An aerial view of a frozen Portage Canal looking toward the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connecting the twin cities of Houghton and Hancock Michigan, photographed by Lane Alholinna.
MON. JAN. 10, 2022
TORCH LAKE, Mich. — Dr. Bob Lorinser, candidate for US Congress in Northern Michigan and the U.P., is showcasing a scenic photo of the day series, featuring landscape images from across the district.
Constituents are welcome to submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today's Photo of the Day is an aerial view of a frozen Portage Canal looking toward the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connecting the twin cities of Houghton and Hancock Michigan, photographed by Lane Alholinna.
This iconic bridge connects the twin cities of Houghton and Hancock, and welcomes nearly double the amount of traffic than the Mighty Mac, with 20,000 daily crossings.
Local county officials are considering a second bridge but will need an ally in Congress to champion the Federal allocation of resources to implement infrastructure improvements.
The Houghton Hancock Bridge, officially known as the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, is the only bridge of its type in Michigan. When completed, it was the heaviest vertical lift span ever constructed. The unique bridge was designed as a double-deck bridge. The lower deck was designed for railroad traffic, and the upper deck was for highway traffic.
However, to minimize the disruption of vehicular traffic on the bridge, the lower railroad deck of the lift span was designed to also accommodate vehicular traffic. This allowed the bridge to be raised slightly so that the railroad deck served the highway deck. While this would leave the railroad level of the bridge closed to trains, vehicular traffic could continue to cross the bridge, while allowing boats of intermediate size to pass under the bridge, where they would not have been able to do so if the left span was fully lowered.
For large ships, the span could also be fully raised, which would completely stop traffic on the bridge. Today, trains no longer use the bridge, but the lower deck continues to serve as a crossing for snowmobiles in the winter. During the winter, the lift span is fully lowered, enabling snowmobiles to use the lower lift span deck level, while vehicular traffic uses the upper lift span deck level.
At all other times of the year, the bridge is raised to the intermediate position, allowing vehicular traffic to use the lower lift span deck level, while closing off the unused lower snowmobile deck level. Today, the bridge does not appear to raise beyond the intermediate level frequently, since large ships do not use the waterway as often. However it does raise beyond the intermediate position occasionally for sail boats.
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