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Full text of "The history and construction of the Hanover Street Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland."

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DBO. 2, 1934. 

The point in the right middle ground is "Ferry Bar. 


2xiox to 1856, communication from Ferry .oar, 
Baltimore City, Cj Anne Arundel County was "by ferries 
running to a number of points, in 18F6, Richard 0. Orisp 
and Hichard Gromwell wore given the right to build a toil 
bridge Iron Perry .Bar across to Brooklyn in Anne arundol 
County. This bridge was operated until 1880, when the 
oity of Baltimore and Anne Arundel County bought it. It 
was reconstructed of timber in 1891 and remained in use 
until 1J16, when the present bridge was constructed. 

The Hanover Street Bridge is a true cantilever 
bridge encased in reinforced cone rote to give the appearance 
of a true elliptical arch. The cantilever design was 
adopted on account of tno soft mud and troacherous bottom 
and economical construction, The piers are of concrete, 
with just enough reinforcing to bind and confine the mass. 
The supers true tore consists of a retaining wall resting on 
piles, a long arcade and twelve cantilever spans with a Hall 
type bascule bridge for the channel. The retaining wall 
extends for 250 ft. l J in. The aroucte is 4b0 ft, 10 in, long. 
The center to center distance between tno piers for the 
cantilevers is 103 ft. in., and the bascule is 286 ft, 4 in. 
long. The spans of the superstructure consist of ten arch 
ribs composed of structural steel. The total length of the 

bridge between abutments ia 8290 ft. Z in. There are 50 
£oet of filaar roadway and two 8 ft. sidewalks. Included 
in the briage project was the cutting tnru the point of 
land -between the middle branch and the main branch of the 
?atapsco River, and filling and building two bridges 
across the main branch, These bridges are of the reinforced 
concrete girder type 500 ft. and 100 ft. long. All condi- 
tions as to roadway, sidewalks, conduits, loading, etc. 
are the same as the main bridge across the middle branch. 

At the proseat time, the entire project while not 
unsafe for use, is in poor condition structurally. The 
arcade and the fill at tho nortu, or Baltimore end of the 
mam bridge, are settling. The concrete work is in poor 
shape on tne big bridge, having crumbled in numerous 
places. The fill at the main branch has settled and con- 
tinues to settle; and the north abutment of trie 500 ft. 
briage must be replaced. The entire job, in the opinion 
of various people, was poorly carriod thru, with the result 
that there has been a continual patching process required 
to keep the project in passable condition. 


Reports of the State Roads uonnission of iiaryland 

for 1914-16, 
S'ilea of tne Baltimore Sunday dun (B, Latrobe Weston). 
U on tract drawings in possession ot J. 2. (ireiner Co, 
" it ti it « harbor Engineer 

of B al t imo r e , 1 id . 
Partial Specifications in possession of tne State Roads 

Commission of Maryland. 

i'ho writer wishes to express his gratitude to the 
various engineers of the City of Baltimore ana tne state 
of Maryland who vsero very kind in placing at his disposal 
the various plans and specifications which were available. 
nowcver, due to the age of the structure and the little use 
of information on this bridge, the plana and specifications 
vii ere very incomplete. 

_1 _ 


'She .?atap3Co Rivor, at Perry xiar, aep«rated 
the 8»u»k»ru part of Baltimore l're* we.** useu to be a 
peyuleua and. prosperous farming diatriot uround Broeklya 
in Anne Arundel County. True, tnere a&a a bridge across 
the iiver at Humphrey, Anne arundel County, but this route 
into Baltimore meant a detour o :' several miles. Eather 
tnan take this long trip, mo at of tne people of tne 
Brooklyn section resorted to ferries, of whiek there were 
several, running from *erry Bar to various points on the 
county ahoro. Possibly the most picturesque of the old 
ferryaen waa tiack ^lood known to the elder generation of 
Baltimore fox nis Beer Pardon on Ferry liar. 

