Brunel’s Swivel Bridge in Bristol 170 Years Old This Year

Brunel’s Swivel Bridge in Bristol 170 Years Old This Year

In connection with the Newsflyer article on 9 September, here’s some more details on the Other Bridge in Bristol, built by Brunel and is the focus of a project to preserve and reactivate the bridge.

Tales From The Brazier's Grotto

This weekend (7th and 8th of September) in Bristol there was held a 170th Birthday Celebration at Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Swivel Bridge that is also known as Brunel’s Other Bridge.

I am showing here some photos that I took of the bridge in April 2016 (please click the image to englarge) and giving some website links where you can study the bridge more.

But to understand what this is all about here are some key facts. The bridge was designed to carry traffic over the South Entrance Lock (Brunel’s Lock) in the Cumberland Basin. The bridge was brought in use on the 29th of October 1849. In 1872–1873 it was shortened and relocated to its present position over the North Entrance Lock. In 1968 the bridge was decommissioned when the new Plimsoll Bridge was constructed.

Source: Brunel’s Other Bridge. On this website there is also…

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 64

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As we say good-bye to one of Erfurt’s prized treasures, I would like to show you an earlier pic of the Riethbrücke in Erfurt, when there were no barriers restricting its crossing. This pic was taken in 2004, when I was a Master’s student at the University of Jena, which is east of the capital of Thuringia. Studying political science, I would spend a day at the library at the University of Erfurt as it had a wider selection of books available to my liking (as a note: I my primary focus was on domestic policies- especially pertaining to public health). On the way to the University Library, I would stop at this bridge for some  pictures, especially as the Gera Bike Trail was the only safest way to my destination from the Central Railway Station.  The pic was taken with a Konica-Minolta mirror-reflex, 35mm camera with film; something that was still in before digital cameras would take over completely.  The markings of film-camera pics is noticable in this picture, taken during the early afternoon.

Even though I graduated in 2007, I returned to Erfurt in 2010 to teach at the University of Applied Sciences for two years. I would regularly pass this bridge while commuting to work from my home in Gispersleben (to the north). They had already placed the barriers on the bridge and been planning to replace the structure then. That the bridge lasted as longer as it did had nothing to do with the other crossings that needed to be replaced prior to that, but more with what to do with a bridge that has had a history of serving Erfurt for over a century and henceforth having been listed as a technical historical site by the State of Thuringia. It was one of us; one of the two dozen historic bridges that makes Erfurt a great place for bridgehunters, photographers and historians alike.

With the bridge now at the Highway Depot awaiting a much-needed makeover, the question is where the bridge’s new home will be. That will take some time to determine ist destiny.

For more on the bridge’s move, click here to read the article.

 

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Riethbrücke in Erfurt Dismantled

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130-year old historic bridge relocated to highway depot. Relocation to new place to be determined.

ERFURT (GERMANY)- The days of one historic bridge have been numbered- at least at its now former location. The question is where to find a new home for it. The Riethbrücke used to span the River Gera at Riethstrasse, near the sports complex in the northern suburb of Rieth. Built in 1890, the curved Parker pony truss span was first placed over the Flutgraben Diversion Canal just south of Erfurt Central Station before it was relocated to its present site in 1912. For 107 years, it had served car and bike traffic with no problems.

Sadly though, the bridge is no more at this location. As recently as today, crews transported the truss structure to its new home, which is the highway depot near Bindersleben, west of Erfurt. Crew had cut the 25 meter (75 foot) long and six meter (18 foot) wide bridge into two parts the day before, so that it can be transported easily along the main highways leading to its destination. The bridge had to make way for a new steel structure, whose features will be similar to the truss span. That bridge will be opened in time for the German Garden and Horticulture Show (Bundesgartenschau) in 2021. The old truss bridge had become functionally obsolete as weight, width and height restrictions were imposed on the structure for close to a decade.

