Pennsylvania Turnpike, USA

PA-110–“Amerca’s Super Highway”
One of the Tunnels on Pennsylvania Turnpike
On the back:
PA100–One of the seven tunnels carrying the Turnpike beneath formicable mountains, six were inherited from the old rail project. The interior view of the Allegheny tunnel, near New Baltimore and the entrance to the Tuscarora is shown. Others at Laurel, Allegheny, Ray’s Hill, Sideling Hill, Tuscarora, Kittatinny, Blue Mountain.
Publisher: Minsky Bros & Co., Publishing Division, Pittsburgh, PATuscarora.

Google Street View (Tuscarora tunnel entrance)
Google Street View(Allegheny tunnel interior).

During most of its first two decades the Pennsylvania Turnpike was promoted and considered by many as “The Crown Jewel” of the American highway system. The highway was spoken in magnificent terms and was touted as a modern example of safe, high speed, and scenic travel. However, soon after the birth of the Interstate system in 1956, the PA Turnpike would become outdated in comparison to the more modern Interstate
Gribblenation (more postcards)

The Pennsylvania Turnpike (Penna Turnpike or PA Turnpike) is a toll highway operated by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. A controlled-access highway, it runs for 360 miles (580 km) across the state. . . . During the 1930s the Pennsylvania Turnpike was designed to improve automobile transportation across the mountains of Pennsylvania, using seven tunnels built for the abandoned South Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1880s. The road opened on October 1, 1940, between Irwin and Carlisle. It was one of the earlier long-distance limited-access highways in the United States, and served as a precedent for additional limited-access toll roads and the Interstate Highway System. . . . The Pennsylvania Turnpike incorporates several major bridges and tunnels along its route. Four tunnels cross central Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Mountains. The 6,070-foot (1,850 m) Allegheny Mountain Tunnel passes under Allegheny Mountain in Somerset County. The Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel runs beneath Tuscarora Mountain (at the border of Huntingdon and Franklin counties), and is 5,236 feet (1,596 m) long.

“Rays Hill Tunnel in Fulton County, Pennsylvania during construction of the tunnel in the 1880s for the Southern Pennsylvania Railroad. This later became a tunnel for the Pennsylvania Turnpike”, 1880s (from Wikimedia Commons).

William H. Vanderbilt proposed an idea to build a railroad from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh that would be under his control, and not that of the Pennsylvania Railroad. After the surveying was complete, work began on a two-track roadbed with nine tunnels. Excavation began on the tunnels in early 1884. Thousands of workers dug the tunnels for $1.25 for a 10 hour day. The construction continued through 1884 and 1885; however, trouble for the project was starting in New York. Banker J. Pierpont Morgan won a seat on the board of Vanderbilt’s New York City & Hudson River Railroad. Morgan with the President of the NYC&HRRR sold the right-of-way to George B. Roberts, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Work stopped immediately. A total of $10 million had been spent and 26 workers lost their lives. The unfinished project came to be known as “Vanderbilt’s Folly.”
. . .
The twentieth century came and with it a new form of transportation: the automobile. Pennsylvania was one of the first states to establish a highway department. In late 1934, an employee with the State Planning Board named Victor Lecoq and William Sutherland of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association proposed the idea of building a toll highway utilizing the old roadbed and tunnels left behind.
Pennsylvania Highways

The reports of the survey crews were favorable, and in 1937 the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was established with Walter A. Jones of Pittsburgh named the first commission chairman. The Turnpike Commission was given authorization to construct a 160-mile long 4-lane limited access superhighway through the Allegheny Mountains from Irwin (just east of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County) to Carlisle (just west of Harrisburg in Cumberland County). This highway was the first of its kind in the United States. Nobody had ever seen a road like this before, except at the General Motors Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York Worlds Fair. Design features for the new road were:

