BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 27

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Winter time is around the corner and it was an obligation to bid farewell to a Fall where we had mild days but lots of true colors, as we can see here in this pic from The Wave, located south of Glauchau in western Saxony. There’s really nothing much to say there except WOW! ❤ 😀

 

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 106- A railroad bridge and a street bridge in the park.

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The 106th mystery bridge takes us back to western Saxony and in particular, the southern end of Zwickau, where at the junction of Fuchsgraben and Saarstrasse near the Glück-Auf Shopping Center, we have three bridges as part of the mix. Two of them are deck plate girder bridges (although one of them I was able to photograph during a bike tour back in September) that appear to have been dated back to the early 1920s, and it is unknown who built these structures. Each of them span Saarstrasse and have a length of 40 meters. One of the spans serves regional train service to Aue.

Even more interesting is a short, but rather beautiful concrete bridge located on the west end of the viaduct. It spans a creek that empties into the Zwickau Mulde at the Pöhlau Railroad Bridge and appears to be a box culvert. Yet the railings appear to have a Art Greco design, which is rather antique given its age. Bridges with Art Greco designs were common beginning in 1910 and while some served as railings for box culverts due to its short length, others functioned as a T-beam bridge, especially those with a length of more than 25 meters and whose railings are thick enough to support the roadway. Given its age, combined with its wear and tear, it is likely that the 10-meter long box culvert at Fuchsgraben is at least 85-90 years old. That structure has just been reincorporated into the city’s bike trail network, connecting Zwickau’s City Center and the suburbs of Planitz: Neu, Ober and Nieder. The city has plans to expand the network and make biking easier and safer for residents who live in these areas, connecting them with the existing main route along the Zwickau Mulde River.

 

If you know more about these three bridges, feel free to comment on them or provide some information via e-mail. The tour guide on Zwickau’s bridges will be updated to include this and a couple additional bridges found and documented, so any help would be much appreciated.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 26

As we are in the middle of the autumn season, we still have some cool photos to show, whether they are landscape photos, parks and green areas in the city, historic buildings and even bridges. This fantastic photo belongs to the last category. This was taken at the Steinpleis Viaduct near Werdau in western Saxony. This is one of four brick arch viaducts located in and around Werdau there were built between 1840 and 1850 as the railroad lines were built between Leipzig and Zwickau via Werdau as well as the Dresden-Zwickau-Hof-Nuremberg Magistrate Route. It took 30 years to complete both routes. The red brick viaduct is located at the Werdau Triangle where both rail lines meet. The lines used to have long-distance trains running past- between Leipzig and Munich and between Dresden and Nuremberg. Today only regional trains, like this one- the MRB (Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn) based in Chemnitz use the two lines, as well as the S-bahn (Light Rail) which goes to Leipzig-Halle Airport. Taken shortly before sunset, the Regio-Express train is crossing the viaduct enroute to Hof, its final stop, but not before having passed through the Triangle. Just as beautiful site taken from the bridge as it is seeing it from the train.

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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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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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Saving the Bockau Arch Bridge Day 9: Concrete Bed in the River

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A first in the Bockau Arch Bridge series since July and a lot has changed since then. It goes beyond the change in the color of the leaves in the fall, as you can see from the picture of the trees flanking the Zwickau Mulde from the old bridge.

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It goes beyond the fact that workers have poured the concrete on the new structure built adjacent to the old bridge. This was done in August and according to latest news from the Chemnitz Free Press, the new B-283 Bridge is scheduled to be open to traffic by Christmas, thus ending the detour of Highway B-283 between Aue and Eibenstock in the western part of the Ore Mountains, which has until now been rerouted through Zschorlau and Schneeberg.

It has to do with a finding that was discovered during our most recent visit to the bridge and our Friends of the Bockau Arch Bridge Association Meeting on October 9th, something very unpleasant and will most certainly cause legal action because of the violations committed. Despite many headaches trying to download this clip from my camera, this 5-minute film tells all, even without the commentary in English…..

And after crossing the old bridge to get to the Bockau side of the span, we could see the “Schandfleck” in detail. A total “Schande” (shame) because of several reasons!

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According to several sources, the old bridge is supposed to remain in place until it is demolished and removed in the spring in 2019 with a pair of very important exceptions:

1. Since the bridge is still protected by the Denkmalschutzgesetz (German Culture Heritage Law), documentation of the structure will need to be carried out before its removal, which includes ist history, description and historical significance to the Region. If following the Guidelines that exist in the USA, that process could take 1-2 years to complete.

