Cigarette Butt Burns Historic Trestle

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Discarded cigarette butt causes fire on and under the century-old viaduct in Canada

HOPE (BRITISH COLUMBIA), CANADA-

There are several reasons why smoking should be banned from public places. Apart from the fact that it can kill the smoker himself as well as those surrounding him through second-hand smoke, smoking can cause destruction to property if it is not put out properly. For three adventurers hiking in the mountains and having crossed the Ladner Creek Trestle near Yale and Hope in the Canadian province British Columbia, they have learned a very valuable lesson as a cigarette butt from one of the hikers set fire to the century-old viaduct on Monday. All three were going across the 300+ meter long and 30+ meter tall steel viaduct when one of them didn’t put out the cigarette butt properly. The end result is a fire on the already dilapidated wooden decking, where despite keeping its flame on a small scale, falling and burning debris set off fires deep in the forest-laden,  rocky valley. Neither the hikers were able to put out the fire and fire crews are having difficulties putting the fires out because of the steepness and depth of the Creek valley, according to Canadian news source, CBC. The dry weather may have played a role in the spreading of the fire, which has already burned more than 0.2 acres and taken down several pine trees in the process.  While the viaduct has served as an important outlook as well as a challenging crossing because of its height and curve, it is unknown how extensive the damage is as of present. However, it will be assessed once the fire is finally put out.

The viaduct itself is one of dozens of viaducts that were built in 1915-16 as part of the Kettle Valley Railroad connecting Hope and Penticton via Midway. The line, once part of Canadian Pacific Railroad, was abandoned in sections beginning in 1961 and ending in 1989.  Large portions of the line is now a rails-to-trails and part of the Trans-Canadian Bike Trail Network. Apart from this viaduct, there are dozens of bridges along this route, including 18 viaducts in the Myra Valley. 12 of them were destroyed during the 2003 forest fire but are being rebuilt. Five tunnels also served the route. All of them are considered historically significant and were declared National Historic Sites by the Canadian Government in 2002.

A pair of videos on the Ledner Creek Viaduct which includes some drone and hiking coverage can be seen below so that you can see how Long and tall the structure Looks like. Enjoy!

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The Chronicles will keep you informed on the latest regarding Ledner Creek Viaduct and its questionable future after the most recent fire.

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 94: A Stone Arch Bridge that was once a Pony Express Route and a Major Highway

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Stone arch bridge. Photo and youtube film courtesy of Trey Pitsenberger

The next mystery bridge takes us out to eastern California in the vicinity of Lake Tahoe and along the Lincoln Highway. This stone arch bridge is located off US Highway 50 west of the town of Strawberry in the Eldorado State Forest, approximately 35 miles west of Lake Tahoe. One of the highway and bridge enthusiasts, Trey Pitsenberger, had to pull off due to a flat tire and found this one by chance. The most unique is that despite its connection with the Lincoln Highway and along with that, the Pony Express Route, this bridge has absolutely no historic background- who built the structure and even when it was built, even though it has been estimated to have been constructed at the turn of the century (1900).  Mr. Pitsenberger has produced a YouTube Video to show you the structure and some facts he has found so far. Check it out! 🙂

Sometimes fate presents itself in beautiful ways, even if it is a flat tire. 😉

For those who don’t know about it, the Pony Express Service was founded by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell in 1860 and it featured mail service by horseback, connecting St. Joseph, Missouri and Oakland, with 186 mail stops every 10 miles, including the cities of Salt Lake City and Carson City, and going  through the treacherous Sierra Nevada Mountains. The service ceased with the telegraph line connecting St. Louis and San Francisco by 1862 and later the railroad service that followed in the 1870s and 80s. The Lincoln Highway, connecting San Francisco and New York via Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh would follow with its opening in 1913.

And as for the bridge itself, please feel free to comment below or via E-Mail. Whatever information that can be added to this bridge will be added. 🙂

 

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BHC Bridge Pic of the Week Nr. 4

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The next pic of the week takes us a kilometer or two downstream along the Zwickau Mulde to this bridge, the Paradiesbrücke.   Built in 1900 by a bridge builder located in Schlesia (now in the Czech Republic), the bridge is unique for it was the first cantilever truss bridge that has one tower and has no overhead chords, as seen with the Queensboro Bridge in New York City. Until the opening of the Lunzernau Bridge in 2017, it hd been the only bridge of its kind in Germany and on the European continent. It is the most ornamnetal of the bridges along the river, which is 280 kilometers long from its starting point in Schönebeck (near Plauen) until its merger with the Freiberger Mulde south of Grimma.