Four 12-foot wide concrete traffic lanes – two in each direction
10 foot wide median strip and 10 foot wide berms
3 percent maximum grades (normal grades for roads through the mountains were 6-12 percent)
Maximum curvature of 6 degrees (most curves were 3-4 degrees)
Limited access design with 1,200 foot long entrance and exit lanes
Ten service plazas located along the right-of-way for traveler convenience
No cross streets, traffic signals, driveways or railroad grade crossings
The Pensylvania Trunpike: a history

The PA Turnpike officially entered service October 1, 1940 and the new concepts of superhighway design made it an engineering marvel. The new, mostly four-lane roadway was referred to as “America’s First Superhighway.” Planners predicted that 1.3 million vehicles would use the PA Turnpike each year, but early usage exceeded predictions with 2.4 million vehicles traveling the PA Turnpike annually. Sometimes, as many as 10,000 vehicles per day were recorded. When the PA Turnpike opened, it was just 160 miles long stretching from Carlisle to Irwin. It included two-lane tunnels, but the rapidly increasing traffic volumes soon made the two-lane tunnels obsolete and prompted consideration of by-passing or “double tunneling” the seven original tunnels. In addition to reducing travel time between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg by three hours, the PA Turnpike created an economic boom to areas along its path.
Penna Turnpike

Passerelle, Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG – Passerelle
Publisher: Grand Bazar Champagne, Luxembourg

Google Street View.

The Passerelle, also known as the Luxembourg Viaduct, is a viaduct in Luxembourg City, in southern Luxembourg. Nowadays it runs from the south into the city centre, Ville Haute, carrying road traffic across the Pétrusse valley and connecting Avenue de la Gare to Boulevard Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is 290 m long, with 24 arches, and 45 m above the valley floor. It is also known as the Old Bridge (Luxembourgish: Al Bréck, French: Vieux pont, German: Alte Brücke) by people from Luxembourg City. The ‘new bridge’ in this comparison is the Adolphe Bridge, which was built between 1900 and 1903.

The Passerelle was built between 1859 and 1861 to connect the city centre with Luxembourg’s new railway station, which was located away from the city centre so as to not detract from the defensive capabilities of the city’s fortress. It was conceived by the engineers Achille N. Grenier and Auguste Letellier, and built by the British company Waring Brothers.

Collapse of bridge, Angers, France

ANGERS – Catastrophe de la Basse-Chaine (10 April 1850)
225 soldats du 11e Léger furent noyés á la suite de la rupture du Pont
Publisher: A. Bruel, Angers

Angers Bridge, also called the Basse-Chaîne Bridge, was a suspension bridge over the Maine River in Angers, France. It was designed by Joseph Chaley and Bordillon, and built between 1836 and 1839. The bridge collapsed on 16 April 1850, while a battalion of French soldiers was marching across it, killing over 200 of them. The bridge spanned 102 m (335 ft), with two wire cables carrying a deck 7.2 m (24 ft) wide. Its towers consisted of cast iron columns 5.47 m (17.9 ft) tall.

Soldiers stationed in the region frequently used the bridge, and two battalions of the same regiment had crossed earlier that day. The third battalion arrived during a powerful thunderstorm when the wind was making the bridge oscillate. When the soldiers began to cross, their bodies acted as sails, further catching the wind. Survivors reported that they had been walking as if drunk and could barely keep themselves from falling, first to one side and then to the other. As usual in crossing that bridge, the soldiers had been ordered to break step and to space themselves farther apart than normal. However, their efforts to match the swaying and keep their balance may have caused them to involuntarily march with the same cadence, causing resonance. In any case, the oscillation increased. At a time when the bridge was covered with 483 soldiers and four other people (though the police had prevented many curiosity seekers from joining the march), the upstream anchoring cable on the right bank broke in its concrete mooring, three to four meters underground, with a noise like “a badly done volley from a firing squad”. The adjacent downstream cable broke a second later, and the right-bank end of the deck fell, making the deck slope very steeply and throwing soldiers into the river. Many of those who fell were saved by their fellow soldiers who had not yet crossed and by residents of Angers who came to the rescue, but a total of 226 people died.

