Another Flöha Bridge Under the Knife?

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Through Arch Bridge over the River Zschopau Facing Unknown Fate After Inspection Finds the 16-year old Structure Unsafe for Use.

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NIEDERWIESA/ FLÖHA- Not even two weeks after fire destroyed the Apfelsinenbrücke (Orange Bridge) in Flöha, another bridge two miles down river along the River Zschopau may be facing the same wrecking ball. The Braunsdorf Pedestrian Bridge, located over the River Zschopau south of the Weaver Mill, is a wooden through arch bridge with steel features. The top chord Features a subdivided Warren truss design which zigzags from portal to portal, which is typical for many through arches of its kind in Germany.  The bridge connects Braunsdorf with Niederwiesa via a small  island, which carries a bike and pedestrian path. The 40-meter long, 2 meter wide bridge was erected in 2002, shortly after the Great Flood which wreaked havoc on every river in Germany, causing hundreds of billions in damages as well as the destruction of dozens of historic bridges. This includes the Fünferbrücke, two kilometers north of the bridge which connected Braunsdorf with the Lichtenwalde Castle.

During my recent visit in the region, the bridge appeared to have a modern built and seemed to be safe for use, even though a stone at each entrance discourages the use of the bridge.

Yet according to an inspection done by a local engineering firm, the bridge is unsafe for use because of components that have been compromised and need replacement. Furthermore, the decking needs to be replaced completely, despite it being sound, judging by observations. The abutments and other components are covered with moss and the arch itself has not been painted or even varnished. In an interview with the Chemnitz Free Press, the town council of Niederwiesa (which Braunsdorf belongs to) confirmed that the bridge has not been maintained properly and are now facing a big bill for the work that needs to be done.

Since the parts are replaceable and the bridge can be painted, the cost for rehabilitation would be 378,000 Euros (In US terms: $420,000). Yet the council is also considering replacing the bridge with a steel structure which would be 500,000 Euros (or $610,000), even though the arch structure is only 16 years old and very modern.

What would you prefer if you were a member of the town council of Niederwiesa?

 

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Niederwiesa is only two river kilometers northeast of Flöha but is an independent entity which Braunsdorf belongs to. The community with 5,000 inhabitants is located 13 kilometers east of Chemnitz.

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White River Bridge at Forsyth Downed By Explosives

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Photo taken by James Baughn

FORSYTH, MISSOURI-   It was one of the most majestic historic bridges in the Bull Shoals Lake area; one of the longest along the White River; one of the favorites for the town of Forsyth, in Taney County, Missouri. Now the old historic Forsyth Bridge, a five-span, riveted Parker through truss bridge, with West Virginia-style Portal bracings, which had graced the lake for 65 years is no more. It took not more than three seconds to bring the entire bridge down on 16 October, 2018 with hundreds of locals standing by to bid the structure farewell. Several films showed the Implosion from multiple angles, two of which can be seen here:

 

Videos:

 

The Forsyth Bridge was built by the Maxwell Bridge Company in 1953, two years after the lake and dam were completed, which was designed to Control the flow of the White River and foster recreation and tourism. This bridge, together with the Theodosia Bridge in Ozark County, are the only two bridges that were built by this company. Because of its lake size, both bridges can be found in the Long Shoals Lake area, along with a few more structures, as will be seen in a tour guide coming soon. Prior to the replacement bridge being built alongside the truss bridge complex, the bridge was rated as structurally fair, meaning the bridge would have fit the requirements for being left into place. Despite being determined not eligible for listing by the National Register of Historic Places, the Forsyth Bridge was offered to the City by Missouri Department of Transportation to be used as a pedestrian crossing. The Mayor however declined MoDOT’s offer for liability reasons, which signaled the green light for demolition- the action which still has left a bitter taste in the mouths of locals, historians and preservationists who had been involved in the efforts to save the bridge, but unfortunately were left empty handed.

