Sunday, October 16, 2011

Working on the Mississippi

Tug boat pushing fifteen barges up the Mississippi River
Two weeks ago I got call on a Saturday evening from my supervisor that we were needed on an emergency survey on the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri.  Within a few hours one of our boat captains and myself were on the road towing one of our small survey boats.  We drove straight through taking turns driving and sleeping and arrived Monday afternoon.  By Monday night we had data for the client.  The client was willing to spend a lot of money to get us there in a hury and I think there were very impressed with our response.  This was the first time working for Tetra Tech that I have billed 24 hours a day.  By the end of the week I had worked over 100 hours.

Working on the Mississippi has been a treat.  There is a lot of American history associated with the Mississippi and I was happy to see that it is still very much alive with shipping and commerce.  Some of the other rivers I have worked on in the Midwest, such as the Saginaw River in Michigan and the Fox River in Wisconsin, used to serve as important modes of travel and transportation. Now their swing bridges go unused and the locks and dams sit in a state of decay.

The Mississippi on the other had, is still traveled by massive tugs and barges moving goods into the heart of the country.  The locks that make the river navigable for these tugs are massive and unlike anything I have seen before.  We traversed one of the locks to get from the boat launch to our survey area.  The locks made us feel tiny.  It was not even necessary for us to tie up as we could easily motor around while they raised or lowered the water.

Surveying on the Saginaw River in 2009.  In the background is a railroad drawbridge and behind that are newer fixed position car bridges.

No comments:

Post a Comment