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The bridge is still protected by the heritage laws in Thuringia and crews are currently figuring out where to relocate the bridge and how to repurpose it for recreational use. It is clear that the bridge will need to be completely rehabilitated due to years of rust and wear, especially on the lower chord. The bridge had not seen any major rehabilitation jobs done during its time at its first two locations. As it will be at the highway depot, crews will have a chance to examine the bridge to determine what needs to be done to improve it. At the same time, the search for a new home will commence so that the bridge can be reinstalled and reused again.

The question is where to find its next home, which will be its fourth (counting its stay at the depot), so that it can live on for another century?

A video of the move can be seen via link below.

Video:

https://www.otz.de/video/erfurter-riethbruecke-zieht-um-id227055379.html

 

 

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The Gera Bike Trail, which used to form an intersection with the Riethbrücke- forcing people to walk their bikes across the street, will run under the new bridge when it is built. The bike trail starts at Schmücke near Ilmenau and after passing through Erfurt, joins the Unstrut Bike Trail at Gebesee, a length of 75 kilometers.

This is the fourth bridge built in Erfurt since 2018. Three more structures are replacing old and obsolete ones, all of them in the north of Erfurt: one at Strasse der Nationen spanning the highway (in construction- overpass to be torn down in 2020), one at Gispersleben (through arch bridge completed in June 2019), and one at Warschauer Strasse near the Riethbrücke (span to be replaced in 2020).

History of the Riethbrücke can be found in the Tour Guide on the Bridges of Erfurt, under the part on the city’s outer skirts. Click here to view and enjoy the other five parts of the tour. Please note that updates will be made on the city’s bridges in the future.

 

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Newsflyer: 9 September, 2019

 

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Click here to listen to the Podcast. The links and photos of the bridges in detail are below:

 

Links:

Historic Staffeler Bridge in Limburg to be replaced. Old bridge to be repurposed for recreational use:

https://www.fnp.de/lokales/limburg-weilburg/limburg-hessen-staffeler-bruecke-soll-bleiben-12947468.html

 

Gänsetorbrücke spanning the River Danube at Ulm. Photo taken by AHert [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D
Historic Gänsetorbrücke in Ulm/ Neu-Ulm to be torn down and replaced after losing its historic status:

https://www.swp.de/suedwesten/staedte/ulm/gaenstorbruecke-denkmalschutz-ist-vom-tisch-33019623.html

The Bridges of Ulm: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/the-bridges-of-ulm-germany/

Ulrich Finsterwalder Biography: https://www.b-tu.de/great-engineers-lexikon/ingenieure/finsterwalder-ulrich-1897-1988

King William Road with the Towers of the Bridge in the Background. Photo taken by Adam J.W.C (wikiCommons)

Historic King William Bridge in Adelaide, Australia to either close or be replaced by 2030:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-04/king-william-road-adelaide-bridge-might-need-to-be-replaced/11476978

 

Historic Bridge Stones stolen by vandals at historic bridge in Yorkshire. Police investigating:

https://www.wakefieldexpress.co.uk/news/crime/yorkshire-stone-stolen-from-200-year-old-grade-1-listed-bridge-at-ferrybridge-1-9969320

Hammersmith Bridge in London. Source: “Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0”

Historic Hammersmith Bridge in London to be Rehabilitated. Closed for three years.

https://www.taxi-point.co.uk/single-post/2019/09/03/Hammersmith-Bridge-repair-work-starts-and-expected-to-last-THREE-YEARS

Mangaweka Bridge in New Zealand spared demolition- will remain as a pedestrian/ bike crossing:

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=12264113

 

Brunel’s historic bridge in Bristol celebrating its birthday milestone (not the suspension bridge though):

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/whats-on/huge-birthday-celebrations-brunels-bridge-3277964

 

And Information on preservation and fundraising efforts (Contact Details included):

https://www.brunelsotherbridge.org.uk/

 

Historic drawbridge in Florida rehabbed and reopened to traffic:

http://bocanewspaper.com/camino-bridge-finally-reopens-after-renovations-28231

Historic bridge in Costa Rica faces unknown future as community mulls at replacement:

https://vozdeguanacaste.com/en/historic-bridge-in-liberia-faces-uncertain-future/

 

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London’s bridges in photos

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There are no less than 33 bridges across The River Thames in London boroughs. As someone born in that city, and where I lived for 60 years, I have been across most if not all of them during my life. If you have never visited that great metropolis, you may not know just how many there are, and how diverse they are too. So here is a selection.