Richard Oronwoll was a wealthy farmer , of the 
Brooklyn district, who owned a £00 acre fan*. 16 the 
difficulty sn& expense of getting the products of his farm 
to aarkst that lod him with Eiohard 0. Grisp to petition 
the Maryland Legislature for tne right to build a toll 
bridge from ferry aar across to Brooklyn, jsy authority 
granted under Aots of 1056, Chapter 816, Laws of Maryj.anu, 
the two i'jen were grantee. the:r request, 'i'he briage which 
was constructed was the parent of the later Light Street 
Briage and the present Hanover Street span. The old bridge, 

_c ^ 

being one tail a loti^, »aa nicknamed "lone Bridge", and 
this nana stuck to the Light Street structure until its 
demolition in (1916). The bridge operated as a toll bridge 
on a well paying basis until 1880, when it was purchased 
by the Mayer and >Jity Council oi Baltimore and the county 
commissioners of Anno Arundel County at a cost of £.3600, 
...f tor this time iho bridge was made free. 

in lbdl, the bridge naa rocons true ted of timber, 
with a turn draw over the channel at a cost of about 
$166,000* 'The reconstructed bridge was officially known 
as the Lignt Street jiriago because of tno fact that its 
Baltiaore end was at tne foot of Light street. This 
structure, with very* extensive repairs, remained in use 
until tne Hanover i treat .bridge was opened to traffic 
in ±1*16. 

The importance of the bridge as a link between 
Baltimore ana Annapolis and. Southeri Maryland increased 
aa time want on. The traffic ovor it, to these points, in- 
creased so greatly that a larger, more modern, and more 
permanent bridge became imperative. In 1913 the City of 
Baltimore voted on a bond issue of $2,000,000 to replace 
the bridge; but the loan was defeated by popular vote. In 
1914 the Maryland Legislature appropriated yl.oOO.OOO from 
the .state road loan, under Chapter 367, to be used in Baltimore 


Qity. ihe State Heads 'Jomnission was to orect a new 
"bridge along the liaos of the old Light 3 treat bridge or 
from the foot of uharles or hanover streets, to a point of 
land in Baltiraoro bounty, thence by a street across the 
joint of land in Baltimore bounty to the Patapaco P.iver, 
ana across the Patapseo River by a fill and bridge to 
.^irst Street, Brooklyn, inne Arundel Uounty. r i'hc point 
of land in Baltimore County, as well as Brooklyn, is now 
a part of Baltimore City, If there was any unexpended 
balance remaining, the ;3aae was to be spent on paving 
streets in Baltimore uity. m compliance with this 
Act she State Roads Commission made an investigation 
into the most logical location for the bridge, After 
exhaustive studies and a number of conferences with tohe 
unite a States Engineer's office, as well as wl tn those 
interested, it was deeiaea to construct, the bridge from the 
foot ox haaover street. This was done so as to interfere 
as little us possible with the commerce of the harbor and 
throw below the bridge a very much larger area which aould 
tie uaed for harbor purxjoses. At the same time, thia gave a 
great dual more pier frontage below the bridge so that 
vessels plyiag in this locality would not have to pass thru 
the draw. 



i 1 he main bridge o*er tae Liiddle Branch la 
2290 ft. 2 in. long, from its Baltimore, or northern 
extremity, to its southern abutment. Frem the northern 
end a reinforced concrete retaining wall resting on piles 
extends on a fill 2b0 it. 9 in. into the river. A rein- 
forced concrete arcade extends from the end of the retain- 
ing wall 450 ft. 10 in. to pier number 1. x'hero are 
twelve cantilever spans for which the piera are placed 
1 'J5 ft. 3 in. center to center, and a Rail type bascule 
bridLge 2d6 ft. 4 in. in length over tho channel, 'ihe road- 
way is 50 ft. in the clear, and there are two sidewalks 
which are b ft. wide. The bridge is designed for a dead 
load of 1L50 pounds per square foot of surface, and two 
street car tracks weighing £50 pounds per lineal foot, The 
live load is for two b0 ten electric cars, one on each track 
with two four wheel trucks; on the roadway two 24 ton 
trucks; and on the sidewalks 103 pounds per square foot. 
xho live load stresses were increased by 16 per cent for 
iiapao t , 

a ver^ cloee investigation was made of the 
bottom for tho construction of tho substructure of the 
bridge. xhe depth of the water was from four to twenty- 
eight feet deep in the channel. Ihe sub soil consisted of 

50 ft. of soft mud, then a strata of gravel and sand, then 
el ay, then a layer of gravel to solid oottom which was 
approximately 100 ft, below the surface of the water. 

