05/09/09 147 W, 2 I - + 10 - 12 Rolling Bridge

Diverting from fire stuff, let's visit the Dismap Swamp Canal. Opened in 1805 and presently part of the intracoastal waterway, the canal is located on the east edge of the Great Dismal Swamp. The canal was dug completely by hand, and largely using slave labor. The thing took 12 years to complete, and was 22 miles long when opened. Though largely hidden from landlubbers passing on nearby highways, the canal is readily visible to cars with GPS. It appears as two long and very straight blue lines. While rolling to Virginia Beach last week, we found this bridge just south of milepost 21. As this canal paddling brochure explains, it's a World War II surplus Bailey Bridge employed by farmers to access their fields. The bridge is rolled by hitching a tractor on the west side, and pushing or pulling the thing back and forth. Click to enlarge:

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