Monday, September 09, 2013

New work on Duffy's Lane

A long time ago now, a fellow road nerd put me on to Duffy's Lane on the north end of Bolton. It's a sort of work-around for one of the concession roads that only a major undertaking and several truly gigantic bridges could have permitted a straight course. As it is, it dekes around a bend of the Humber. Previously, it had a much more literal course... all right angles, and across a small bridge. The bridge, which was replaced in 1985 by the current one, was probably a single-lane pony truss bridge like others on the Humber in Bolton, but I have no way of confirming that; it's merely speculation on my part. But the old course was a nice stroll, and it gave access to the river and lot of pleasant hours down there.

The new, post-1985 course of the road put a more sensible curve in it and gave it a modern two-lane steel-and-concrete bridge. But apparently even this won't suffice. I heard a year or two ago that in the long run, an even newer and smoother road course is planned for it. A few weeks ago when P-Doug and I happened to be out there, we discovered the work is now underway. Duffy's Lane is currently blocked off in the space between the residences it has to service.

I took a few pictures last time I was there but decided to follow up and see how far they've gotten. Three weeks has made a big difference. The road course on the southwest side is now strongly in evidence, and the beginnings of the abutments for the new bridge are just being set down.

A lot of the trees and vegetation in the area have also been removed, revealing a hillside with a heavily clay-based soil. I discovered that to my detriment when I tried to get close to the pre-1985 abutments to photograph them, got stuck, and literally ruined my sandals. Lifting my feet tore the anchor braces out of the soles, leaving them completely useless. Now, I like to hike barefoot, sure... over mud, grass, soil, pine needle forest loam, riverbeds... but that's by choice. Being an obligate barefoot hiker over a quarter mile of gravel-strewn asphalt... not my first choice. Ah, the things I do for posterity. :)

Incidentally, the last time P-Doug and I were out there and made our way down to the river for a soak, I happened to find what I thought was a large shell. It turned out to be an enameled metal ashtray advertising Risk's Three Star Scotch Whisky... you can just make out the words and the graphic. Apparently the stuff was made from the 1880s till 1922 or so... which means the ashtray probably dates to sometime around WWI and is around a century old. Lately it's been serving me as a drink coaster. :)

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