The substructure for the retaining wall and arcade 
ooaaiats of Georgia long leaf pine piles driven firem 75 ft, 
to 100 it, below the surface of the water, and filled around 
with gravel and sand up to five feet above the water. The 
refusal of those piles was 1/8 in. movement per blow for 
five clows of a 3000 pound hammer, with a 15 ft. drop. The 
concrete in the wall was 1 - 2-1/2-5 mix below the coping; 
and 1 - 3-4 nix in the coping and above. The reinforcement 
consisted of 3/4 in, open hearth stool reinforcing rods 
placed 3 diameters apart. The arcade consists of 95 rein- 
forced concrete colunns resting on piles like the retaining 
wall. There are la transverse rows of these columns, 
b across. 

The piors are 15 in number. ?our of these are 
extra heavy because of tneir connection with the bascule. 
.mother, the first pier beyond the arcade is heavier than 
tne remaining piors. The piles, for the footings of all 
tno pi era, were driven any where from Vfc ft. to ±00 ft. 
below the surface of the water. Owing to the groat depth 
of soft mud, the foundations were difficult and extra- 
ordinary care had to be taken with the building and bracing 


of the cofferdams. The «ud was pumped from tho cofferdams 
down to from 30 ft. to 40 ft. below the surface of the 
water. The pilea were then filled around with unwashed 
gravel to a depth of about b ft. The concrete was poured 
on the gravel ad a b^se. i'he ordinary piers, ef which there 
are ten, were aet on £L0 piles each. The footings at the 
base measure 26 ft. in. x 60 ft. t> in, and the total 
concrete in the ten piers id Z&bb ou. yds. of 1 - 2-4 nix 
and 6610 eu. yds. »f 1 - L-l/2-5 mix. The five larger piera 
are aet each on 319 piles. The footings at the base 
measure 30 ft. 4 in. x 80 ft. 6 In. The concrete in the 

i a Bear the bascule totals 17 52 eu. yds. of 1 - 2-4 mix 
ana 4624 ou. yds. of 1 - 2-1/2-5 mix, while pier do. 1 at 
the ond of the arcade contains 353 cu. yds. of 1 - 2-4 nix 
and 953 cu. yas. of 1 - 8-1/E-5 nix. Anchor bolts for the 
stool work of the super structure are set in each of the 
piers, .ill of the piers are reinforced horizon tally by a 
network of 3/4 in, reinforcing rods spaced 6 in. apart just 
above the bed of tho footing. The vertical reinforcing 
consists of ju3t sufficient reinforcement to bind and 
confine thu mass of the pier. The stability factor oi tho 
piers is 2. The south abutment of the bridge is built on a 
base of 130 reinforced concrete piles. The concrete used 
thruout the piers is granolithic. The working stresses 


allowed in the concrete work are aa fellows: Compression 
stresses; coacreto under direct compression allowed 
450 pounds per square foot; bending stress on concrete 
allowed on unoon fined surface of concrete is 6E0 pounds per 
square foot, There is no allowable tension stress in 
concrete. The tension stress for steel is 16,000 pounds per 
square foot. The shear stress for concrete is ISO pounds 
per square foot, while the shear stress for the reinforcing 
rods is 12,000 pounds per square foot, 

ihe spars ox the superstructure consist of 10 
arched ribs composed of structural steel; i'he steel being 
made strong enuugh to carry the dead load of the concrete 
and the forms. The steel arch ribs were nude at 
Sparrows Point, fl oaten to tne siue of the bridge on 
lighters, and lifted into place by heavy derricks. Huts to 
tne anchor bolts were screwed down, trie ferns placed and the 
eoner«tiog begun. This nude the erection extremely simple 
and no undarbracing whatever was necessary. The spans are 
true cantilever and all stresses and strains wore computed 
for aueh.. The concrete covering gives the bridge the 
ap^je ara nee of a t ru« e 11 ip tic al arch , 

