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BigRedDog

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Where does 'Up North' begin?
« on: July 06, 2018, 10:17:00 AM »

Here's the results of a cod survey.  I voted for the Zilwaukee Bridge.  Having lived and worked near that arbitrary line I figured it was as good as anything on the list.  The people that travel up the west side of the state don't have such an easy 'line' to cross.

https://www.clickondetroit.com/all-about-michigan/michigan-travel/the-people-have-spoken-here-s-where-michigan-s-up-north-begins

I remember when they were building the current Zilwaukee Bridge and one night heard on the news that the bridge had 'tilted' while they were hanging a section.  I was working 5 or 6 miles down the river (Saginaw) so we made it a point to take a boat for a 'test ride' up the river to see what was happening.  We really weren't supposed to go that far so we took a fast boat so we wouldn't be gone too long!  No cell phones at the time and even though I had nice cameras they weren't something I carried with me all the time. 

When we cross the bridge I can still feel the dip in the road from the 'shift'. 

So, in my opinion that dip marks the line for 'up north' in Michigan!
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Maverick

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2018, 10:31:05 AM »

Every time I cross that bridge I think of it's nickname-- Blanchards Folly
I would have voted for Flint but the bridge makes sense.
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blue2

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2018, 11:03:46 AM »

When i think of Up North i think of the UP. 
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SidecarFlip

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2018, 11:56:33 AM »

'Up North' to me is North of Detroit.

I always heard the Zilwaukee had the dip because the north side and the south side didn't line up when built, so it has a dip in  it.
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Maverick

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2018, 02:42:23 PM »

My memory sucks but what I remember is the column sunk after it was built but they took it out and replaced it. The original company went bankrupt over it. I think it was a japanese company. The dip is not from it sinking. I am sure there is some other engineering reason for the dip. They surely didn't just leave it in after they found that the column  had settled.
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BigRedDog

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2018, 04:34:24 PM »

My memory sucks but what I remember is the column sunk after it was built but they took it out and replaced it. The original company went bankrupt over it. I think it was a japanese company. The dip is not from it sinking. I am sure there is some other engineering reason for the dip. They surely didn't just leave it in after they found that the column  had settled.

My memory isn't so good on some things but I still remember this incident pretty well.

This was the first 'glued together' bridge I'd ever seen.  Technically I think it's cable post tension concrete pre-cast segments and then they 'sealed' the joints with epoxy.  We were working with Gougeon Brothers at the time building boats and boat parts with their West System Epoxy so we had a lot of discussion with some high level Dow Chemical staff about the various things you could use epoxy for.

Anyway, the 'problem' had nothing to do with any of the components or design or even the epoxy...   it was plain old 'operator error'. 

If anyone watched them build the Veteran's Skyway in Toledo it was almost identical. 

You start with a concrete pier that sits down on something solid.  Then they bring in a long horizontal crane that stretches from one pier to the next and beyond.  Then they hang a segment of the pre-cast which includes the road bed and a tunnel you can stand up inside of.  The weight of most of the sections was just over 100 tons if my memory is correct.  Anyway, hang one on one side of the pier and then hang one on the other side of the pier.  Once you're out from the pier a predetermined distance the leverage gets overwhelming so you have to 'balance' things while you're installing each segment.  In essence they would hang a 'dummy' load of the equivalent 100+ tons on the end opposite so the pier looked like a 'T' and the top section kept getting longer and longer and longer.  Perfectly balanced more or less.  The night of the mishap there was some kind of distraction going on with the crane operator.  we heard plenty of rumors but I don't know any of them to be fact so I'll just let your imagination go wild.  Saginaw was known for lots of illicit behavior even back then.  For whatever reason the operator didn't push the lever to move the dummy load out to keep things balanced.  Once the deck piece was in place and all slathered up with epoxy they they ran cables through it and back to the main anchor point and they 'tensioned' those with a big torque wrench.  The tension was the critical factor. 

Somehow through all of this (they could only hang a couple of pieces in a 24 hour period) and maybe even after a shift change they finally released the 'lift' on the crane and theoretically it also released the lift on the dummy weight at the same time...   except for reasons never disclosed (that I ever heard anyway) there was no dummy weight to balance anything.  The section tilted almost as fast as they were letting the weight off the crane and it became obvious 'something' was wrong.  As Mav mentioned there was a bankruptcy and lawsuits galore and the bridge opening was delayed for several years. 

They finally put a dog leg in at the bottom of the pier to help support it and it seems like they even tilted it back some so that the dip became acceptable. 

