Newsflyer 6 December 2017


It seems that we cannot avoid growing additional greys in our hair nor can we get enough of the crying and anger pillows lately. While we keep cussing the Lord’s name in vain over President Donald Trump’s absurd policies and aversion of trouble involving the Russia scandal and Putin’s interference in last year’s presidential elections, we are even shaking our heads over the use and abuse of historic bridges in the news lately. Five historic bridges- two in Germany and three in the States have received coverage in the news lately, except in terms of negative publicity. One of which deals with an oncoming problem with overheight vehicles; another with overweight vehicles. Then we have a ruling involving a bridge arson that was way too light. Has our society gone completely insane, allowing people to get away with destroying bridges as much as they can get away with murder? In this summary of the Chronicles’ Newsflyer, the answer is a clear yet. The problem is unless we have an Atomic Blonde who can bring back the country from the brink- as seen in the film– we seem to head in the direction most of us don’t want.


Double-Decker Bus Shaved into half by Berliner Underpass

BERLIN- In the German capital’s suburb of Spandau, there was a competition between a railroad underpass built a decade ago to carry long-distance and regional trains and a Flixbus Double-decker bus, whereas the clearance of the underpass was 3.8 meters (11.7 feet) and the bus was 4.5 meters (13 feet). Going at a speed of 50 km/h (30 mph) in the middle of the night, you can imagine what happened there! While Flixit is one of three privately-owned long-distance bus providers in Germany, which also owns the Locomore rail services, the bus was empty and the driver escaped unharmed. Police are investigating the cause of the accident which horizontally sliced the bus into half.



Schedewitz Bridge’s Days Numbered?

ZWICKAU (SAXONY)- It is no secret that the Cainsdorf Bridge spanning the Zwickauer Mulde River just south of the city limits is scheduled to be replaced in the coming year, for the bridge is over 90 years old and can no longer handle the increasing traffic.  It is a surprise that another bridge in the south of Zwickau in Schedewitz may be the next bridge to be torn down. According to multiple reports, despite the desolate state of the Warren deck truss spans (the superstructure is extremely rusty) and the lack of lighting , the City of Zwickau has decided that rehabilitating the 1890 bridge would be exorbitant and voted to make the necessary bridge repairs to keep it open. This is inspite of the numerous complaints by reisdents to renovate the bridge to make it safer and attractive to others. Out of service since 1956, the bridge has been a key access crossing for pedestrians and cyclists. Yet the decision to reject a renovation project similar to neighboring Röhrensteg and Paradiesbrücke has raised the question of how long the bridge will be in use until the decision is made to replace it. Given the neglect of the bridge, it may not be long until a flood or other incident brings it down and the issue is back on the table of the city council again. For more on the bridge, check out the Tour Guide of the Bridges of Zwickau here. It will include information of the Cainsdorf Bridge, which will definitely be replaced.  The city had won the 2016 Ammann Awards in the category of Tour Guide International.

O’neal Bridge before the collapse. Photo taken by Tony Dillon.

O’neal Bridge in Indiana Destroyed by Tractor

ZIONSVILLE, INDIANA- Boone County officials are investigating what factors led to the driver of a farm tractor to cross the O’neal Bridge on 3 December, dropping the 125-year old structure into the waters of Big Eagle Creek. The tractor exceeded both the weight limit of four tons as well as the vertical clearance of 16.5 feet, and once it reached the center of the span, the structure fell into the water. This is the second incident to happen in Boone County in a year. Last year a tractor tried to cross Creek Road Bridge spanning Sugar Creek east of I-65, damaging the upper chord of the truss bridge. Both bridges have similar characteristics: they are Pratt through truss bridges, yet O’neal was built 20 years earlier. Both bridges were rehabilitated and with new paint: Creek Road in 2012 and this bridge in 2009. Police are looking at whether these incidents are related.  O’neal was built by the Lafayette Bridge Company and had very unique Town Lattice portal bracings. Yet with this accident, it is very difficult to envision the bridge being rebuilt for the pinned-connected antique is now a pile of twisted metal. But in Indiana, with its excellent track record, everything is possible for rebuilding historic bridges.

Millville Bridge. Photo taken by J.R. Manning

Millville Bridge Gone- along with its History and Uniqueness

COLESBURG, IOWA- Mother nature took another historic bridge despite its potential to be rebuilt. The Millville Bridge, which spanned Peck Creek on Millville Road, was knocked off its foundations during flooding in July. Clayton County officials decided to replace the downed structure with a low-water crossing and downgrade the road to a minimum maintenance (B-level) road, which happened this fall. It was a tragic loss for two reasons: 1. It was one of a handful of riveted Warren-Pratt hybrid truss bridges that exist in the US and perhaps the last of its kind in Iowa. 2. It may have been the lone structure built by the Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works Company. The 60-foot pony truss span with riveted connections was built in 1916, using the standard bridge designs that had been introduced by the state 5 years earlier.

Cedar Covered Bridge taken in 2007 while on tour.

Plea Agreement for Burning Historic Covered Bridge

WINTERSET, IOWA-  A plea agreement was made in county court between one of the three members responsible for setting fire to the Cedar Covered Bridge. 19-year old Alivia Bergmann entered the plea of guilty to 2nd degree arson. The agreement includes testifying against the two co-defendants, 17-year old Alexander Hoff and 18-year old Joel Davis, who are charged with setting the historic covered bridge on fire on 15 April, 2017. The bridge was rebuilt in 2004 replicating the 1883 span that had fallen victim to arson, two years earlier. The structure is still standing ableit charred, yet fundraising efforts have been underway since the incident, and the bridge is scheduled to be rebuilt. Costs are estimated to be at $600,000, a large portion of which Bergmann will have to pay. As for Davis and Hoff, their future is in the balance as they are facing trial. If guilty, prison time, fines or a combination of both are awaiting.