This Instagram photo was taken at sundown where the skies were clear blue and the sun was setting. Because the skyline of Zwickau is to the west of the bridge, this shot was necessary for the buildings on the west end are mainly condominiums from the East German period (1949-1990). This was taken from the Mulde Bike Path at a park that opened in 2004 and was part of the project that included building a tunnel for the main highway B-93 and the rehabilitation and reuse of this bridge, which is now a pedestrian crossing. At night, the bridge is also well-lit by its gas-powered lanterns, flanked by yellow sodium lamps on both sides of the river bank (check out the Chronicles’ tumblr page to see the difference).  Yet the yellow lamps will eventually be replaced with white LEDS. Once completed, it will be brighter but the color difference will be much different, be it to our liking or disdain.  🙂

More information about this bridge, plus pics, you an find here.

 

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Iron Bridge at Aue Closed for Rehabilitation

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Two-span iron truss span over the Mulde River one of eight crossings facing construction in the next year.

AUE (SAXONY), GERMANY- Construction is heating up this summer as many roads and highways in Germany are being reconstructed, retaining walls in the mountain regions are being rehabilitated and dozens of bridges are being restored to their former glory. The most striking is the fact that not just one, two or three bridges, but as many as nine bridges spanning the River Mulde in western Saxony are being scheduled for work in one way or another. Apart from building a new cable-stayed suspension bridge at Schlunzig (south of Glauchau), three bridges in Glauchau alone are being beautified, including the Hirschgrund at the castle complex, 400 meters from the river. The oldest covered Bridge in Zwickau (the Röhrensteg) is being restored and is taking longer than expected.  The Cainsdorf Bridge south of Zwickau is being planned for replacement.  Everyone knows about the Bockau Arch Bridge replacement project near Aue and its pending future after the new bridge opens next year. Then we have a crossing at the Eibenstock Reservoir, built in 1980, plus the 151-year old stone arch bridge in Wilkau-Hasslau that have cracks in the concrete and will need to be closed for repairs, forcing drivers to make detours of over 25 kilometers per bridge.

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And then we have this bridge- a pedestrian bridge between Schlema and Aue that is now closed to all traffic. Workers recently closed the over 115-year old structure as they plan to rehabilitate the two-span Parker through truss span, whose predecessor was a wooden covered bridge. According to the Free Press in Aue, the decking of the bridge will be rebuilt and then integrated into the Mulde Bike Trail network. The trail itself is in the middle of construction and when completed this fall, it will run parallel to the river from Aue to Schlema, crossing the Iron Bridge. It currently shares a street connecting the two communities, but sharp curves and steep hills make it dangerous for cyclists and drivers alike. The catch to the problem however is with the railroad crossing. Because the current gates, used for pedestrians, are not suitable for cyclists, officials are looking at three options, all of them will cost as much as the project itself, which is 500,000 Euros (ca. $620,000).  The first option is a modern railroad crossing guards like at the train station Bad Schlema. Another is a tunnel under the railroad tracks, which will require multiple closures of the rail line between Aue and Zwickau. And then there is a bridge that would cross over the tracks before gliding down towards the historic structure. Officials believe the third variant would be built and open by 2019. In either case while the bridge renovations may be cheap, the solution for the railroad crossing on the east end may be the one that could break the bank. Still, when the project is finish, cyclists can go from Eibenstock to Schlema without having any interruptions with detours, etc. There is hope that this stretch can be extended to Hartenstein (five river kilometers from Schlema), which would include restoring the Schlema Stone Arch Bridge. But because of lack of funding, chances are likely that after the fusion between Aue and Schlema, financial resources will be available to make both projects happen. The interest is there but in praxis, it is a different ball game.

But for now, the Aue-Schlema has priority while the story continues with the other stretch….

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End of the Line for AreaVoices

Author’s Note: The Flensburg Files and the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles are both undergoing some massive consolidation and reconstruction efforts due to the planned shutdown of its areavoices platform effective 15 May. This includes transferring old articles and tour guides onto the wordpress websites and opening a new platform for readers having been forced to follow both blogs through a new platform. Do not be surprised to see old articles popping up during the next 2-4 weeks as this project commences. We apologise for any inconveniences in this matter.  Details on why this is happening are found below. 

