BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 97

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This week’s Pic of the Week takes us to the City of Jena in eastern Thuringia and to this bridge, the Carl Alexander Bridge, which is about seven kilometers to the north of the city. The three-span Parker through truss bridge, built in 1892, spans the River Saale and can be seen high in the air from Dornburg Castle. In either direction, one has a grandiose photographic view- towards the castle from the bridge or from the terrace of the castle. The bridge was imploded before the end of World War II but was subsequentially rebuilt afterwards. It had served traffic until a new bridge on a new alignment opened in the late 1990s and the truss bridge was converted to a bike crossing, serving the Saale Bike Trail. While living in Jena, my wife and I would always use this bridge to cross while biking along the Saale. It was a great treat even to spend a few minutes break at the bridge.

Since 2018 the bridge has undergone an extensive renovation where crews replaced the decking and some truss parts, as well as removed the pack rust on the trusses, repainted the whole structure and made repairs on the bridge’s abutments. We had an opportunity to visit the bridge during our most recent visit. Having moved away from Jena, we wanted to revisit some of the places that held lots of memories in the 19+ years we lived there. This was one of them, especially as the structure was being rehabbed.

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As you can see in the pics presented, the bridge looks like new and the rehab is almost finished. The new decking was added and paved. What is missing are the railings. Before the work began, fencing was placed on both sides of the trusses from  the inside to keep people from leaning on the railings, Much of the original railings was as rusty and corroded as the trusses themselves and therefore had to be removed for restoring.  As you can see in the tunnel shot, it looks done, but not just yet.

According to the website, the railings are not the only issue left. The bridge will be lit with LED, making it shine to its glory at night and replacing the yellow sodium lighting that had existed before but emitted an amber color of dystopia that was unwelcoming to visitors.  Furthermore, a bridge park with an info-board on the bridge’s history will be built near the parking lot on the east end. Fundraising is still being done to make this a reality. If you are interested, click here  to donate.

It is unknown when the bridge will reopen, let alone how long it will take for at least the structural work will be done before opening the bridge. Due to the Corona Virus and the restrictions that are in place, it is very unlikely that an opening ceremony will take place this year. This will buy workers more time to finish the work on their „To-Do“ List and have the bridge ready for use again. Although the bridge will re-open in silence, the celebration will most likely happen in 2021 or even 2022, when the bridge is 110 years old. In either case, like with the Corona, patience is the key. Give them time and you will be given time to use it again. Word to the wise.

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 95

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This week’s Pic of the Week keeps us in Minnesota but takes us towards the Twin Cities. About a half hour drive southwest of Minneapolis we have the city of Shakopee, located on the Minnesota River. The city of 41,500 inhabitants has a lot of popular places of interest, including Valleyfair, Cantebury Downs, and the Renaissance Festival, in addition to its historic city center (even though it has been dwarfed by a population explosion in the past 30 years.)  When you follow the former US highway 169 (county highway 69) into the city and want to cross the Minnesota, you can at this one.

The Holmes Street Bridge features two bridges. The newest one (in the background) was built in 1993; the historic bridge in the foreground, a continuous Warren deck truss span was built in 1927. That structure replaced one of several swing bridges that had existed along the river from Mankato to St. Paul.  The bridge is 645 feet total in length and had six spans, including an underpass on the Shakopee side. That span has a flight of stairs that connect the street with the bridge itself.   The bridge carried US 169 before it was carried over to the 1993 crossing for awhile. The highway eventually was relocated again five years later when it became an expressway and bypassed Shakopee and its cross-river neighbor Chaska. County 69 became the replacement although with many cars driving through the city, it has the characteristics of a major highway in Minnesota with a four-lane highway whose lanes are much wider than a typical county road.

This photo was taken in August 2009 as we were making a brief stop for a break. The bridge was already open for pedestrians and cyclists and I saw quite a few of them passing by as I photographed the structure. The bridge was scheduled to be rehabilitated a year later, but it didn’t stop me from getting some details of the decking and truss superstructure before some of the elements were eventually replaced. While some of the gussets were replaced, the lighting and railings were completely replaced with those mimicking a nostalgic era of over a century ago. You can find more photos per bridgehunter.com here.

There is a story that came along after the photos were posted on bridgehunter.com. An insurance agency in Shakopee found this picture, the pic of the week feature, so interesting that they wanted to use it for their campaign. The green light was given- but under one condition. I wanted an example oft he finished product once it was released in the public. I received a folder with the name of the insurance agency in the end.  It was a neat souvenir that I still have at home. And for the agent, a way to bring a relict of the past to the public to show them what makes Shakopee a unique community, despite it becoming an urban sprawl. A win-win situation for all.