The sheet asphalt roadway of the bridge is carried 
on the reinforced concrete slab of the bridge. The side- 
walks are of reinforced slab concrete with a granolithic 


finish. The guard rail of the bridge is of monolitnic re- 
inforced concrete about 10 in. thick. These raila are a con- 
tinuation of the sides of triage , being tied to the lower 
stricture "by the reinforcing rocis. The expansion joints, 
which were placed in the concrete work' of th» superstructure 
wnen tne bridge was built, proved inadequate and up until 
1931, when extensile repairs wrre made, there was a 
continual patching going on at those joints. 

The draw span has a clearance of 38 ft. 6 in. 
above mean low water ana a width in the clear when open 
of 150 ft. i'he length between breaks in the roadway at 
each end is ^proximately 195 ft. 8 in. In eacn leaf 
there are two principal s4ruc+ural stael cantilevers one Hfc ft. 
on each side of the center line o^ che bridge. Their 
overall length is 110 ft. 8 in. The SI in. horizontal 
axles divide these into long and short arms of 80 ft. 8 in. 
and ^0 ft. The cantilevers are braced together with the 
flaor beams and top and bottom laterals, and carry the 
street car tracks and .roadway. The paving of the roadway 
on the draw consists of creosote! wooden blocks resting on 
the reinforced concrete slab of the bridge deck. The 8 ft. 
sidewalks are cantilevered outside the girders on structural 
steal brackets which are secured to the vertical members 
of the girders. The sidewalks on the draw consist of 
1-1/2 in. planking placed transversely on the stringers and 
the railing on the draw is of steel. 


Ihe trunnions are of hollow forced steel about 
8 ft. long, SI in. in diameter at the bearing in the 
roller aad 12 in. in diamotcr on the innei end bearing. 
The short am on eaoh leaf contains a stool plate b©3c,h«ld«- 
ing the oo no rote and stone counterweight*. Ihen the Aruw 
is closed, thcro is a 4 in. clearunce between the ends of 
the loaves and the entire load is taken by the oaoi>a.iuvcr 
action of the short amis engaging the horizontal transverse 
anchorage reaction girder set in the heavy piers adjacent 
to tjiQ main bascule piors. There ia a «h«*ar look at the 
center o£ the spun consisting of two 5/4 in, steel plates 
b in. wide and having a loagltjudinal ««vaaent of lb in., 
which tends zo distribute the shearing force over both 
leaves. This lock ia louated in sno nor on leaf, vhe 
engaging sockets in the end of the south leaf. The locking 
device is controlled thru a system of gears and levers 
either by motor or by hand from the operating house at 
the corner of the draw. 

The operation of the draw is by tne Hall bascule 
method, the patent for which ia hold by the Strobel Steel 
Construction Go. of Chicago, 111. It consists of segmental 
racks bolted on to the short arm oi the cantilever girder* 
*nd travelling on a pivoted operating arm. at the same 
time, the trunnions which are mounted on rollers 80 in. in 
diameter and with 20 in, faces aevc taru a horizontal 


distance of Iz it,, whul- She ends of tkm leaved rise. 

ihe racks on eacu Immt are driven by ewo General Electric 
30 ii.P» .i.C motors which are i'uliy enclosed u.nd have 
waterproof insulation. ihe four 1x0 tors for fcha draw are 
all con trolled from the northeast operating house, the 
power for the motors on the south leaf being carried by a 
submarine cable across the channel, i'he motors and operat- 
ing machinery are set under the ends of the span, and they 
are controlled bj means 01" brake tan us, controllers, and 
resistances. The gears are all oust a to el, their teeth, 
rims, ore. running true. Their attachment to the shafts 
are a light drive fit Keyed. Mating spur gear wheels are 
placed so that the molding draft 01 their teeth is reversed. 
The teeth are all trimmed to template so chat the bearing 
marks extend over half their length. Eke gear teeth are of 
the involute curve typet having an ungle oi obliquity of 16°. 
ihe depth ox the teeth is 65 times their circular pitch. 
The journal blocks are of cast steel lined with babbit. 
Shafting over 4-1/2 in. diameter was forged ox rolled and 
turned while that of 4-1/2 in, diameter and under was 
cold rolled. 

