Through RVillage.com we discovered that Jim and Chris Guld (Geeks on Tour) were staying in the same campground. They sent us a message and we decided to take a bicycle ride together to the Rock Island Arsenal located approximately 12 miles to the southwest along the Great River Trail bicycle path.
Construction began on the project in 1931 and the entire locks and dam were put into service in 1934. L&D #15 is somewhat different from others in the system as it is a double lock system. The main lock is 110 feet x 600 feet, and the auxillary lock is 110 feet x 360 feet. Barges over 600 feet in length have to be split and "double locked" as the process is known.
One of the interesting features of this lock and dam is the use of a swing bridge near the west end of the lock. It's necessary to open and close the span each time a tall tug passes through the lock. The swing bridge is over 100 years old and still works perfectly. It's even more amazing when you consider that it's a double stacked bridge. There is a two lane roadway on the lower section for vehicles and a railway up top for trains. Take a look at the following video to watch it in operation.
(Click on "Play" arrow above to view video)
If you've never seen a lock and dam in operation, it's certainly worth a few minutes of your time to watch as these huge vessels are moved along the water system. On Saturday, our friends Bill and Kris Osborne (SeeingtheUSA blog) joined us to take a tour of the lock and dam facility. Unfortunately, pictures are not allowed, so everyone will just have to visit on their own. :) Abby, the ranger leading the tour, was very knowledgeable.
Thanks for stopping by to take a look!