Sunday, June 28, 2015

Safety Hazard at Bulls Bridge (ongoing construction debris)

The old wires that work crews had used to work under Bulls Bridge were cut and allowed to fall into the river when the crew set up new ones.  Be very careful about these wires.  They do not give the same indications when they are just below the surface as a log would.

Ted and I put on the river today around 4 pm.  The level on the paint was just above 1.  We saw old cables draped across the concrete abutment and decided to clean up the debris that the work crews had not.

One of the cables was stuck, and is still in the water.  The second one could be pulled on to shore completely (river left) and placed above the 3' mark.  Both are still attached to the bank, so need to be cut with a torch or cutoff wheel.  I may approach the work crew this week to see what their plan if for this stuff.

One thing to note is that this does not mean that the work crew was being lazy or purposely irresponsible.  Most people do not know that things falling into the river present a hazard to the boating community (and it is our job to educate them).  There are some cables on shore, by the road, indicating that the crew was replacing old cables with new ones so they could safely work under the bridge.  The arrows show the new cables used to support the work platform.  

To summarize:  one cable is still in the water as of tonight.  More debris may fall into the water as the bridge is repaired.  The work crew has a quitting time, and whatever is not finished at that time is left for the next work day, so the whitewater community has to be alert around this job site.


Update (June 30):
I spoke with the work crew yesterday.  They understood the hazard that debris would present to boaters, particularly cables, and promised to remove them all.  When a few of us paddled at the end of the day, it was apparent that they only removed the cables that were easy to access and left the ones that Ted and I had clean up on the shore and still extending into the water.  Be very careful about these.  They are on river left side.  They are high enough that they should not be a problem at levels of 3 and lower, but conditions change daily.  

If anyone knows of the State of CT department that approves these kinds of operations and/or the contractors that got the work for Bulls Bridge, please post a comment.  They need to be made aware of the danger that they are presenting to the boating community, at a designated boat launch, where it is widely known that boaters navigate that waterway on a regular basis.

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