The Basse-Chaine Bridge, known as the Angers Bridge, collapsed into the River Mayenne, in western France, just after 11.30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 16th, 1850, killing over 200 and injuring many more.

The suspension road bridge, designed by Joseph Chaley, was authorised in 1835 and built between 1836 and 1839. At the time there was quite a fashion for building suspension bridges in France, but following the Angers disaster, the building of such bridges was halted for over 20 years. On that morning the bridge was being used heavily as there was a military camp nearby. A squadron of hussars had barely cleared the bridge, when the head of the 11th battalion appeared on the other side. The Colonel in charge, Simonet, reported afterwards that he shouted a warning to the men to break into sections as they crossed and for the band to cease playing, but a fierce storm was raging and his words were carried away by the wind. He reported that to do so was usual procedure, but no written order was given. The drummers and some of the band had safely crossed over when, with a terrible crash, the cast iron column on the right bank gave way, crushing those waiting to file onto the bridge. The 102 metre long deck of the bridge then fell, in one piece, into the river taking with it 483 military personnel and 4 civilians – a maid and three children. A plaque erected on the bridge in 1900 commemorates the 223 who died, including the children and their maid.

Repairs had taken place on the bridge the previous year, 1849, as it had been heavily used during the construction of a stone bridge nearby. However, the commission of enquiry formed on April 20th, found that the combination of three factors had caused the disaster – the storm, described at the time as a hurricane, which caused the bridge to sway, the resonating effect of soldiers marching in step and rusted cables. The wire strands of the cables had separated from the concrete moorings, allowing water to penetrate and cause rusting. One cable snapped.
Bridges of Dublin

Image of Pont de la Basse-Chaîne (from Wikimedia Commons)


The following letter from Lieutenant-colonel Simonet, of the same regiment gives a short hut affecting account of the disaster. It is curious that the same officer should be the survivor of the terrible catastrophe which occurred at the battle of Leipsic, when Paniatowski and so many others were drowned in the Elster :—

“Before entering the faubouig of Angers, an aide-de-camp of Gen. Duzer came to me with an order to enter the town by the suspension-bridge, and to draw up my men on the Place d l’Arademie, where he proposBed to review them. I had scarcely resumed my march by column in sections, when the weather, which had been before very fine, suddenly changed to a perfect tempest; a furious wind, and pouring rain. It was then half-past eleven. It was under these gloomy -auspices that I entered on the fatal bridge, after having stopped the band, and broke the regularity of the step, as is usual in such cases. The wind was so high that the floor of the bridge rose and fell from it so much that I had difficulty in keeping my seat on my horse. Scarcely had the section of the advanced guard, the pioneers, and the greater part of the band reached the opposite bank of the river, when suddenly a horrible crash was heard, and the floor of the bridge gave way under our feet. With the exception of the head of the column and the two rear sections, all the rest of the battalion followed the movement on the bridge, and fell into the water. Ah, what a spectacle. Never was there a more heartrending one. My poor mare turned over, left me in the water, and then, suddenly rising, nearly crushed me. I rose and endeavoured to catch her, but Captain Desmarest, my adjutant-major, who was marching behind me, and to whom I owe my life, seizing me by the arm, drew me forcibly lo the left side of the bridge (the water then up to my armpits); then, assisted by some soldiers, I was lifted into a small boat, when one of the inhabitants, an old soldier, received me in his arms in a fainting state. From thence I got into a washerwoman’s boat, and then gained the shore. I was saved, but too earnestly occupied with the fate of my children, my friends, and my comrades, to think of accepting the assistance which was eagerly offered me by the inhabitants and the officers of the garrison.”

