Tag Archives: replacement

New Mukilteo Terminal

Washington State Ferries have opened their first new terminal in 40 years.  Calling it a new terminal is a bit deceptive – it is a replacement for an existing terminal – but it is definitely a new place for the ferries to come in.  It is the new Mukilteo terminal and it is located about a third of a mile from the previous terminal.  That one was right at the end of Mukilteo Speedway next to the lighthouse.  The new location is east along the shore near the old Air Force tank farm location.

The construction has been underway for a while and the switch over happened on December 29, 2020.  The ferries didn’t run for much of that day as they moved some key equipment across from the old location.  Additionally, the crews took the opportunity to get practice with berthing in the new facility.  The transition was done ahead of the holiday to make sure that the surge in traffic over New Year wasn’t affected.

I took a walk along the shore on two days later to see what it all looked like.  The weather was hardly delightful but it was December in the Pacific Northwest so no great shock there.  Additionally, not everything was complete.  The main facilities are open but they have yet to install the passenger footbridge.  That will go in around February/March time.  For now, passenger walk across the road access (not while cars are there, of course!).

That also means some of the construction equipment is still in place.  A large floating crane is still there and will be, I assume, until the footbridge is completed.  They are also tidying up some of the other elements but they should be done pretty soon.

There is a new toll plaza on the entrance to the holding lots.  I didn’t go up to take a look at that but I did get some photos from a distance.  The demand for service was really high on this day with everyone heading home for their New Year celebrations.  Despite the large holding lanes, it was full and traffic was waiting beyond the plaza and up the hill.

The main building is a really elegant structure.  Lots of wood construction and styled on a native long house, it contains an information center, a ticket office and some other facilities.  There is lots of native art decorating it both inside and out including a cool boat hanging from the roof.  The building is elevated over the road access.  The ramp for loading comes straight in to the shore and leads directly under the building.  It means you have a nice elevated view of the boats as the come and go.

There is a waterfront trail that runs from up near the lighthouse to a park further to the east so you can walk along the shore to see the facilities and watch the boats.  Near the terminal, there are many information boards giving some history of the region and these are quite educational.  On a sunnier day, I can imagine there will be plenty of people enjoying this part of the shoreline and checking out the ferry traffic.

Re-Roofing Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral was something I would easily recognize from a distance.  It has, for many years, had a copper roof and this gave it a bright green color.  It was very distinctive.  When we were in Chichester this year, we walked around the cathedral grounds and they were working to replace the roof.  Apparently, copper had been used in a previous re-roofing because it was cheaper.  However, it was not an ideal material for the roof as it was not heavy enough and had moved in the weather allowing some significant water damage to the wooden structure underneath.

This is now being repaired and the roof material replaced with the leads that had been used prior to the copper.  The project is underway in phases and has made good progress.  Some of the exposed roof sections are already done so the remaining work is under scaffolding.  However, there is still signs of the green roof.  Soon the cathedral will look something like its original configuration.  I shall miss the green but I imagine those looking after the cathedral won’t miss it so much!

Closing the Viaduct and Opening the Tunnel

For decades, the dominant feature of the Seattle waterfront has been the Alaskan Way Viaduct.  This carried Route 99 from the south side of the city along the waterfront before diving into the Battery Street Tunnel and then popping above ground to continue to the north.  It was a double deck viaduct with the northbound traffic on top and the southbound traffic on the lower level.  The viaduct suffered damage in the Nisqually Earthquake and further investigation showed just how vulnerable it was so the replacement process commenced.

The replacement is a tunnel.  Building the tunnel under the city was not an easy task.  A tunnel boring machine named Big Bertha was brought in to cut the tunnel.  Unfortunately, at some point it struck a hard object which damaged the main bearing for the cutting head.  A hole had to be dug and the machine extracted, repaired and reinserted.  This added years to the project but finally, in January 2019, the viaduct was closed.  A three-week period was set aside between closure of the viaduct and opening of the tunnel to allow reconfiguration of the approaches at each end.

On the weekend before the tunnel opened for traffic, WSDOT held celebrations.  A fun run took place on the Saturday and the Sunday included a bike ride.  This included riding both directions through the new tunnel as well as both directions on the old viaduct.  I signed up to take part.  Tons of cyclists also took the opportunity and the event was sold out well in advance.  The number of people mean things were pretty crowded and it could be congested at times.  The long descent in the opening tunnel section could have been quite fast but it wasn’t possible to speed along given how many people there were.

