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Low Bridge anyone?

No this is not a title for a new Roger Corman film, but what truck drivers experience every time they encounter a bridge that is lower than the height of their trailer which may start at 13’4″ and taller (that fact was courtesy of some fellow Fb’ers on another city’s page).

The most infamous ones in the state are in Durham, which is known as the “can opener bridge”  has a clearance of 11’8″ and is featured on the blog 11 foot 8 (http://11foot8.com) located near Duke University’s West Campus and the bridge on Peace Street in Raleigh near Downtown, which has a clearance of 12’4″ and has had its share of trailers getting stuck under them.  In Charlotte, I found a bridge that has a clearance of 12’0″ and yes, has had its share of tractor trailers stuck under it.  What all of these bridges have in common was that they were built for the railroad before they mandated higher height clearances because trailers had become taller.  Around the Charlotte area, bridges were built by the Seaboard Airline Railroad and Southern Railroad.  I have not been able to find any trestles built by the Piedmont and Northern Railroad (P&N), although I think the remains of an old bridge on South Graham Street near Bank of America Stadium may have been built by P&N and if had still been intact would have been really low.

Built for the Seaboard Airline Railroad in 1929, this bridge carried the tracks to their Charlotte station located at North Tryon at 16th Street.  This has a 12’0″ clearance and when I went to take pictures, I could tell that trucks over the years have had their encounters with the bridge:

Clearance Sign for the Seigle Avenue Bridge.  Photo taken by the author.

Clearance Sign for the Seigle Avenue Bridge. Photo taken by the author.

Seigle Avenue Bridge.  Picture taken by the author.

Seigle Avenue Bridge. Picture taken by the author.

Faceplace showing Seaboard name and year.  Picture taken by author.

Faceplace showing Seaboard name and year and damage done by trucks stuck underneath the bridge. Picture taken by author.

To learn more about Charlotte’s Railroad History, please check out the updated Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story website sponsored by the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at http://www.cmstory.org.  The Historic Properties Commission has done studies of some of the railroad depots including the P&N Depot at Paw Creek and has included the history of transportation in the Charlotte area; they can be found at http://www.cmhpf.org.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in History, Transportation

 

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6th Street Bridge

I have been in Charlotte for over 30 years. While traveling around town, I had not always paid attention to this bridge located on 6th Street just west of Graham Street:

Southern Railway Bridge over 6th Street.  Picture taken by author.

Southern Railway Bridge over 6th Street. Picture taken by author.

Well, I finally got around to checking this bridge out.  It turns out that this was a bridge operated by the old Southern Railroad that led to the old railroad station on West Trade Street:

Southern Railway Station and Stonewall Hotel circa 1908.  Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Southern Railway Station and Stonewall Hotel circa 1908. Image courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

This station, designed by Frank Milburn in 1905 in the Mediterranean Style complemented an existing Seaboard Air Line train station on North Tryon Street at 16th Street.   When the station was closed in the 1960’s and the railroad tracks converted to freight traffic and raised above the street, it was thought that everything had been taken away.  Well, in two parking lots located on 5th Street on opposite sides of the street if you look hard enough, you can see the railroad tracks that they didn’t take up:

Old Southern Railway Tracks facing 6th Street.  Picture taken by author.

Old Southern Railway Tracks facing 6th Street. Picture taken by author.

And on the other side of the street, you can see one track but not the other:

Old Southern Railway Track part II.  Picture taken by author.

Old Southern Railway Track part II. Picture taken by author.

I managed to get a shot of the old Right of Way on the bridge looking north towards the silos at Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), I cannot began to describe my excitement as I found out that this actually served the old Charlotte train station:

Old Southern Railway ROW on the 6th Street Bridge.  Picture taken by the author.

Old Southern Railway ROW on the 6th Street Bridge. Picture taken by the author.

I wish I had gone on and find out when this bridge was built, but as I was by myself and the area was deserted I didn’t want to take a chance of running into trouble.  Also, there was ample warning signs that the area was owned by the State of North Carolina:

No Trespassing Sign installed by the NC Department of Transportation.  Picture taken by the author.

No Trespassing Sign installed by the NC Department of Transportation. Picture taken by the author

If you want to learn more about Charlotte’s transportation history and see images from not only the railroad stations, but its early streetcars and other forms of public transportation, please visit http://www.cmstory.org.  This site is run by the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and covers Charlotte and Mecklenburg County History from its beginnings to the present day.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2015 in Buildings, Business, History, Places

 

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