The demolition of the Forsysth Bridge leads to the question of the future of the other bridges in the area, for although the lake area is protected by federal law in many parts, the dismantling of regulations through the Trump Administration may lead to the opening of the area for land development, which could mean more traffic and the more likely chance of more modern bridges needed in the area. But before that was to take place, the president may need to brace himself for the “blue wave” which could take hold in November as the Democrats are poised to take Washington back from the Republicans. Should that happen, then areas like this will be left as is, and with that, the historic bridges in the area because of the rollbacks of regulations that had existed before 2017. But we will see if it happens and what it would mean to the Long Shoals Lake area.

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New Cable-Stayed Bridge to Replaced Old Cable-Stayed Bridge in Colombia to be Built

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V-shaped Cable-stayed Motorway Bridge will replace the Bottle-framed Bridge that collapsed in January.

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA-

It was not long ago where a cable-stayed suspension bridge collapsed resulting in the deaths of People on or near the structure. On 18 January, the Chirajara Bridge, a 450-meter long cable-stayed bridge spanning a very deep gorge that was supposed to have served a motorway connecting Bogota, the capital of Colombia and and the City of Villavicenio collapsed, killing nine workers and injuring eight. All but 80 meters of the bridge was completed when one half of the bridge collapsed, as seen in the video below. More lives would have been lost had 180 workers not attended a seminar off-site.  In July, the remaining span was imploded in the same ravine where a mudslide had killed 23 people in 1973.

A new span is being planned. Two subsidiaries of the French Company Effage have agreed to a contract to construct a new span. It will be the same Bridge type in a cable-stayed Suspension design, but the Towers will have a V-shape instead of the bottle shape, as was seen in the now demolished span. The new span will be 150 meters above the ravine but the bridge will be much shorter than the 450-foot bridge- a total of only 290 meters. Construction is expected to take 18 months, four of which will be reserved for planning.

Inspite this, the collapse of the Chirajara Bridge has raised concerns about the structural stability and safety of the cable-stayed bridges in general, for due to problems with the cables and the bridge decking. Already hot in the news was the recent collapse of the Morani Bridge in Genoa, Italy, other bridges have been under the loop due to structural instability, including the Fort Steuben Bridge in Ohio, the Köhlbrand Bridge in Hamburg and the Oakland section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Some are asking whether other bridge designs would be more viable than the cable-stayed bridges, even though dozens have been built over the past year, including three in New York City.  Yet the construction of the new Chirajara Bridge will help improve traffic between the two previously mentioned cities in Colombia, reducing the travel time by 25 minutes along the new motorway. In the long term, however will it make sense. We won’t know about it for another 30 years. And when we meet it again, will the problems with cable-stayed bridges still persist or will we have to rethink the way we travel, impacting the Environment.

Collapse of the Bottle-Frame:

Implosion of the Bottle-Frame:

Link with details on the new span:

http://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/eiffage-build-replacement-collapsed-colombian-brid/

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 23

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ALSO MYSTERY BRIDGE NR. 106

This week’s pic of the week is also the 106th mystery bridge in the series. And while it is in the running for this year’s Ammann Awards in the category Mystery Bridge, it is also in the running for the Author’s Choice Awards for the Best Find of a Historic Bridge.

That is if this bridge is historic. It does look rather strange up close.

When driving along Crimmitschauer Strasse heading west and away from Pölbitz, a suburb of Zwickau in Saxony, one will see some housing developments along a small valley, where a creek runs through.  Going by the name of Weissenborner Bach (or creek), there are dozens of small crossings for pedestrians and filled-in crossings for cars to enable access to the housing there, where the average age for the houses and flats there are no more than a decade old.

Yet during a drive most recently, I found a hidden arch bridge located just off the highway, tucked away in the trees. It was then I needed to pull off to have a look. From a distance, one can see a typical arch bridge that is closed spandrel, regardless of the color in the concrete. Yet getting an even closer look at the structure, it turned out to be anything but that.