The new tunnel sections were nice and well let.  We actually rode quite a distance south after popping out near the Coast Guard base in the harbor and the wind was in our faces but that meant the run back was a lot easier.  The second part of the tunnel had to be a climb given the descent we had made originally but it wasn’t too bad.  Then we turned and were directed on to the streets to enter the Battery Street Tunnel.

This was a far more dismal experience.  It is a dark and dirty tunnel and I was pleased to get through it quickly.  We actually went through it the wrong way and we went south on the northbound part of the viaduct before diverting off and coming back on the lower level.  One last run through the dirty tunnel and we had completed the ride.  As I exited, plenty of riders were just starting.  It would have been possible to do it all again but I was happy to have done it and decided it was time to go home.  Later that day a serious (for Seattle) snow storm swept in so we had been lucky to get the ride done without any disruption.

Out with the Old and In With the Nui

Sorry for the corny pun but I just couldn’t resist.  One of my favorite airliners to shoot has been the Air Tahiti Nui A340-300.  I have seen them at LAX on a number of visits.  Shooting them taking off on the south complex has been possible on a few occasions and I was super lucky to get one of them landing on the north complex when I was overhead in the helicopter.  The A340s are getting a bit old at this point, though, so their replacement has been ordered and it is going to be the Boeing 787-9.

One of the jets was in flight test at Everett so, with nice weather on a weekend and flying underway, I couldn’t resist a trip up to get the return.  I was too late for a takeoff shot.  The conditions were great.  A cold snap meant that the air was clear and the sun, while it disappeared for a while shortly after I arrived, was back in plenty of time for the return.  Consequently, as the plane came across the Cascades, I could see it easily prior to it turning north to come in on the approach.  Mt Baker was clear in the background as they made the turn to final approach.

The dark colors of the livery make it necessary to use a bit of shadow slider when processing the shots.  It was just after midday so the light was a bit on the nose of the jet but you could still get something good for the fuselage sides.  The touchdown was a bit firm providing a smoky cloud of tire rubber.  I wonder how much tread the airline expects to have at delivery?  Often the jets will come back for a rejected takeoff run but this time they went straight back to the ramp.

Speeding Up Lightroom

YouTube is a fantastic way to lose track of time.  It may well have an abundance of crap but it also has lots of informative material.  More importantly, watch one thing and you get recommendations of other things, many of which are actually quite useful.  I was watching a video by Tony Northrup on building a computer for photo processing and he was talking about putting the Lightroom catalog on an SSD.  This got me thinking about something.

When I built my system, I installed an SSD to be the drive on which the OS is installed along with the applications.  I have traditional hard drives for the data storage.  One of these was set up with the Lightroom catalogs keeping them separate from the image files to make the response time better.  At the time of the build, a 250Gb SSD was affordable but not cheap so that was what I went with.  With everything installed, that doesn’t have enough space for the catalogs.

I never thought more about it until after this video.  I started thinking about some old SSDs I have and looked at whether the catalogs would fit on either of them.  It turns out that, with all of the preview files, the SSDs were not big enough.  However, I did then have a look at the price of a drive that would be large enough such as another 250Gb drive.  That would have plenty to spare to account for future needs.

While looking at these, I was also able to see 500Gb drives and they are only about $150.  I was unaware just how much the price had fallen.  Consequently, a spare drive bay now holds my Lightroom catalogs.  I only have a relatively small amount of experience with the new configuration but it is safe to say that things are positively zipping along compared to where they were before.  I was wondering whether the system might be in need up upgrade or replacement but this one change seems to have made things significantly better.  I will report further if I discover more but, if you have a similar configuration, this might be the upgrade that makes things noticeably better.

Boris Bus

C59F0545.jpgMy years living and working in London were spent when the Routemaster was still a regular feature. As we left, the time was coming when the fleet would be retired and subsequent visits involved a more conventional selection of buses to get around the capital. (As an aside, when visiting London, use the bus rather than the tube. You see so much more and feel a lot more part of the city.). The days of jumping on and off moving buses seemed to be over.

