Mystery Bridge Nr. 168: An Unusual Truss Bridge in Steinwerder

Photo taken by Jessica Schwartz for Hamburger Brücken


In our next mystery bridge series, we head to the city of Hamburg. With over 2400 bridges in the Hafen City and German City-State of 1.5 million inhabitants, Hamburg has more bridges than Pittsburgh, more bridges than Venice and even more bridges than Germany’s capital of Berlin. Each bridge originates from not only a different district but also a different time era, which includes structures that had survived World War II. When visiting Hamburg, if you want to photograph the bridges, you either need to stay a month to get each and every single one of them, or visit the most famous of them.

There is a webpage that focuses on Hamburg’s bridges entitled Hamburger Brücken. The site features each of the city’s most prominent bridges as well as some fancy ones, many of them feature a unique design, let alone a unique history. You will find the links at the end of this article and some bridges from there will be featured here in the future.

This bridge caught my attention for many reasons. It’s a rather unusual through truss bridge that features an endpost that is half slanted-half vertical. Its portal bracing resembles that of a trio of bridges in Montana: The Fort Benton, the Forsyth and the now extant Fort Keogh:

Fort Keogh Bridge in Custer Co, Montana. Photo courtesy of HABS-HAER-HALS


Though the bridge in Hamburg appears to have Pennsylvania truss design features like in the three aforementioned Montana crossings, it’s highly doubtful that any of William S. Hewett‘s relatives would make the trip overseas to Germany with the possible exception of fighting the Nazis in World War II and rebuilding Hamburg afterwards as the city became part of the British-controlled zone, which later consolidated with the Americans and French.

The bridge is located in Steinwerder, one of the districts in the center of Hamburg and used to span the Steinwerder Canal. The canal was 750-800 meters long and used to connect the north and south channels of the River Elbe. It was emptied and partially filled in in the 1990s. Since then, the bridge has been sitting on ground, fenced off and its future unknown. The canal was built after World War II which means the bridge dates back to that period, especially because of the thick metal beams and riveted connections.

The question is who built the bridge? When was it built? And what type of truss is this bridge? And lastly, is there a way to reuse the bridge? A discussion that can be made via Hamburger Brücken’s Instagram page. Otherwise, feel free to comment on the Chronicles via facebook or in the comment section. Some cool facts about this bridge would be quite useful and serve as an incentive to possibly save this unique structure.


Hamburger Brücken webpages:





Nord Story NDR: Mediathek