WHIRLPOOL RAPIDS GORGE is the section of the Niagara River Gorge located north of the Whirlpool International Bridge and the south of the Whirlpool. It has an average width of 228.5 meters (750 feet) wide). This portion of the gorge is world famous for its rapids. The width of the Whirlpool Rapids Gorge narrows to approximately 150 yards (137m). Here the width of the river narrows to approximately 200 feet (60m) wide.
The depth of the Whirlpool Rapids is 10.7 meters (35 feet) and the speed of the water at the Whirlpool Rapids is 35.4 km/hr (22 mph). The speed is the result of the narrow width of the gorge, the rapid descent of the river and the volume of water (100,000 cubic feet per second). The descent is 15.8 meters (52 feet) in less than 1.6 kilometers (1.2 miles).
The rapids generated here are amongst the wildest, formidable and most dangerous in the world. The Whirlpool Rapids are rated 6 on a navigatable scale from 1 (easiest) to 6 (most dangerous).
There are two primary places from which to view the Whirlpool Rapids close-up. They are:
1. The White Water Walk - Niagara Parks Commission, Niagara Falls, Ontario
2. Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls, New York
The White Water Walk is the quickest and least strenuous method to view the Whirlpool Rapids. It is wheelchair accessible. Visitors are transported to the base of the Niagara Gorge by elevator. A boardwalk provides access to several viewing areas from which to view the rapids.
The Whirlpool State Park allow the more adventurous visitor to follow a series of stairways and paths to the base of the gorge. A marked path can be followed along the remnants of the former Great Gorge Route railway to an old observation station overlooking the rapids. This station was used as a way-point for visitors riding the Great Gorge Railway from which to view the Whirlpool Rapids. The hike is physically demanding but provides a view of the mighty rapids unparalleled from any other viewing area. The natural beauty of this area is majestic.
WHIRLPOOL RAPIDS BRIDGE
The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, commonly called the Whirlpool Bridge and formerly known as the Lower Steel Arch Bridge until 1937, is a spandrel braced, riveted, two-hinged arch bridge.
This is an international bridge between Canada and the United States. It connects the commercial downtown districts of Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario. This bridge is located approximately 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi) north of the Rainbow Bridge and about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the Falls. This bridge was acquired by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission in January 1959.
The bridge was designed by Leffert L. Buck and constructed between April 9, 1896 and August 27, 1897. It was constructed around the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge so as not to interrupt daily traffic.
The bridge has two decks. The upper deck carries the railway traffic while the lower deck is a roadway reserved for passenger vehicles only; commercial vehicles are prohibited. The Whirlpool Bridge is reserved for NEXUS members, a joint program implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). There is one lane of traffic to the United States and one lane to Canada. The American side connects to New York State Route 104 and New York State Route 182, while the Canadian side connects to Niagara Regional Road 43.
A single set of train tracks crosses over the bridge. A VIA Rail station is located on the Canadian side of the bridge.
Just to the south is the Michigan Central Railway Bridge, which was used to carry rail traffic.
Reportedly, the Bridge Commission is considering closure of the upper deck of the bridge if rail users are not willing to pay for repairs. Currently, only the Maple Leaf uses the bridge; the Canadian National Railway no longer routes freight over the bridge.As of November 2009 however the bridge is undergoing refurbishment.
· 9 years ago