All forging3 are annealed and carefully inspected, 
ihe trunnion bearings are provided with compression grease 
aupa, usin^' a £Ln« grade oj: graphite grease, i'he trunnion 
shafts are provided with 1/E in. slots to distribute the 


grease, There are three grease eups to each bearing, 
ihere is also provided auxilliary hand gear operated "by a 
capstan for lifting the leaves of the bascule. These 
emergency devices are located one in the roadway at the 
bridge end of each leaf. 

The bascule piers are protected by buffers on each 
side of the channel. These buffers consist of rows of 
timber piles extending up and down the river for 100 ft. 
on either side of the bridge. These piles are placed 10 ft. 
from the piers. Three horizontal girts are bolted and 
spiked on the piles and vertical planking extending well 
below low water and about 15 ft. above mean low water was 
placed on the girts. At the ends of the buffers, clusters 
of piles, bound with wire cable, were placed. At this 
point, it will be interesting tc aote that it was necessary 
te dredge a now channel as one of the piers of the draw 
span stood directly in wic old channel. 175,000 cu. yds. of 
earth had to be removed at a cost of ££0,000 so as to 
arrange the now chancel to fit tfce draw opening. 

Ihere are four houses at the Axcw but enly one, 
that at the east end of the north pier, is used for an 
sperating house. The southeast and the northwest houses 
were, until a few years ago, used as comfort stations. How- 
ever, the failure of the construction engine ors to locate 
accurately the water mains on the bridge necessitated the 


closing of these comfort stations due tc the impossibility 
of fi.aj.iig a burst wat«r *&iiu The sou un. west house is used 
merely as a storeroom and waiting station. The houses are 
of reinforced monolithic aoncice ^tending ciown to the 
draw piers and the heavy piers adjacent. (Hote - i'he contra k 
drawings called for these houses to be placed on a tooting 
of piles, iiowever, Mr. Kipp, the d&x'b»x Engineer of 
.Baltimore City, states that these houses ure merely 
spanner across adjacent piers, there being no footing below 
tnem) , The houses are about 29 ft. 6 in. long, IS ft. 
wide, and 54 ft. £ in. high. They are suraountea with 
ornamental copper lights, line re are two stories above the 
bridge and a companijnway leads to tne piers underneath. 

The operating house contains all the controls 
and automatic devices used in connection with the draw. 
Motor operated safety gates of the type used at railway 
grade crossings close the roadway on each side of the draw 
when tne draw is open. Those gat-es are controlled from the 
opciating hoiiso. The house contains, besides .he switch- 
board, brakes and oca trailers for various motors, many 
electrical devices which promote the safer operation of the 
draw. i'hero is a sy^em of lights showing tne position of 
each loaf or" the araw in various stages; open, nearly open, 
free, nearly closed, and closed. By means of this device, 
the operator may tell exactly where oaoh leaf is v^iuhoui; 


leaving his post. There is a like system which indicates 
whether the shear lock at the centei of the span is 
locked or unlocked. There are navigation lights ahowlng 
up <*nd dew a the river which show rad while the dra?/ is 
closed but automatically turn to green when the draw reaches 
its full height. 

