Old Halesford Bridge, Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Crystal Sound
N 37° 08.729 W 079° 39.915
17S E 618537 N 4111846
Quick Description: Submerged and mostly forgotten bridge, recently rediscovered.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 11/16/2009 7:38:29 AM
Waymark Code: WM7P2A
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Crystal Sound
Views: 15

Long Description:
Being an employee of AEP, I found out about this bridge from our internal website, and also was able to find out some inside information. I am working on collecting some more information, as well as contacting the original discoverer for permission to post additional photos. (So in other words, this page is still in the works.) Most of the information on the "Old Halesford Bridge" has been lost to time, as well as the bridge itself, for some time. As I understand it, the area was very sparsely inhabited. Few people were familiar with the old bridge, and those that were have retired, or no longer available for comment. Since most structures that might pose a hazard to the reservoir were removed before flooding - the existance of the old bridge was a bit of controversy until it was recently rediscovered with some new fishing equipment technology and a curious fisherman, JD Abshire. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_Mountain_Lake

This thread on a scuba diving message board discusses the bridge, and a possible ghost town at the bottom of the lake (37° 2'6.18"N x 79°34'43.60"W) http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/mid-atlantic-bottom-feeders/200406-smith-mountain-lake-underwater-town-fact-fiction-3.html

Another good article: http://www.wsls.com/sls/news/local/article/new_technology_patrols_bottom_of_smith_mountain_lake/10048/

Smith Mountain Lake From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Location Virginia Coordinates 37°02'19?N 79°34'31?W? / ?37.03874°N 79.57535°W? / 37.03874; -79.57535Coordinates: 37°02'19?N 79°34'31?W? / ?37.03874°N 79.57535°W? / 37.03874; -79.57535 Lake type reservoir Primary inflows Roanoke River, Blackwater River Basin countries United States Surface area 32 sq mi (83 km2)[1] Average depth 55 ft (17 m)[1] Max. depth 250 ft (76 m)[1] Water volume 2.8 km3 (0.67 cu mi)[1] Shore length1 500 mi (800 km) Surface elevation 795 ft (242 m)[2] References [1][2] 1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure. Smith Mountain Lake is a large reservoir in the Roanoke Region of Virginia[3], located southeast of the City of Roanoke and southwest of Lynchburg. Initial proposals were made in the late 1920s to dam the Roanoke River and the Blackwater River at the Smith Mountain gorge to generate electricity. Construction on the dam began in 1960 and was completed in 1963. The lake reached its normal water level in March 1966. The lake is 20,600 acres (83 km2) and has over 500 miles (800 km) of shoreline. The north shore of the lake lies entirely in Bedford County. The majority of the south shore of the lake lies in Franklin County while a portion, including access to the dam, lies in Pittsylvania County. The area lies in a broad valley nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of rural south-central Virginia. Before the lake's creation, farming and logging were the primary industries. Communities around the lake include Moneta, Huddleston, Union Hall, White House, Penhook and Goodview. There is no post office with a Smith Mountain Lake mailing address. The Booker T. Washington National Monument is near the west end of the lake. The dam produces pumped-storage hydroelectricity. Water flows through the dam turbines into Leesville Lake during the day (high demand time) to produce supplemental electricity. Water is then pumped from Leesville lake back into Smith Mountain Lake at night (low demand time). The dam is operated by Appalachian Power, part of American Electric Power. The level of the lake varies during the day and night, as water flows through (and is pumped back through) the dam. The normal maximum level of the lake (also known as "Full Pond") is regulated to 795 feet (242.32 meters) above sea level. The normal observed level (also known as "normal pond") is 794.20 feet (242.07 meters). The level can be significantly lower during periods of extended drought. Lake levels were about six feet below normal from time to time, during the years 2001 to 2003, after five years of below-average rainfall. Smith Mountain Lake has become a popular recreational area. Fishing is very popular, especially for striped bass. The lake has hosted professional fishing tournaments. Boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, riding personal watercraft, and sailing are also common activities. Smith Mountain Lake State Park opened in 1983 and provided a beach and a section for swimming. Golf at one of the several nearby courses is a popular landside activity.

Licensing AEP is licensed to operate the Smith Mountain Project by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The initial license term was for fifty years. In 1998, AEP began the process of relicensing which should be complete in 2009. The new license term may be up to fifty years. Under the requirements of relicensing, AEP is required to perform numerous studies to determine management requirements during the upcoming license term. Once the new license is issued, amending AEP's license will become much more difficult.

Shoreline management In 1998, the FERC required AEP to devise and implement a shoreline management plan. The Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) limits the development of all property within the "project boundary." Local zoning regulations have been effectively superseded by the SMP regulations. AEP acts as the permitting agency. Any variance requests are reviewed by interested State and Federal agencies such as Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries. Disagreements must first proceed to the FERC, then be appealed through the Federal Judicial System.

Development Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the area around Smith Mountain Lake remained rural and remote with tobacco farms and other agriculture. Marinas provided the bulk of public access in the early years of the lake. The limited early residential developments around the lake consisted largely of small trailer parks and modest houses. However, residential growth has been steady since the mid-1980s and increasingly upscale with large lakefront houses, condominiums, and communities centered around golf courses. The lake has both attracted those who commute to Roanoke and Lynchburg and retirees, many of whom have relocated from the Northeast. By the late 1990s, the number and affluence of the new residents resulted in the construction of new retail and commercial developments near the lake. Recent shoreline development has been limited to residential construction. With the enactment of Federal oversight of shoreline development in 1998 coupled with soaring real estate values, there is an escalating loss of public access to the lake as the lake's marinas are sold for residential development. State Route 122 is the only primary highway that crosses the lake, though State Route 24, State Route 116, and State Route 40 are nearby. [edit] Recreational Access The majority of access to the lake is through private residential property. Marinas provide the majority of public access, but are increasingly being converted to private, residential developments due to economic and regulatory pressure. Recreation Use Assessment. The Smith Mountain Lake State Park (located on the Bedford County side of the lake off of Smith Mountain Parkway—Route 626), the Smith Mountain Community Park (located on the Franklin County side of Smith Mountain Lake) and several government managed boat ramps also provide public access.

Commercial saturation diving system Cachalot was the first commercial saturation diving system and was designed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Underseas Division (Tom O'Neill and Alan Krassburg) for use in clearing the trash rack of the Smith Mountain Dam in Virginia. The system consisted of a large chamber Deck Decompression Chamber or DDC and a Personnel Transfer Capsule (PTC) which could be mated to the DDC at pressure. The divers lived in the DDC and went back and forth to work in the PTC. The operation was between depths of 159 and 240 feet (73 m) and lasted for four months beginning in August 1965. To do the job using contemporary conventional techniques would have entailed draining the whole reservoir, a two year job. To do the job using two divers at a time from saturation replaced 32 divers using normal surface diving techniques. This system was the forerunner of the great explosion of commercial diving systems which soon spread across the world. In fact, the first at sea commercial saturation dive was done in 1966 in the Gulf of Mexico using this same system.

All information & photos have been obtained by permission of the originator(s), or is otherwise obtainable elsewhere on the web. As requested for privacy reasons, some sources have been left anonymous.

Original Use: Vehicle - Car / Truck

Date Built: 1900s

Construction: Iron

Condition: Fair

See this website for more information: [Web Link]

Date Abandoned: 1960s

Bridge Status - Orphaned or Adopted.: Orphaned

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rugeology wrote comment for Old Halesford Bridge, Smith Mountain Lake, VA 7/15/2010 rugeology wrote comment for it