LINCOLN – State officials are promising that repairs on two Albion bridges will still be completed by the end of summer despite a supplier snafu this week that had neighbors shaking their heads.Rhode Island Department of Transportation spokesman Charles St.
May 24, 1862
The second and current version of Westminster Bridge in London was opened. This structure, spanning the River Thames, replaced the original bridge that had made its debut in the mid-18th century and was closed in 1846 (and subsequently demolished) due to deterioration.
The opening of the new road-and-foot-traffic bridge took place on the 43rd birthday of Queen Victoria. As part of the early-morning dedication, a total of 25 guns were fired simultaneously to correspond with the number of years in which Victoria had reigned to date as England’s monarch. (Victoria, however, did not attend this ceremony; she was in deep mourning at the time for her husband Prince Albert, who died that previous December.)
The second Westminster Bridge was designed by renowned civil engineer Thomas Page. The London-based Morning Post stated a couple of days after the opening of the structure, “This is the fourth bridge…
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Care for a game of hoops? There is a good place to play ball, right next to the viaduct. Located in the village of Unterkotzau, north of Hof, this viaduct spans the River Saale. It was one of the oldest viaducts along the Hof-Zwickau-Chemnitz-Dresden Magistrate as well as the Hof-Werdau-Leipzig Line, having been constructed in 1848. The 174 meter long viaduct is the only viaduct along the two lines that has pointed arches, resembling rockets. One can see the eight-arch viaduct from the vehicular crossing that is only 400 meters away to the northwest. From there, one has another six kilometers until reaching the next bridge at the Motorway 72 Viaduct near Koditz.
In either case, one will enjoy a good game of basketball while watching the trains cross the bridge. At least one train crosses every 20 minutes regardless of which direction, which makes it well- traveled
….and well watched from the passengers cheering on the home team. We’re just missing the ref, though. 😉
The Death Railway earned its name from the sheer number of lives lost during its construction, including that of railway bridge number 277 in June 1943, allowing the track to cross what is today known as the Khwae Noi River, and which has become recognised worldwide as the Bridge on the River Kwai.
Have a great day!!
Another (high quality) candidate for the 2019 Bridgehunter Awards for best example of a restored historic bridge. The nominations and voting will be a very interesting one this year, especially as this candidate is the oldest known iron bridge in the world. Read more here. 🙂
For much of last year this 240-year-old bridge was under wraps while English Heritage engineers carried out major repairs on the iron work. And it was during this process that the original paint colour of the world’s first cast iron bridge was discovered – a rusty red. This seems to have struck many as surprising, probably because in the living memory of most Shropshire folk, the bridge has either been lugubrious black (as I remember it in the 1960s) or battleship grey – its most recent shade before the overhaul.
And this is how it looked last week bathed in May sunshine. A much more jaunty effort.
That the bridge was originally this colour, or as near as can be recreated, was documented at the time. While Abraham Darby III was having it built (between 1779 and its official opening in 1781) he commissioned some promotional artwork from William…
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January 30, 1826
The Menai Suspension Bridge connecting the island of Anglesey with the mainland of Wales was opened to a great deal of fanfare. This structure, which crosses over the Menai Straits, is widely considered to be the world’s first modern suspension bridge.
Prior to the bridge’s opening, the only options for traveling between Anglesey and the mainland were by ferry or – if there was a low tide — by foot (risky even under those circumstances). Anglesey’s leading source of income involved the sale of cattle, which had customarily been led into the water and guided across to the mainland. It was decided at long last to build a bridge at that location, not only to get livestock across in an easier and safer manner but also to transport those animals more expeditiously to London and other regions.
Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford designed the bridge, and construction on…
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September 10, 1932
The George Westinghouse Memorial Bridge was officially opened in the borough of East Pittsburgh in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County. One newspaper characterized the debuting bridge as “the most recent link in Pennsylvania’s maze of beautiful highways.”