A letter from Angers says:—
“The lieutenant colonel, an old officer of the Empire, assisted by the adjutant and some of the men, escaped with his life; but although seriously wounded and bruised he would not quit the spot, but remained to watch over the rescue of his companions in arms. It is impossible to describe his solicitude and his coolness in the midst of ihe frightful scenes by which he was surrounded. The inhabitants of the town warmly seconded the exertions of the officers, who forgot themselves to go to the assistance of their soldiers. A grand musical congress was to have place next week at Angers, but in consequence of this catastrophe the committee have decided that it shall not take place.”

The following additional particulars of this terrible catastrophe, are from the Precurseur of Angers, published on the subsequent day:—

“Every one on the spot vied with each other in rendering assistance, and as the soldiers were got out they were led into the houses adjoining, and every, assistance given. A young lieutenant of the 11th (M. Loup) rendered himself conspicuous for his heroic exertions; and a young workwoman, at the imminent danger of her life, jumped into the water, and saved the life of an officer who was sinking. It is impossible for us at this moment to estimate the number of lives that have been lost; of those who escaped with their lives there is scarcely one but has received wounds from the bayonets of his comrades. Several acts of devotion deserve to be mentioned. Several soldiers who had reached the shore unhurt, immediately stripped and swam to the assistance of Ins comrades.

“Ten o’clock -— The muster-roll has just been called over. Of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd companies there only remain 14, 16, and 19 men respectively. The number deficient amounts to 219, to which must be added 33 dead, and 30 wounded in the hospital, making the total loss to the battalion 282. There is reason, however, to hope that there may yet be some in private houses which may not be included in the number of those whose fate has been known.

“Two  o’clock. —- The number of bodies found up to this time amounts to 123. The names of the officers killed or drowned, as yet ascertained, are Capt. Dore, Lieut. Cottez, Sub-lient PorteDrapeau Carette, and Sub-lieuts. Forgues and Lebreck. It appears that some people belonging to the town were walking on the bridge at the time of the accident, for among the bodies found are those of a servant and two children.

THE FUNERAL.-The President of the Republic reached Angers on Thursday night. The list of the dead was, at his request, given him. He passed the whole of Friday morning in visiting the hospital where the wounded are taken care of. He was accompanied by the minister of war and the general officer commanding the department of the Maine and Loire. Several of the survivors are in a state which leaves little hope of their recovery. The orderly officers of the President have also visited the private houses where the wounded took refuge. The greatest attentions are paid to the unfortunate survivors. The funerals of the unhappy victims took place at one o’clock on Thursday, in the church of Angers; the orderly officers, the civil and military authorities filled the church and its approaches. All the shops were closed, and the town wore an appearance of deep sorrow. The usual military honours were paid as the dead were laid in their graves.
The Hobart Town Advertiser, 13 August 1850

Pontoon Bridge, Nowshera, Pakistan

Pontoon Bridge — Nowshera
Publisher: Moorli Dhur & Sons

Google Street View (location).

Nowshera, or Nowshahra, a town and cantonment in Peshawar district of the North-West Frontier Province of India, situated on the right bank of the Kabul river 27 m. E. of Peshawar. Pop. (1901) 9518. It is the headquarters of a brigade in the 1st division of the northern army, and also the junction for the frontier railway that runs to the station of Mardan and continues to Dargai and Malakand on the route to Chitral.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911

The Kābul river is crossed by a permanent bridge of boats, whence roads lead to Mardān and Chārsadda. The iron road and railway bridge across the river was opened on December 1, 1903.
“Imperial Gazetteer of India”, vol. 18, 1908

The Gorge, Victoria, Canada

The Gorge, Victoria, B.C.
Postmarked 1908
Publisher: Valentine & Sons, Montreal & Toronto

Google Street View (approximate).