C59F0548.jpgOur recent visit gave me my first view of the new buses that Boris Johnson wanted to replace the Routemaster. I am not very swayed by populist nostalgia and, aside from being able to get on and off when you liked, I felt the Routemaster had a lot of shortcomings as a passenger. However, I was curious as to whether the replacement was good or not. Boris’s hatred of the articulated buses struck me as utter bollocks. Sadly, we didn’t take any routes that used them. We did see a lot of them though. Interestingly, the rear platform was often closed off when I saw them. I guess that is only open on certain routes or in certain areas? Maybe someone could fill me in on that. They look a little strange but I imagine you become accustomed to them quickly enough. It will be interesting to see whether they come to dominate or end up as a diversion that ultimately goes away.

And It’s Attached

wpid6371-C59F6285.jpgYou should have seen the video of the move by now.  The effort to float the new span into place was pretty impressive.  The joints are a tight tolerance to be met but you are moving a large barge with a tug to get them there and those are not the most subtle of tools.  however, a combination of the big pushes from the tug and putting lines on to the other moored barges allowed the team to carefully control the position of the barge and get the span in to place.

wpid6373-C59F6290.jpgThis was a popular thing.  It happened mid morning on a sunny day so plenty of people came out to see it.  TV crews were running around near me filming it and I was trying to get along the river to get different angles while still having the time lapse running in one spot (and hopefully nobody stealing the camera on the tripod while I am not looking).  The TV camera operator I was chatting to was a lot of fun.  They had been told to come out but not told too much.  However, they were glad to be watching something fun rather than filming the less happy sides of city news.

wpid6375-C59F6296.jpgWith the barge in place, the crews got to work attaching the span.  The first task was the bolt the lower spar in to place.  The crews were climbing over these area getting the bolts in place.  There seemed to be a large contingent of people standing watching this happen.  Far more seemed to be watching rather actually doing anything at this point but I imagine a fair number of city people wanted to see such a high profile job get done.

wpid6383-C59F6331.jpgThe last step would be to put the remaining structure in place to complete the truss.  That had to be done so the span could then support itself.


Getting Ready for the New Span

wpid-AU0E3438.jpgOnce the old part of the bridge is cut away, the next step is getting the remaining part of the bridge ready to accept the new structure.  The original construction of the bridge involves having the metalwork riveted together.  In the run up to the replacement program, it appears that the team have progressively removed the individual rivets in the sections that will be part of the new joint and replace them with bolts.  Then, when the structure is cut, it is possible to unbolt the stubs left after the cuts.

wpid6359-AU0E3549.jpgWith the sections removed, some preparation was necessary for the surfaces that would be part of the new joints with the mating surfaces and the bolt holes being coated.  A bunch of cleaning up was also required so the team were moving around these joints on cherry pickers with power tools to clean and prep the surfaces.

wpid6341-AU0E3458.jpgThe final step was to bolt in place some additional structure that would serve to guide the new span into place when it was floated in to position.  All of this took a lot longer than I expected.  One visit at night looked like a lot of things we ready.  I talked to some of the crew to find out when the move would take place.  They thought it would all be done overnight.  I debated whether I was prepared to stay up all night to watch it and decided that wasn’t a good idea.

wpid6355-AU0E3543.jpgI was glad I made that decision.  I awoke early the next morning and headed around and the new span was not yet moved.  I was glad to know I hadn’t missed it.  Indeed, the prep work was still being finished off.  In the end, one of the guys came by and advised of the timing of the lunch break for that shift so I knew that I had time before the move and could head home and get some breakfast!

wpid6369-AU0E3625.jpgMeanwhile, there were a few guys cutting up sections of the old span.  Not sure what their plan was but the cutting work always looks great at night.



Wells Street Bridge Part Two

wpid6325-AU0E3364.jpgHere we find ourselves repeating some previous posts.  Hopefully, this will be slightly different.  A while back I posted about the replacement of the south span of the Wells Street Bridge.  You can look back at the previous posts here and here.  During the previous replacement, I got half of the story.  I saw the original span being cut free and moved out of place.  Sadly, I had to be out of town for the rest of the week and did not see the new span being put in place and attached.

wpid6327-AU0E3366.jpgThis time it all happened a bit in reverse for me.  I was sure I was going to be around to see the new span put in place.  What I hadn’t counted on was that they were a lot quicker removing the original span.  By the time I made my first visit, the original section had been cut free and floated off to be moored along the river.  I was a bit annoyed at myself but I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the second time around they would have found out ways of doing it all a bit more quickly.

wpid6330-AU0E3406.jpgOne of the things I did find fun was looking at the cuts that had been made to remove the old section.  The jagged metal edges look very cool, particularly when you contemplate how long that structure has been sitting across the Chicago River.