Westminster Bridge. On the north side, you will find The Houses of Parliament.

London Bridge. The oldest river crossing, from Southwark, first bridged by the Romans. One later bridge was famously sold to an American, and is now a tourist attraction in Arizona.

Before the Great Fire of London, the bridge was heavily built on, with shops and living accommodation. You can see the heads of executed criminals and traitors, on spikes over the entrance. The huge church on the south side…

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 63

This week’s pic of the week is a throwback to eight years ago and to this bridge. The Ellsworth Ranch Bridge, located in Emmet County, Iowa, is one of five remaining Thacher truss bridges left in the United States and one of two of its kind left in Iowa. Patented by Edwin Thacher in 1881, the Thacher truss is a hybrid between a Warren, Pratt and Kellogg trusses that supports the middle portion of the span with the tension being on the lower chord. There were two different types of Thachers- of which this one only has one vertical column per outer panel that slanted down towards the central panel, which features the A-frame. In other words, this type consists of three panels. Some detailed pictures can be found per link via bridgehunter.com which you can click here.

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This crossing was built by the King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio in 1895. That company was primarily responsible for these three-panel variants of the Thacher truss. Milo O. Adams was the company’s agent at that time. It was closed to traffic in 2007 and has since been standing. Despite this, the structure appears to be in tact, the flooring unaltered and not worn out. And the green color still keeps its color, camouflaging the surrounding green, including the cornfield in the background. And this is what makes this sniper, tunnel view taken from the road at about 400 feet more unique. This picture was taken in July 2011 while on an extensive bridgehunting tour through Iowa enroute to St. Louis for the Historic Bridge Convention. One can get this shot still, but the bridge has its unique vantage points, including the side view with trees in the background as well as the deck view while on the bridge. It’s a good starting point for the novice photographer who is working with his/her camera for the first time.

So go out there, find your favorite bridge and have at it. 🙂 ❤

 

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  1. The other Thacher bridge in Iowa is the Okoboji Bridge in Dickinson County, the only known Thacher pony truss bridge that had spanned the Little Sioux River. That bridge is currently in storage awaiting relocation. For more information, click here.Iowa was one of the breeding grounds for Thacher truss bridges for as many as 10 were built between 1885 and 1900. 
  2.  The Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio was the other bridge company responsible for constructing Thacher truss bridges but using the textbook design featuring Pratt, Warren and Kellogg designs. The longest of its kind ever built was the Philipps Mill and Crossing in Floyd County in Iowa. Today, the Costilla Crossing in Colorado and the Linnville Bridge in Virginia are the only two bridges of its kind left in the country.

 

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 119: The Pony Trusses From Nowhere?

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Photo taken by James McCray

HOLBROOK, ARIZONA- Fellow pontist James McCray had an interesting found that was brought to the attention of the readers via bridgehunter.com. During his recent trip in Navajo County in Arizona, he found six pony trusses alongside a road west of Holbrook. They are near I-40 and US Highway 180 which used to be Route 66 before it was decommissioned by 1980. The trusses are double-intersecting Pratt with riveted connections, which pins the construction date to the earliest 1900. Each one is between 40 and 60 feet long. The question is where did they originate from? Were these spans part of a multiple-span crossing? Even a Route 66 crossing?

Click on the link here to get the coordinates and additional information including photos. Feel free to comment on them or even express interest in taking them. Currently they are in storage, standing side-by-side, awaiting relocation.

Happy Bridgehunting. 🙂

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