ASME-Landmark:Bay City Walking Dredge


Built by the Bay City Dredge Works of Bay City, Michigan, the Bay City Walking Dredge was used to construct a portion of US 41 called the Tamiami Trail, which connected Tampa with Miami through the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp. The last remaining display of walking dredges (of some 145 walking machines), it has a unique propulsion design enabling the dredge to cope with drainage problems in a wetlands environment.

It was a piece of specialized equipment that dug a canal that provided rock fill for roadbed drainage of the completed road. Running on a 50 hp Charter internal combustion engine, the dredge moved over rough, swampy and slippery ground and through close-cut stumps, where other earth excavators had difficulty. The walking mechanism was patented by Vincent G. Anderson, Thief River Falls, Minn., on July 2, 1918 (#1,270,763).

The walker consisted of identical pairs of 30-foot bridge frames and weight-supporting runners along each side of the dredge. The bridge frame was eased forward along the ground with the weight of the frames moving from the corner runners to intermediary runners, using hoists and the motion of the bucket, until the corner pads could be repositioned. Once relieved of its load, the intermediary runners would be drawn forward and repositioned for another step.

In 1927 to 1928, the walker dug a 10-mile section of the Tamiami Trail between Black Water River to Belle Meade Crossing (where US 41 and 951 intersect), thereby opening southwest Florida to automotive travel for the first time. See ASME website for more information