The body of water known simply as “The Gorge” to Victoria locals is a narrow tidal inlet that connects Victoria Harbour to Portage Inlet. The Gorge Waterway is defined as the inlet between Craigflower Bridge and the Selkirk trestle. The Gorge has a rich history as an important spiritual place and food-gathering area for First Nations, and as a recreation area for Victoria residents.
Capital Regional District

The current Gorge Bridge connecting Saanich and Esquimalt along Tillicum Road was built in 1967, but that crossing had been used by First Nations for long before that. The first Gorge Bridge was constructed in 1848 by Roderick Finlayson, and consisted of five large Douglas fir logs laid across the narrows. Six other bridges followed, with the current version completed in 1967.
Interpretive sign captures history of Gorge Bridge (Victoria News)

The Gorge Bridge crosses “the Gorge”, the narrowest section of the 10-kilometre-long Gorge Waterway. The Gorge was the geographical centre of many attractionsand activities found along the Gorge Waterway during its historical heyday from 1880 to 1930 – a time when the waterway was renowned as one of Victoria’s main scenic attractions.” .  .  . To the east of the bridge there once were posh waterside mansions, bathhouse facilities for swimming and competition, the finish line for the Three Mile Swim, and dangerous high-diving towers. Steam-powered launches once cruised up the waterway from Victoria carrying tourists to view the “reversing falls”, visit Esquimalt’s Gorge Amusement Park, and enjoy the two waterside taverns.  .  .  . To the west of the bridge, day-trippers from town enjoyed the Gorge Amusement Park (now Esquimalt Gorge Park) that opened in 1905 with rollercoaster rides, outdoor dances, variety shows and the ever-popular Japanese Tea Garden. . . . To reduce the steep approach, the fifth bridge was built at a greater height and was made five feet wider. The bridge officially opened July 6, 1899, and remained in service for 34 years.
Gorge Bridge, The Geographic Centre of the Gorgea

Axenstrasse, Switerland

Galleries an der Axenstrasse mit Blick auf Vierwaldstättersee u. Brisenstock
[Galleries (the open bits on the side) along the Axenstrasse with views of Vierwaldstättersee (Lake Lucerne) & Brisenstock (the mountain)]
Publisher: E. Goetz, Lucerne

Google Street View.

The engineer, Landamman (cantonal council’s president) of Uri, and Federal Councillor of State Karl Emanuel Müller (1804–1869) initiated the first road for horse-drawn carriages. Construction on a new road to connect Flüelen to Brunnen began in 1861, and was completed in 1865. The name of the Axenstrasse refers to one particular part of the mountains the Axenstrasse circumvents and traverses, the 600 m (2,000 ft) high, vertical rock between Flüelen and Sisikon, actually a farmed meadow terrace (Ober Axen and Unter Axen) right below the much higher Rophaien (2,078 m (6,818 ft)). The route, especially in the part south of Sisikon, involves many open passages with rock galleries and numerous openings in the west tunnel walls viewing Urnersee as a result of the tunnel blasting through the calcareous rock. The road costs were 842,000 francs in 1865, half of which was paid for by the federal government of Switzerland. Between 1937 and 1939, the Axenstrasse was altered to suit modern traffic in lieu of horse-drawn carriages, and a lane in each direction for road traffic was paved. Many sections of the old Axenstrasse were also closed to automotive traffic to serve as hiking trails

The road was built along steep cliffs on the east side of Lake Lucerne, weaving through many rock fall galleries and tunnels along its route. Adverse weather conditions are common. Ice and snow can be on the way. Upon completion in 1865, the Axenstrasse was the first way to get to Uri that did not involve navigating Lake Lucerne. The route between the Axen Mountain and Flüelen existed in 1776 as the Landstrasse (country road). Construction on a new road to connect Flüelen to Brunnen began in 1861, and was completed in 1865. It was named the Axenstrasse because the road is located along the Axen Mountain.
Dangerous Roads

Axenstrasse mit Bristenstock
[Bristenstock is the mountain]
Publisher: Photoblob Co, Zurich

Pont de la Boucle, Lyon, France

LYON. — Le Pont de la Boucle
Publisher: Neurdein Studio

Google Street View.