The 1,598-foot (487.1-meter)-long bridge, which consists of five spans and carries U.S. Route 30 over the Turtle Creek Valley, was named in memory of engineer and electrical industry pioneer George Westinghouse (1846-1914). His world-famous Westinghouse Electric Corporation plant was located in East Pittsburgh at the time of the bridge’s debut; an industrial park can now be found at that site. The bridge was constructed to serve as a bypass and specifically to divert traffic from what had become the time-consuming and sometimes dangerous routes through the valley.
Approximately 30,000 people showed up for the Saturday afternoon opening festivities for the bridge, and a band consisting of Westinghouse employees entertained the crowd with music for…
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A History in Your Backyard Documentary.
GEORGETOWN, KENTUCKY (USA)- The best historic bridges are the ones that are the most hidden, the most unrecognizable and in this case, the most heavily traveled bridge. The Royal Springs Bridge is located in Georgetown. It spans the creek bearing its name carrying Main Street and US Hwy. 460 near the university. Although the bridge was built in 1800, records indicated that it was constructed in 1789, the same year George Washington was elected the first president of the US. The engineer was Elijah Craig.This makes it the oldest bridge in the state.
Yet there are some more interesting points about this bridge. Here are some more in a documentary produced by History in Your Own Backyard:
Further information about its history can be found here via bridgehunter.com.
This bridge is a classic example of a bridge that is a forgotten one unless you make a stop with the camera and get a few shots. Especially if the structure is listed as a technical heritage site. 🙂
Co-produced with sister column
SPARNBERG (THURINGIA); GERMANY- Approximately 1-2 kilometers west of the Rudolphstein Viaduct and the Motorway 9 between Berlin and Munich is a small village that has slowly but surely become the forgotten or even lost one. Sparnberg is located on the River Saale. Founded in 1202, the village used to have a population of over 400 inhabitants at the end of World War II. Today it has only 160. The town today is characterized by its small church and market square, a dam and mill that was created in 1999, a park that is just off the Saale Bike Trail and other hiking trails that careen the steep woody hills, and the key crossing between Thuringia and Bavaria- the Sparnberg Bridge.
To understand the history of the bridge, we have to look at the history of Sparnberg in the post war period. The village is located at the edge of civilization, tucked away from the events that were unfolding in World War II with Hitler’s downfall in the hands of the allies. Even driving down to Sparnberg from Rudolphstein today is a real chore for one will face steep hills and steep curves before jumping right onto the bridge and into Sparnberg. If you have a car with a stick shift, put it into one before going down, ok?
Everything was peaceful until their covered bridge was blown up in 1945 by the fleeing Nazi soldiers in an attempt to flee the Soviets and Americans from the south. They had previously taken down two arches of the Autobahn Viaduct thus cutting off the main artery between Berlin and Munich for 21 years (see more here). It was at this point that Sparnberg, for 45 years, was in the direct line of fire between the Americans on the Bavarian side and the Soviets on the Thuringian side. While the American troops took advantage of the gorgeous views of the Saale River Valley (known in Germany as the Saaletal) and watched the daily lives of the residents in Sparnberg, the Soviets were quick to erect a Wall as tall as the one that had splitted Berlin into two, made of concrete and steel to keep people from crossing the Saale to the Bavarian side. The entire town was surrounded by the tracks that were used by the military and police. Many of these concrete reminents of the „Todeszone“ (Death Zone) can be found in and around Sparnberg today. This includes a rather unique treat that the lucky „bastards“ from Moscow got, which you can read about here. But in all reality, the people of Sparnberg had no chance but to be at the mercy of the soldiers who were infiltrating the small village in the middle of „No Man’s Land“ until November 1989- the time of the Fall of the Wall.
While making it across the border was trecherous for residents had to flee through Bad Lobenstein and the Schleizer Dreieck in order to cross the Viaduct, which had been restored and reopened 23 years before, a temporary crossing was built in 1990 to allow people to cross the Saale. At the same time, both states and district of Hirschberg (which Sparnberg belongs to) developed a plan to build a new permanent crossing. Originally planned as a covered bridge, they changed their minds, and when the bridge opened in 1993, this was what the structure looked like:
At present, the bridge looks like this. However, as it was a wooden beam bridge, time, weather extremities as well as wear and tear have taken their toll on the structure. Furthermore, the steel supporting the beams is corroding, making the crossing more dangerous. The bridge’s current weight limit is 2.0 tons and only cars can cross. By American standards, the structure would have to close allowing only pedestrians and cyclists to use it. Its absolute „Schmerzpunkt“ is three tons, but many states have the limit set for cars at five tons. While photographing the bridge from underneath, the sound of creaking and crackling of wooden planks from the cars might be an indicating factor, yet bridges with wooden decking have that typical sound of wood rolling and creaking.