2. The Investigative Committee (Ausschuss), located in the state parliament in Dresden, which took on the petition to save the bridge back in March, has yet to decide on the bridge’s fate. At the present time, the association has three possible suitors that are willing to take ownership of the bridge once the new B-283 Bridge is completed. If Dresden says yes to the proposal, then the association has until March to name the suitor willing to take over ownership of the old bridge. If not, then the green light will have been given to proceed with the removal.

3. Even if Dresden says no, a copy of the Petition was forwarded to Berlin; specifically the Deutschen Bundestag (German Parliament) and the  Deutsches Nationalkomitee für Denkmalschutz (Geman National Committee for Cultural Heritage), for the bridge carries a federal highway and if therefore responsible for the ownership of the bridge, which is still protected by the Cultural Heritage Laws (Denkmalschutzgesetz). That Petition has been accepted and the bridge is being considered for a program to protect places of interest, thus providing funding for restoring and repurposing the bridge.

Having the concrete bed in the river, according to multiple choices may have violated these agreements and then some, for the Zwickau Mulde is protected by several natural preserve laws on both the state and federal levels. With the concrete bed in the water and despite the two pipes running underneath, it will have the potential to hinder the flow of fish flowing downstream, which could cause unrest from some of the local fisheries and fishing clubs along the river.  Despite the need for having the bed there for the eventual removal of the old bridge, having the bed there is too early and could possibly cause some violations that could result in some legal actions.  A gallery with pictures taken by the author will provide you with some Details.

Photo Gallery:

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To summarize, the old bridge is still standing and can be crossed despite being partially blocked off. Yet the concrete bed indicates that workers want to go ahead and demolish the bridge before Christmas. The new bridge is almost completed and will open between November and December. The fate of the old bridge falls in the hands of both Berlin and Dresden, yet as the bridge is the ownerhship of the federal government, Berlin will have a say, yet if and how the old bridge can be saved is still open. There are interested parties in owning the bridge but the group cannot push forward until the government has a say in the whole debacle. And even if the group gets the go ahead, the decision of who owns it has to be made before spring 2019. And even then, funding will be needed to rehabilitate and restore the bridge.

In other words, one has to happen after another in sequential order, yet some people are trying to make haste by putting the carriage before the horse- meaning tear the bridge down before the ownership transfership is approved and inspite of violations they make be committing.  This mentality is clearly American and has been the target of comments by the German far-right party AfD to compare modernization in Saxony at the cost of historic places of interest to the works of the Taliban in Afghanistan. This commentary, albeit very harsh, is not far from the truth, and should the old Bockau Arch Bridge come down too prematurely, it may serve as a basis for more voters to flock to the AfD and for the current government in Saxony to topple come the state elections in 2019. If the party uses the slogan “Remember the Rechenhausbrücke!” similar to the Alamo in Texas, the people in Saxony will understand why.

Membership to join the Friends of the Bockau Arch Bridge (Freunde der Rechenhausbrücke):

There are many ways to join the Friends of the Bockau Arch Bridge. To join and simply follow the page is as easy as clicking here and liking the page. But to really get involved and help out in saving and supporting the bridge financially and/or through other means, please contact Ulrike Kahl at this E-Mail address: ulrike.kahl@gruene-erzgebirge.de She can provide you with a membership application form and other information on how you can help. You can also contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles if you only speak English but still would like to join.

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 22

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U-BAHN Bridge over the River Danube.

A post shared by bridgehunters_chronicles2010 (@bridgehunters_chronicles17) on

I just visited Vienna recently with my family and was very impressed with the city, its clean living conditions, the people there, the architecture, the history and in particular, the bridges. Over 200 bridges can be found in the capital of Austria, some spanning smaller rivers and streams, others spanning railroads, and especially those that span the Danube River, the longest river in Europe which cuts through the metropolis of 2 million inhabitants. While a short guide on the bridges will come soon. Here’s a sneak preview of one of the spans ober the Danube. This cable-stayed suspension bridge was built in 1997 and carries the subway route 2, going alongside a railroad bridge located only 200 meters away. This was taken while on the boat tour along the Danube.

There will be more of these to come here, but you can check out the pics that were posted on the BHC’s Instagram page. Just click here and enjoy!

Have a good one, People! 🙂

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