I'll look around later.  There must be some good photos or video of the 'snafu'!!!

The irony is that in the time they waited to finish the bridge the 'reason' for building the bridge went out of business and in the end they really didn't need the bridge anyway.

When they designed I-75 back in the 50s or early 60s some brighass engineer decided it would be a cost savings to put in a low level drawbridge over the Saginaw River which was and still is a 'navigable waterway'.  The interesting fact is that from the Straits of Mackinac all the way to Miami I-75 had just exactly one place where traffic would have to frequently come to a stop...

Zilwaukee, Michigan!!! 

Although there were regular freighters that took grain and iron ore up and down the river it might only be a few trips a week.

However General Motors had an iron casting plant (engines maybe?) on the river and they had a major demand for molding sand.  A vendor owned a dredge (we not so affectionately called it the 'sand sucker' (or worse if you had to wait at one of the several drawbridges in Bay City) and it ran 24-7.  It would go out into Saginaw Bay and 'suck up' the sand off the bottom of the bay and turn right around and take it up to the foundry and dump it off and change crews and go right back out again.  They could make several trips a day and that included major holidays when 75 was jammed without a stop.

After several years they spent million$$$ of our tax dollars and built the 675 'loop' that took people around the drawbridge.  Sounded good in theory but people are strange in that they didn't want to drive the extra couple of miles but would rather sit in a long line or just crash into the vehicle ahead of them. 

So, after spending many, many million$$$ on that 'solution' that didn't work they decided to spent another many million$$$ on a high level bridge to go 'over' the ships.  Then the new bridge 'crashed' (literally in this case) while they were building it and while everyone was trying to sort out what was and wasn't happening GM quietly closed the foundry and the sandsucker got sold or scrapped and now a few freighters a week go up and down the Saginaw River far enough to pass beyond Zilwaukee.  I think there's a grain elevator and some kind of a cement or gypsum operation on the river and one of those may actually be north of Zilwaukee.

Mav mentions it being Blanchard's boondoggle...   I'm not sure he owned all of it since 75 is a federal highway but the economy of Saginaw and to a lesser extent Bay City thrived for a long stretch due to the almost ever present road and bridge crews.

And now all they have to show for it is a 'dip' in the road and the line to 'up north' :) :) :)
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BigRedDog

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2018, 07:31:09 PM »

Here's some videos and articles on the bridge.  I see they reference the incident as an 'accident' but the word around town at the time is that it was not an 'accident'!!!

This is from Mlive and is a video to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the bridge (finally) opening.

The history, design and construction of the Zilwaukee Bridge 30 Years Later


I found this one but haven't watched it yet.  Kind of long but may have more details on the 'accident'.

Construction of The Zilwaukee Bridge (Historical Video)



This must be the article from Mlive that goes with the video.

https://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2017/12/myths_facts_history_and_the_30.html


This article even has a photo of the 'sandsucker' going through the old drawbridge with traffic backed up and impatiently waiting!



above photo from:

http://www.michiganhighways.org/indepth/zilwaukee.html

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BigRedDog

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2018, 08:08:10 PM »

I did watch the 20 minute video.  Not a thing in it about the 'oooopssss'...

it does mention that the bridge was built using only Dundee Cement! 
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eriemermaid

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2018, 09:31:14 PM »

For me, up north starts at Lake City

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BigRedDog

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2018, 08:44:37 AM »

For me, up north starts at Lake City

When we lived in Midland then Houghton Lake - Lake City were the 'up north' line for us. 
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eriemermaid

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2018, 02:36:53 PM »

I am in Frankfort right now and am loving it up here!

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SidecarFlip

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2018, 02:44:00 PM »

Frankfort Illinois?
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BigRedDog

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2018, 08:08:36 AM »

I am in Frankfort right now and am loving it up here!

When I was first home from the Army we took care of a boat that spent summers in Frankfort but winters in Bay City. 

Just for fun I Googled 'Mitch-Mate' and 'Frankfort' and actually got a hit.

There are pictures of the much larger Mitch-Mate III.  I don't remember a number on the one we took care of so it was probably the first one.  It was around 60 feet which was at the high end of what we could take out of the water with the equipment we had.

https://www.shiawasseehistory.com/mitchell.html   

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blue2

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2018, 11:16:33 AM »

i lkied Frankfurt although i'd only been there in the fall.  We stayed in a group of 3 houses on the northside of the lake. 
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FritzTheKat

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Re: Where does 'Up North' begin?
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2018, 11:57:43 AM »

Flint

75 23 merge and I69
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