 

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Shakopee went from a small town of 9,400 in 1980 to an urban community of 41,500 by 2018, an increase of 31,000 over the course of almost four decades.  Together with Chaska, the twin communities have a population of ca. 70,000 inhabitants. Ironically, Chaska had only 4500 inhabitants before sprouting in the 1990s. It has almost 27,000 residents. Both are part oft he Minneapolis/ St. Paul Metropolitan area, which has a total of 3.9 million people, counting the Twin Cities plus all the cities surrounding it.

BHC Newsflyer: 17 April 2020

Phelps Mill Bridge in Otter Tail County, MN: Photo taken by Jake Lennington

 

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To listen to the podcast, click on the link here: https://anchor.fm/jason-smith-bhc19/episodes/BHC-Newsflyer-17-April-2020-ect4hb

 

 

Headlines:

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Kern Bowstring Arch Bridge Has (Possible) New Home in Fergus Falls
Photo taken in 2009
 
3rd Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis to be Rehabilitated
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Kassberg Bridge. Photo taken in 2017
 
Kassberg Bridge in Chemnitz Reopens After 2-year Restoration
 
Historic Bridge in Halsbrücke to be Removed
 
Amrutanjan Viaduct in India Imploded
Article on the demolition:  Amrutanjan Bridge Demolished
 
Champlain Bridge before its replacement bridge. Photo: UncivilFire / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Team Selected for Champlain Bridge Removal in Montreal
 
Work Commences to Finish Sixaola Bridge Project
Photo taken by John Phelan (NPS)
 
Art Competition for Arthur A. Smith Covered Bridge:
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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 93

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This Pic of the Week takes us back to Glauchau and a site where no one really expected this- a work of art that doesn’t need any type of bracing for support. This photo was taken during our walk on Easter Sunday and is that of the Hirschgrundbrücke at the Castle Complex. Since October 2018, the bridge had been rebuilt, piece by piece under a coat of steel scaffolding. Since the beginning of April, the cranes have disappeared and it was only the decking that needs to be finished on the bridge. Still, the scaffolding was covering the bridge for many days.

On this day, the bridge was presented in its former glory- stone bridge with its four arches; the photo taken just as the trees were about to blossom with flowers and leaves and the ground was about to become greener.  It looked like the bridge has arisen, as much as Jesus had arisen from the dead- both coming back to life to bring good tidings and love to the people. The difference, the bridge is here to stay while Jesus blessed it because of its beauty and its attachment to the castle and the nature that surrounds it. It was a real treat to see the bridge again after almost two years of absence.  And while the old structure could’ve been a great bridge of vegetation, like the one in Massachusetts, this structure will again connect history with nature- the castle and the park will again be one. And one that can be seen from the main street heading into the city center. ❤ 🙂

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UPDATE:

The decking is almost finished and work will then include the south approach, which is a meter higher than the bridge itself. The plan is to make a ramp to allow for pedestrians and the handicapped to cross the structure. At the same time, a new park south of the bridge is being constructed to provide visitors with some nature and recreation. That area used to have garden houses before the property was completely razed in December, last year.  While CoVid 19 has delayed numerous construction projects globally, this project, weather permitting, is expected to be finished well before the deadline of the end of June. The reason:  Despite the lockdown in the state of Saxony, some construction projects were allowed to continue but using safety guidelines to ensure nobody was infected with the virus.

 

The Chronicles will keep you updated on the latest with this project, including the grand opening of the bridge and park complex. Stay tuned. 🙂

 

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BHC Newsflyer: April 10, 2020

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Heiligborn Viaduct in Waldheim (Saxony), Germany. Photo taken in 2018

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To listen to the podcast, click onto the link: https://anchor.fm/jason-smith-bhc19/episodes/BHC-Newsflyer-10-April-2020-eclf2j

 

Headlines:

Railroad Bridge north of Basel (Switzerland) Collapses- One Dead

Information on the incident: https://www.brueckenweb.de/2content/datenbank/bruecken/3brueckenblatt.php?bas=97327

 

A10 Bridge in Tuscany Region. Photo by Frank Selke

Century Old Bridge in Italy Collapses- Minor Casualties

Article:  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52213898

Bridge info:  https://www.brueckenweb.de/2content/datenbank/bruecken/3brueckenblatt.php?bas=86926

