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 Ellet built two footbridges

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PostSubject: Ellet built two footbridges   Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:49 am

Pulling back the basket, Ellet decided to assure the watching crowd that the system was workable. He stepped into the basket, and it moved towards the opposite shore. When Ellet reached the problematic spot, he spotted the issue; the basket's rollers could not pass over a portion of the cable that had been accidentally flattened during the construction.[32] He fixed the problem and proceeded to cross to the Canadian side and back, becoming the first person to cross the gorge.[33] Although the bridge companies had prohibited Ellet from collecting tolls, he charged each person $1.00[nb 8] for the chance to "observe first hand the engineering wonder of bridging the Niagara".[30] On some days, the basket ferry conveyed up to 125 people across the gorge.[34]

Continuing his construction, Ellet built two footbridges and joined them together to form an 8-foot (2.4 m) wide suspension bridge. He intended to use this temporary bridge as a scaffold for the construction of the permanent railway bridge.[36] On July 29, 1848, the bridge builder inaugurated the span in his typical manner; standing in his horse-buggy like a gladiator in his chariot, Ellet sped across the bridge, which had railings for only a third of its length at that time. His stunt garnered further publicity for the bridge, and the toll collected from the span proved lucrative; $5,000 was collected in less than a year since its official opening on August 1, 1848. Disputes arose between the bridge companies and Ellet over their shares of the money, and their relations turned bitter. The companies charged that Ellet was late in his schedule and withheld payment. Ellet retaliated by mounting cannons at the bridge to claim ownership over it. In the end the matter went to court. The bridge companies paid $10,000 to Charles Ellet, and he left the project to work full-time on the Wheeling Suspension Bridge



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