I spotted these two ships earlier this season, conducting a maneuver to enable both boats to enter the Duluth-Superior harbor with only one lift from Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge.
Preserving a Landmark
At first glance, the ballet these two ships performed looked like a demolition derby on a massive scale but turned out to be an impressive display of seamanship on a beautiful spring day.
The result fits nicely with a plan by the City of Duluth to lessen wear and tear on the bridge by reducing the number of times the bridge lifts each day.
The plan, recently approved by the US Coast Guard, was aimed at recreational boaters limiting them to entering only on the half hour from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from May 27 to the Tuesday after Labor Day.
The system was tested last year and it reduced the number of lifts by over 1,000, a 23% reduction. This not only saves wear on the Aerial Lift Bridge but also reduces roadway congestion on Canal Park and Park Point.
The bridge will still lift on demand for traffic like these freighters – but it was nice to see they are willing to do their part to preserve the iconic bridge.