 

 

Spencerville Covered Bridge Recognized as State’s Favorite

Article:  https://www.kpcnews.com/thestar/article_90e3aec5-2039-51c9-8f97-6ff9ebf11b70.html

Bridge Information: https://bridgehunter.com/in/de-kalb/spencerville/

 

Bridge Street Bridge in Gardiner. Photo taken by Brian Bartlett

Gardiner Bridge Project Delayed Due to Corona Virus

Article: https://www.centralmaine.com/2020/04/07/gardiner-bridge-replacement-project-delayed/#

Info on the Project: https://reed-reed.com/gardiner-maine-bridges/

Bridge Info: https://bridgehunter.com/me/kennebec/bh59101/

 

Finlay Bridge in Medicine Hat (Alberta), Canada. Photo by Bryan Leitch / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Finlay Bridge in Medicine Hat (Alberta), Canada to be Rehabilitated

Article: https://chatnewstoday.ca/2020/04/06/city-planning-rehabilitation-of-finlay-bridge/

Bridge Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finlay_Bridge

 

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Bothell Bridge. Photo taken by John Gateley

Bothell Wooden Truss Bridge to be Replaced

Info on Bridge Project: http://www.ci.bothell.wa.us/487/Park-at-Bothell-Landing-Pedestrian-Bridg?fbclid=IwAR1udFEhVnOu6xcG1RsNJNY_MY39J5H3TvrxCwgwSIHX6wk_QjncTI2A8lg

 

Tour Guide on the Bridges of Waldheim (Saxony), Germany

Tour Guide: The Bridges of Waldheim (Saxony), Germany

BHC Newsflyer: 20 March, 2020

Padma Bridge in Bangladesh: One of many bridge projects on hold due to the Corona Virus. Photo taken by Afzalhossainbd / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

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CORONA SPECIAL

Headlines:

Pennsylvania suspends all bridge building projects
International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie. Photo taken by Mark Yurina in 2018
Michigan no longer accepting cash at toll bridges
Stillwater Lift Bridge. Photo taken in 2009
Reopening Celebrations at Stillwater Lift Bridge Delayed
Opening of Dublin Suspension Bridge Delayed
Sagar Bridge over the Neisse. Photo by Tnemtsoni / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
Traffic Jam causes problems for Oder-Neisse River crossings
Virus Delays Construction of Zuari Bridge in India
Peljesac Bridge under construction. Photo by: Ma▀▄Ga / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
Delays in China-Partnership Bridge Projects in Croatia and Bangladesh
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Photo taken in 2011
Update on the Lindaunis-Schlei Bridge Replacement Project- bridge now closed to vehicular traffic.

 

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BHC Newsflyer: 13 March 2020

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To listen to the podcast, click here: https://anchor.fm/jason-smith-bhc19/episodes/BHC-Newsflyer-13-March-2020-ebhlti

 

Links to the News Stories:

 

East Trent Bridge in Spokane, WA to be replaced
Commercial Street Bridge in Pittsburgh to be replaced; Frazier Street Bridge as next in line
Ohder Railroad Bridge in Wuppertal, Germany restored
Henley Bridge in Solingen, Germany to be replaced after 20 years
Garden Bridge in Preston, England?
Frank J. Wood Bridge in Maine in Preservation Magazine
Lichfield Iron Bridge to be restored
Okoboji Truss Bridge at new home
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HYB: Humpback Covered Bridge

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The next two entries are film clips from History in Your Backyard, a film series produced by Satolli Glassmeyer and Co.  Our first one looks at the Humpback Covered Bridge in Covington, Virginia. This bridge was built in 1856 and is the oldest covered bridge in Virginia, let alone one of the oldest in the country.  The bridge was one of the first to have been rehabilitated and repurposed for pedestrians, as this was done in 1957, almost 30 years since it was replaced by a truss bridge on a new alignment and later abandoned. And lastly, it was one of the first that was nominated to the National Register, as it was listed in 1969.  Take a look at the video about the bridge’s history, which includes photos and some other facts. The engineering details can be found here.

BHC 10 years

Plaka Bridge in Greece Restored

Photo taken by C. Messier for wikiCommons in 2014

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ARTA, GREECE- It took a few seconds to bring down the largest bridge of its kind in the Balkans Region. Flash flooding from the Arachthos River washed away the Plaka Bridge in February 2015, an 1866 stone arch bridge built by Constantinos Bekas.