In 1862, the Marshal de Castellane was a bridge made of boats connecting the Grand Camp to Sathonay-Camp. This bridge was replaced by a metal bridge in 1874. In 1899, also a new bridge-type metal, the bridge was considered an unusual figure in Lyon because it consisted of two major airlines’ arches, resting on two intermediate replacement batteries as the Bridge Loop, due to the large curve of the Rhone against the “balmes Caluire.” It was 280 meters long with a small width (10.80 m) to only 5.40 meters carriageway, flanked by two streets of 2.70 m (8 ft 10 in). This caused its narrow loss. It held a limited volume of 7.5 tonnes, which was very inadequate for the needs of traffic.

Construction of the bridge (cropped, from Wikimedia Commons).

The Pont Winston Churchill is a three span prestressed concrete box girder bridge that was built in 1982. It’s the latest in a series of bridges built at this location, which included the Pont Marshal de Castellane that was built in 1862 by lashing boats together. You can still see the piles from the previous bridge in front of the pier in the photo [on the web site]
Bridge of the Week

On the bridge, (edited, from Wikimedia Commons).

Bridge of Rocks, Boursault, France

BOURSAULT.- La Grotto due Château
Note on back dated 1918

Google Street View

Pont de Roches : construit dans la seconde moitié du xixe siècle en pierres assemblées, reliant Boursault à Vauciennes, il est maintenant fermé à la circulation.
[Bridge of Rock: built in the second half ot the 19th century in assembled stones, connecting Boursault to Vauciennes,it is now closed to traffic]

Grand Canal, Trieste, Italy

Canale Grande e Chiesa St. Atonio
[Canal Grande and Church of Sant’Antonio Nuovo]
Publisher: Ludovico Smolars & Nipoti

Google Street View.

The Canal grande is a navigable canal located in the heart of the Borgo Teresiano, in the very center of the city of Trieste, approximately halfway between the railway station and Piazza Unità d’Italia. It was built between 1754 and 1756 by the Venetian Matteo Pirona, further digging the main collector of the salt pans, when these were buried to allow the urban development of the city outside its walls. It was built so that boats could come directly to the city center to unload their goods. In its initial conformation, the canal was longer than it is today, reaching as far as the church of Sant’Antonio. The terminal part of the canal was buried in 1934, with rubble resulting from the demolition of the old city, thus obtaining the current Piazza Sant’Antonio.

Present-day Borgo Teresiano (from Corso Italia to Piazza della Libertà) was once an area of salt marshes, now completely reclaimed. The channels perpendicular to the seafront were surveyed extensively and plans were made to excavate them in order to expand the navigable area of the city and allow easy loading / unloading of goods at canal-side warehouses, but the project was later abandoned and the Canal Grande remained the city’s only canal. . . . The canal was one of the nerve centres of Trieste’s commercial hub. Its banks are still lined with the squares, churches and historic cafés built by the merchants who made the city great
Discover Trieste

Canal, Bruges

Bruges — Qual du Pont de la Clef
Publisher: Enrest Thill

Google Street View.

Sleutelbrug (Key Bridge)
Music lovers, go and visit this ancient bridge dating as far back as the year 1331. The ‘key’ in the name does not refer to the treble clef, but to the 15th-century brewery ‘De Sleutels’ (The Keys). This was located more or less where the hotel ‘Monsieur Ernest’ now is. However, it is the Speelmanskapel (Minstrels Guild’s Chapel) that plays first fiddle here. ‘Speelman’ is another word for minstrel or medieval musician. The Bruges musicians were united in a guild and came together in this chapel, one of the city’s last preserved guild chapels. Only they, and no one else, were allowed to officiate at weddings and celebrations in Bruges. Really nice people. Smart, too. The Sleutelbrug is somewhat hidden, but still close to the lively ‘t Zand Square with the Concertgebouw, Bruges’ contemporary music temple.

Visit Bruges