The bridge’s main arch was not round but polygonal, resembling a Parker truss design minus the vertical and diagonal beams. The same applies to the outer two arches, albeit not as visible as the main arch. The bridge appears to be built using wooden boards that had been cut up, which would partially answer the question of why the arch is polygonal. The boards are slanted and when having a closer look at it, one can clearly see the pattern. Normally for arch bridges, they are made of concrete or brick, with the latter having vertical and horizontal patterns.  When looking at the arches more closely, they are faux pa, meaning the bridge itself is a beam span, and the arches were added as decoration. When finding out that diagonal beams are supporting the bridge from inside the arches, one can conclude that the bridge is a kingpost deck truss that is flanked with faux pa, polygonal arches. The question is how old is the bridge, for given the condition of the wood, they appear to be not much older than 10 years.

Any ideas behind the bridge? And do you know of other polygonal arch bridges that exist? If you do, you know what to do. 🙂

The bridge was photographed right in the middle of Fall with the ground covered in leaves and the trees having a combination of red, yellow and light green. In Sepia form, it looks even spookier with the dark-colored bridge in the background. In either case, this pic of the week best fits with the season that is in full swing, even though we have had some warmer than usual weather- a sign of tough times to come.

But for now, enjoy the picture as well.

 

Map:

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Flooding Washes Out 1960s Era Viaduct in Texas

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Lake LBJ/Llano River Crossing connecting Kingsland Washed Out by Flash Floods. No Casualties Reported.

Sometimes communities have one key crossing that is considered an icon to some but to the most, the lifeline that connects families and brings families together. The Kingsland Crossing is that key icon that keeps the community of Kingsland in central Texas together. Built in 1969 to replace a multiple-span Parker through truss Bridge, this 1200-foot Long, multiple-span concrete stringer bridge carries Texas Highway 2900 and connects the community to the North and the areas to the south, including Sunrise Beach Village. The river it spans is actually a lake that was created in 1950 under the name Granite Lake Shoals, where the Llamo and Colorado Rivers meet. Yet the lake was renamed after Lyndon B. Johnson, the US President who succeeded John F. Kennedy after he was assassinated on 22 November, 1963.

Sadly as of 16 October, 2018, the Kingsland Crossing is no more. Floodwaters that afternoon washed out 80% of the entire bridge after it had flowed over the roadways. No one was on the Bridge at that time as it had been closed off. Water levels in the region rose to over 13 feet above flood stage, thus forcing the evacuations of hundreds along the area. One person has been reported dead as of this post. A pair of videos shows the bridge as it was being carried away by the floodwaters as well as drone footage of the bridge remnants after flood levels had receded:

There is no word yet as to how much damage the flooding has inflicted in the area nor how people will be able to access the area temporarily until a new span is built. This Bridge should not be mistaken for another Kingsland Bridge that exists, which is The Slab. Built during the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the low-water crossing spans the Llamo River over granite cliffs, etc. at Highway 3404 and is a popular attraction for sunbathers, swimmers and hikers. Even though the Slab is flooded on various occasions, it is unknown whether it survived this flood. More news will come as the river levels go down and people survey the damage and casualties.

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Kingsland has a population of 4,600 inhabitants and is located 65 miles northwest of Austin, the state capital of Texas. The nearest City is Llano., which is 20 miles to the southeast. Kingsland is famous for the Grand Central Cafe Restaurant and Club Car Bar, the site where the Horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre was produced in the 1980s. The Slab can be see in this clip below:

 

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Overloaded Bus Crosses Historic Bridge in Arkansas

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Photo taken by James Baughn

Tourist Bus Twice its Size Crosses Suspension Bridge, causing it to sag

EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS (USA)- The Beaver Bridge, built in 1949 and spanning the White River at Table Rock Reservoir in Caroll County, is considered the little Golden Gate Bridge in the eyes of many locals. The bridge is a textbook style suspension; yellow in color, tower, cables and roadway, all 554 feet of it, making the place a tourist attraction.