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The Flensburg Files and The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ AreaVoices websites to permanently shut down on May 15th, 2018. Their wordpress pages will remain open. Restructuring to commence immediately

Dear fellow readers, followers, fans, family  and friends,

For the past eight years, I have had the privilege to provide you with some stories, history, facts and cultural aspects for you to mull over and discuss, let alone share with others. I have also had an opportunity to meet many of you, both online as well as in person, learning new things and bettering myself and my two blogs. The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and the Flensburg Files were launched almost simultaneously in October 2010. The Chronicles focused on historic bridges, providing people with a tour of regions laden with them and tips on how to preserve them for years to come. The Files focused on German-American culture and current events from the author’s perspective with a small pocket of stories originating from the northernmost region in Germany, where my heritage comes from and where I spent lots of time up there. It took the likes of Kari Lucin, Tracy Briggs-Jensen, Todd Wilson, Tony Dillon, James Baughn and others like you to get the blogs launched (although I do say they are online-columns because they are homemade and served with a little food for thought). Despite having websites on historic bridges, the Chronicles was the first blog to be introduced that solely focused on historic bridges. The Files was one of the first for German-American culture.  A lot of success has been raked up in the almost eight years in the blogging business.

Sadly though, I received word from the mother firm, Forum Communications, based in Fargo (USA) that the AreaVoices platform will shut down completely, effective 15th May 2018. And with that, the Files and the Chronicles will also cease on AreaVoices websites. The reason for their decision was the plan to create public-face media and a new CMS format, which means all the energies will be focused away from AV and onto the newer form of media. More information can be found here in their news story.  The shut down is as painful as the giant retailers BonTon and Toys R Us shuttering their doors and with that, all their subsidiaries, like Herberger’s, Younker’s and Carson’s.  However, not everything is as bad as it seems.

The good news is that both the Files and the Chronicles will still have their wordpress websites, at least. They were launched in 2015 to expand to a wider audience outside the United States. They will continue to operate as is. The same applies to their facebook pages, twitter accounts, the Files’ tumblr website and the Chronicles’ Instagram page.  For those who are subscribed to the AreaVoices pages of one of the two or both, you should switch platforms immediately and subscribe to the sites that will remain in operation. The pages are below:

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FLBHAVSmith

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bridgehunters_chronicles17/

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBridgehuntersChronicles/

 

The Flensburg Files: https://flensburgerfiles.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ffjds13

Tumblr: https://the-flensburg-files-smith.tumblr.com/

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Flensburg-Files-421034214594622/

 

Yet what will happen next?  Because of the announcement of the shutdown, the first order of business is to save all the work that has been written since 2010- which is a good 800 or so- and transfer them all to the wordpress sites, as well as another blog platform. This ranges from bridge tours and Christmas markets to interviews and fast facts; genres to history, cultural themes to current events.  Some of the articles that are deemed redundant will be deleted. This work of sorting and transferring will probably take the longest and be the most intensive, but it is expected to be completed before 15 May.  Because of this, both wordpress sites will need to be restructured so that the categories are easier to see and the articles are accessible to all.

An additional blog platform for both will be sought after and established to provide better coverage. While AreaVoices provided some of the best platforms available, my intention is to look at all options, including newspapers that also allow for blogs to be open, as it was the case with the Forum newspapers with AV. While it may be possible to work together with Forum regarding the new program they are putting together, other newspapers, both in the States and abroad are being considered for a joint venture, including the Free Press in Chemnitz, with whom the Chronicles has work together on several bridge articles. Also the Flensborg Avis on the Danish end of Flensburg may be considered. Furthermore, a photo platform to replace the flickr page will be added to ensure that all photos taken will be posted there. The current flickr page, which I can no longer access because of an expired yahoo account will remain and accessed but as an archived website.

So the end of AreaVoices is also the beginning of a revolution that will usher in the newest generation of 3.0 technology with blogging. While AV is riding off into the sunset soon, the articles will be saved and stored accordingly, and newer technology will mean better coverage and new topics that will be published more quickly and discussed by many, be it bridges, German-American themes or other items.  I hope you understand the situation and that you still can continue to follow both blogs. Just please understand that after 15 May, AreaVoices will be a memory, but the two blogs will live on in a different form.  To the crew at Forum Communications and AreaVoices, I offer my thanks for the cooperation we had for the eight years we had together and in case we part, I wish you all the best and Godspeed.

 

Important!

Because of the reconstruction process, no new articles will be posted until the project is completed. This could take between two and six weeks to complete. For both wordpress sites, older articles from the AV sites will be added to ensure they are not lost. But they will be categorized so that you can access them. If you see articles from the past you will know why.  It will be business as usual for the other social network sites, meaning articles from external sources will continue to be posted, as well as photos taken by the author.

You will be notified once the project is finished with a new feature article of what has been done with the Files and Chronicles. In the meantime, please be patient. There’s a lot of work to do.