Included in the iianover Street, Brlape project was 
the cutting thru the point of land in Baltimore County and 
aaxrying the road acroj3 the j»ain branch of the Patupsco 
raver "by means of a fill, a 500 ft, bridge and a 100 ft. 
bridge to first Street, Brooklyn. The -entire length of 
this purv of the project is about 6800 ft. Approximately 
BOO, 000 QU. yds, of earth were removed from the cut and 
placed in the fill, iiue ouv at tne deepest point was 46 ft. 
The section of fill from the Baltimore county side of the 
500 ft. bridge over the. channel of trie Patapaco River was 
placed over a veiy soft bottom and there is still trouble 
with Sale portion of the roadway settling. The two bridges 
are of the reinforcea concrete girder type. They ar* of 
the same width a3 uhe main bridge and are designed for 
the same loads. 

The design of the bridge wda vorked out under Che 
supervision of Ilr. J.JS. Greiner, Consulting Engineer, 
Baltimore, Md. The oeatruet for the eat and superstructure 
of the bridge across the Kiddle Branch was awarded to 


H.T?. 0© averse and Oo. of £03 ton, iAeas. &e connect for 
the construe tien of the lift spans over the main channel 
was awarded to tha dtrobel Steel Construction Co. of 
3ki©ag6, 111. The contract for the small bridges was 
awarded to the Ucican Contracting Co. of Baltimore, hd. 
The total cost 01 the main structure including paving, 
lighting, drawbridge, etc, *aa approximately $900,000. The 
cost of the cut and fill was approximately ^ 115, 000. The 
00 st of the snaalj. bridges was approximately ^130,000. xhe 
total coat of %%m entire project was approximately $1,200,000, 

There have been extensive repairs made on the 
project sinae 1916, In 1917 and 1918 several of tne 
footings under the arcade of the main bridge had to be 
replaced* 'iiha nud had caused the old footings to shift and 
caused some dangerous conditions in the bridge. j?ro* 1925 
on, each year there was werk dane on -no concrete ?<erK at 
„._e expansion joints uhieh were faulty. In 1031 the faulty 
expansion joints were replaced and since that time there 
has been very little trouble of this sort, at the fill in 
the main branch of the Patupsco River there has been much 
trouble with settlement due to the soft bottom. In 1932 
the roaaway was torn up half at a time, so as not to 
interfere with traffic, and piles were driven to carry the 
roadway, however, the roadway continues to settle and 
there has been no satisfactory remedy worked out to date. 


The north abutment of the 600 ft. bridge at the end of 
this fill is* at the present tine, in such a condition as 
to require replacement in the near future. 


The Hanover street Bridge is. in the opinion of 
the engineers in charge of its maintenance, an extremely 
poor pieoe of work. It was the first large bridge 
construction project that the State Beads uommission ever 
attempted, consequently, the inspectors on the job had 
little or no experience in the work they were expected to do. 
This fact is evidenced by trie absenae of the footings for 
the operating houses and the inadequate expansion joints, 
as well as the more serious impairment in the form of the 
shifting of the footings under the arcade, however, in the 
past few years, the repairs which have been made, and are 
being contemplated will keep the bridge in passable 
condition for several years. 

The draw is not very much used at present, Kost 
of the marine traffic under the bridge consists of tugs 
hauling barges and old schooners carrying lumber and bricks 
into the upper reaches of the niddle .Branch, 

The bridge, although itself none too good 
structurally, was a stepping atoae to better bridges for the 


State Roads Commission. At the present time, it is 
carrying its volume of traffic to Annapolis, Southern 
Maryland, and the lately opened shore resorts along the 
uhesapeake and its rivers . It is performing the task 
for which it was built. 


Map showing location 
of old and new bridges. 

View looking south across 
the Patapsco River from Terry 
Bar. Piles from the old bridge 
may be seen just offshore. 


Yiew of Middle Branch bridge looking north from 
Broening Park. 


sjjfc — ^I tt t: 

View of hridge looking west from Ferry Bar. 


View under one of the arches showing the ten girders comprising each 


View of the west side of the south abutment. 


View under the areade at 
the north end of the "bridge. 

View showing the under 
side of the south leaf of the 
Bascule, taken while the draw 
was open* 


Two Tiews of the steel work of tha Bascule, 



One of the four nouses next to the Bascule. 

Plate on the Bascule.