached Monday due to the holiday.
At mid-afternoon Monday, two Williams Electric & Electric Motor trucks were parked near the railroad bridge. A short time later two workers were seen walking off the bridge. They eventually departed the scene in the Williams trucks.
The Courier-Post contacted Williams, but a spokesperson said the company is not allowed to comment on any work that Williams might be doing at the bridge for the railroad.According to the book, “Hannibal Yesterdays,” by J. Hurley Haygood and Robert (Roland) Haygood, a railroad bridge was initially built in Hannibal in 1871. In 1913, due to a number of boat accidents that were attributed to the narrow area between the bridge’s piers, it was decided to move the “swing span” closer to the Missouri shore. When the old “swing span” bridge was declared a navigational hazard for boat and barge traffic, it was decided to convert it to a “lift section span” bridge in the early ‘90s. The change provided an area twice as wide (320 feet) for mariners to navigate than had been available under the “swing span” bridge (159 feet).
The “lift section span” used on the Hannibal railroad bridge was brought from Florence, Ala., where it was part of a bridge that crossed the Tennessee River now known as The Old Railroad Bridge. Norfolk Southern abandoned its Florence branch line in 1988 and in 1990 it was deeded over to The Old Railroad Bridge Co., Inc., a 501 3 c corporation that now maintains and manages it.