Yet the bridge almost because a memory and a theater stage for a tragedy caused by stupidity recently. Two tourist busses crossed the bridge as recently as Saturday and in a video produced by Barb Hartman Maher, the second bus trying to cross the structure caused the decking of the suspension bridge to sag by up to three feet. Onlookers tried honking the horn at the bus driver, yet to no avail. One driver even had to turn around after watching the action, fearing that the bus had caused anough damage to keep him off the bridge.

The video of the bus crossing the bridge can be found here:

 

While the bus made it, it is unknown how many passengers were in the bus at that time. The suspension bridge has a weight limit of 10 tons yet the weight of the bus was at least three times as much as what the bridge allowed for weight.

After posting this facebook post, as many as 590,000 people viewed the post with the majority of those who commented on this having been completely angry and demanded that the bus driver take accountability for his actions. As of right now, there has been no information as to what the bus looked like, let alone the license plate number on there. Since the bridge has a weight limit and the driver went well over the limit, it is obvious that the driver had broken theb law and at the same time, put the lives of the passengers at risk. Had the suspension bridge failed, chances are very likely that many people would have lost their lives.

Therefore, we need your help. Any information that could lead to the arrest of the bus driver responsible for violating regulations involving the weight restrictions, reckless driving and negligence of passengers should be forwarded to the local law enforcement authorities as soon as possible. We the people have the right to put a person under arrest for his crimes. Seeing this is definitely a crime that must not slide under any circumstances.

It is unknown if and what kind of repairs may be needed on the bridge, but as a person crossing the bridge, it would be best to find a detour until the bridge is checked over. Thank you for your help in this matter.

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East German Era Bridge to be torn down after fire

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1980s era bridge to be torn down because of fire damage despite having been rehabilitated. Fire under investigation.

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FLÖHA (SAXONY), GERMANY- Approximately 13 kilometers east of Chemnitz in the district of Mittelsachsen is the town of Flöha. With a population of 10,130 inhabitants, the city is located at the junction of the River Zschopau and the River Flöha and is loaded with dozens of historic bridges within the radius of 5 kilometers. This includes the Hetzdorf Viaduct, which is to the south and east of the city and used to carry the Dresden-Zwickau-Hof-Nuremberg Magistral Railroad.

One of the bridges that used to serve Flöha was the Apfelsinebrücke. Literally translated as the Orange Bridge because of its original color, the bridge was built in 1983, spanning the River Zschopau at Baumwolle Park and having served pedestrians for three decades. The bridge was recently rehabilitated at the cost of 223,000 Euros (ca. $260,000) as it was one of the last structures to have been damaged by floodwaters in 2013.

Sadly though, the steel deck plate girder is coming down- victim of a fire, which has caused anger among the city council members in Flöha and has gotten police and criminal investigators involved as to finding out what happened to the bridge. According to information by the Chemnitz Free Press and supported by German public channel MDR,  the fire broke out on the bridge on Friday at around 3:00pm, sending smoke up to 500 meters high, making it visible to as far west as Chemnitz. Because of its thickness and wind, residents were ordered to keep all windows and forms of ventilation closed until the fire was under control. Fire crews from Flöha and nearby Falkenau battled the blaze for over an hour, which caused telephone lines to go dead as well as power outage to houses nearby due to wiring going across the bridge. When the fire was finally put out, the spans had partially collapsed. “The fire has bent the steel to a point that the bridge cannot be saved,” says  Volker Holuscha , the mayor of Flöha during an interview with the Free Press. Given the extensive damage of the fire, especially because of high temperature caused by the flame, the incident is being investigated. In the meantime, the city is seeking a plan to replace the structure as soon as possible and will be removing the bridge once the investigation is finished. The fire spells a tragic end to a structure that was loved by many locals in Flöha, especially as the city had spent money to keep it in place for generations to come. Now the fire has burned the project up in smoke. It can only be hoped that a newer bridge that will come will be sturdier and better secured to ensure such a fire will never happen again……

 

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