Five years later, the bridge has been rebuilt and it looks like nothing happened. Over 300 crews worked around the clock to rebuild the arch bridge, using the same technology that had been used when the structure was originally built. As many as 9000 stones with a measurement of 70 by 40 by 10 cm were hewed and wedged together carefully without the single use of metal skeletal support for the bridge. In fact the only metal used was temporary scaffolding to hold the pieces of the bridge in place. “The result is a bridge which is more than a twin of the first one, it is a bridge with the same DNA,” says Dimitris Kaliabakos, Professor of Metallurgy and Mine Engineering at the National Metsovio Polytechnic in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

With the bridge, or shall we say its “twin” back over the river and the scaffolding now gone, crews are going to observe the bridge closely to see how well it can survive the extreme weather conditions, such as flooding and other storms, the same extremities that destroyed the original structure. Afterwards, it will be reopened to the traffic and the Katsanohoria villages in the region of Epirus will reclaim ownership of this unique structure. When the Plaka Bridge finally reopens to traffic remains unclear.

The Plaka Bridge is located at the borders of Arta and Ioannina prefectures, spanning the River Arachthos. With its arch of 40 metres (130 ft) width and 17.61 m (57 ft 9 in) height, it is the largest single-arch stone bridge in Greece and the Balkans. It is also the third largest bridge of its kind in Europe. The central, monumental arch also has two small auxiliary arches on either side, each measured at six meters wide. Like with the reconstruction, it was the most difficult bridge ever built.

The bridge will be in the running for the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards in the category Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge.

BHC 10 years

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 85

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The 85th Pic of the Week takes us to a lone relict of history in the State of Iowa. The Kirby-Flynn Bridge is the only bridge of its kind that is left in Palo Alto County in north central Iowa. The six-panel Pratt through truss bridge features A-framed portal bracings and pinned connections. The truss span itself is 121 feet with the total length being 161 feet. The bridge was built in 1883 but was relocated here in 1919 as part of the project to dredge and rechannel the West Branch Des Moines River. At that time, as many as 20 bridges had spanned the river and its snake-like flow. As flat as the county was, vast areas at and within a 10 mile width of the river had been prone to flooding. This bridge was one of an additional 14 spans that were needed to span the new channel, whereas an undisclosed number of original bridges- namely wooden and iron crossings were either replaced or removed.

When I first visited the bridge in 1998, the truss span was in very bad shaped with missing and/or broken wooden decking, damages to the stringers and railings and lots of rust. My original prediction had been that the structure would eventually have been removed due to damage or neglect. In fact, a fire caused by fireworks in 2006 surely would have sealed the bridge’s fate.

However, fast forward to 2010 and one can see that Kirby Flynn is still standing. The bridge was given a thorough make-over, which included new decking, new steel columns for the endposts, new painting and a clearance bar to ensure that no trucks would cross. The project lasted a year, and the bridge was reopened in April 2010.

This photo was taken during my visit in August 2010. I was revisiting some of the bridges I had photographed 12 years earlier and was taken aback at the work that was done at this bridge. The photo was taken in the late afternoon with no cloud in the sky. This scene was symbolic for two reasons: 1. A movement towards preserving and restoring many historic bridges was in full swing, as a response to the increase in the demolition of bridges that were unwanted in the name of progress yet there were louder responses from those wanting to save them for future generations. While the movement to save historic bridges started by Eric Delony and company in the 1970s, it didn’t really gain as much momentum until the early 2000s, thanks to the rise of information technology, especially the internet but also later social media. With that came the exchange of information and preservation techniques that made restoring bridges easier to do.

This brings us to number 2. The Kirby Flynn as a poster boy of what can be done if there are enough expertise and interest in saving it. One could cleanse the county of all the bridges and have bland pieces of concrete in their places. Yet many in the county wanted this bridge because of its history. It’s an artefact that is part of the county’s history and one where a field trip with some stories behind the bridge’s history, let alone the restoration is worth it.

Even in my visit to this bridge, the structure shone brighter than it did during my visit in 1998 which made it and the photo taken worth it. Sometimes a quick stop off the highway for the purpose of a photo opp. will bring you surprises you would least expect it.

And like the visit to the bridge, the surprises you encounter and the education behind your discoveries and observations are well worth it.

Learn more about this bridge by clicking here: http://bridgehunter.com/ia/palo-alto/brushy-bayou/

 

BHC 10 years