The major problem is how the bridge has been maintained, as you can see in the picture above. As the bridge was financed by both states, it should have been maintained by the same parties. This pic was taken from the Sparnberg side and shows that theory and praxis are a day and night difference. In the background the plankings on the Bavarian side is warped with wood rot and cracks, as if it had never been maintained. On the Thuringian side, the planks look like new and seems to have been in place for a decade. While Sparnberg used to have a bridge festival and part of the proceeds were most likely used for the maintenance and rehabilitation, it was only for their side, whereas the Bavarian side has long since neglected its end, using the „out of site, out of mind“ mentality which is taking ist toll. Should it continue, then Sparnberg may not have a bridge for too long- it takes a simple collapse of a car into the Saale to do the trick.
While the bridge still provides the easiest access to Bavaria, the time is ripe to replace the bridge with one that is iconic for Sparnberg and the region along the former East-West border. The structure of course needs to be wider and made of both wood and steel to ensure its longetivity, with the southern approach to the bridge to be widened. Yet it needs to be as iconic as not only the present structure but the covered bridge that had preceded it before it was bombed and later walled shut. One has to keep in mind that despite the few cars that cross it, it is still a vital one for the people in Sparnberg. A slab bridge is definitely not an option, but other designs might be suitable, such as a through truss bridge, suspension bridge, tied arch or even its classical covered bridge. All are typical for the region.
The question is which one would you choose?
More pics of the bridges in the region can be found here
Co-written with sister column
Our 50th Pic of the Week keeps us at the former West and East German border (now Thuringia-Bavaria) but takes us to what was one of the most important crossings during the Cold War.
The Rudolphstein Viaduct, known since 2006 at The Bridge of German Unification, spans the River Saale between the towns of Rudolphstein on the Bavarian side and Hirschberg on the Thuringian side. Another town that is even closer to the bridge is Sparnberg, which is only a kilometer away. The 255 meter long bridge carries the Autobahn 9, which connects Berlin with Munich, passing through Leipzig/Halle, Hof, Nuremberg and Augsburg. The bridge was the work of Fritz Limpert and Paul Bonatz, built in 1936 as part of the project to build the Autobahn that still connects the two major cities. It featured two identical bridges with eight arches made of granite stone, with a height of 35 meters and a width for each bridge of 22 meters. It was one of the first crossings and served as a polster boy for Adolf Hitler’s Autobahn construction project which expanded until 1942 and included dozens of bridges similar to this crossing. Another bridge nearby, the Koditz Viaduct in Hof, was built in 1940 as part of the Autobahn project connecting Hof with Chemnitz.
The bridge was severely damaged before the end of World War II with one of the arches having been detonated by Nazi soldiers in a desperate attempt to slow the advancement of American troops from the south and the Soviets from the east. The bridge sat idle for 21 years until 1966, when an agreement between both East and West Germany allowed for the bridge to be repaired and reopened to traffic. It served as a border control crossing until the Fall of the Wall in 1989. Seven years later, an extension was built which serves northbound traffic to Berlin. The original spans serve southbound traffic.
A lot of the relicts from this viaduct and nearby can still be found today. This includes a path where the Soviets and East German police patrolled the Thuringian side to ensure that no one attempted to cross the border over to Bavarian side. This includes a unique pic which can be found here. South of the bridge is a former Bavarian crossing point, which is now a rest area with convenience store, restaurant and souvenir shop. And then we have this pic:
This was found on the north end of the bridge. The question here is what was this part of the bridge used for? We do know that parking at this bridge has been banned since 1989, but what was this place used for prior to that? This question goes to any historian, local, traveler or the like that is willing to answer this .