2019 BHC Bridgehunter Awards- Final Results

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Harrisburg Covered Bridge in South Carolina: Winner of the Jet Lowe Awards   Photo taken by Darlene Hunter

 

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After revealing the author’s pics through the Author’s Choice Awards yesterday, here are the final results of the 2019 Bridgehunter Awards. I’m doing things a bit differently this year. The results will be posted including some highlights. Yet the details of this award and the Author’s Choice Awards will be posted as a podcast, to enable readers to get to the point in terms of results but also listen to the details. The podcast will appear in the next post.

Best Photo

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Highlights: 

Top Four photos taken by two photographers.

New records set in this category including highest number of votes in one category.

Not one candidate had less than 200 votes

 

Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge International

BHA 19 Best Kept Ind Int

Highlights:

Brunel Swivel and Rosenstein also share the Author’s Choice Award title for best Bridge Find.

Top Six finishers either from Germany or the UK.

Blow-out finish for the Swivel.

 

Tour Guide International

BHA 19 Tour Guide International

Highlights:

Title stays in Germany but going west for the first time

Big day for the Bridges of Edersee in this and the category Mystery Bridge (finishing second)

 

Lifetime Achievement

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Highlights:

Tight race especially in the top three

Winner, who has been the webmaster of Bridgehunter.com, will be interviewed later in the year. Congratulations to James Baughn on his 20 years experience.

 

Bridge of the Year

BHA 19 Bridge of the Year

Highlights:

Two Iowa Bridges finish in the top 2 outdoing the international competition. This despite their uncertain futures

Tight finish between the second and fifth place finishers.

 

Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge US/Canada:

BHA 19 Best Kept Ind US

Highlights:

Top two finishers are scheduled to be renovated.

Bronze medalist’s future unclear

Royal Springs Bridge oldest in Kentucky.

 

Bridge Tour Guide USA

BHA 19 Bridge Tour Guide USA

Highlights:

Winner has several restored historic truss bridges including the lone remaining Stearns through truss span (Gilmore Bridge)

Book on the Bridges along Route 66 to be presented plus interview later in the Chronicles

Madison County includes the freshly rebuilt Cedar Covered Bridge plus five other original covered bridges.

 

Mystery Bridge

BHA 19 Mystery

Highlights:

Top eight finishers received more than 100 votes each. 7th place finisher (Rosenstein) received 120 votes. 8th place finisher (Wichert Viaduct) received 100 votes.

Tight finish among the top six finishers.

Third and fourth place finishers are no longer extant- Buckatunna collapsed in January ’19; Dale Bend was destroyed in an accident on January 30th, ’19

 

Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge

BHA 19 Delony Awards

Highlights:

Third Award in a row in this category for the crew of Julie Bowers, Nels Raynor and crew at Workin Bridges and BACH Steel.

Longfellow and Winona Bridges Awarded Author’s Choice for their work.

Second place finisher is first bridge in the world made of cast iron. Delicate restoration needed.

Several lead changes in this category.

 

Last but not least, the following announcements:

This year’s Bridgehunter Awards will be its 10th, which coincides with the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ 10th anniversary. Therefore, entries are being taken now and until December 1st for the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards. They include two new categories which will be presented in detail in a later article. Details on how to enter is found here. 

The top four finishers in the category Best Bridge Photo will have their photos displayed on the Chronicles’ website and its facebook and twitter pages between the middle of January and the end of July this year. Details in the podcast.

The 2019 Bridgehunter Awards will include a tribute to a former bridge engineer from Pittsburgh, whose invention has made inspecting bridges and diagnosting deficiencies requiring repairs instead of replacement much more advanced. More on him after the podcast.

Congratulations to all the candidates on their bridge entries and voters like you for supporting them in the 2019 Awards. And a big honor to the top finishers in each category! You deserve it! 🙂

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 78

As we close out the year, which is also the last day of the second decade of the third millenium, we would like to take you back to 2014 and this bridge, theI-74 Bridge spanning the Mississippi River between Bettendorf and Moline in the Quad Cities. The twin spans that are literally identical, were built in 1935 and 1961, respectively and are still one of two twin suspension bridges of its kind that exist in the States. The other is the twin set at Wilmington, Delaware. Sadly, the twins are in their last year of their operational lives. To the east a new set of twins are being built, consisting of basket handle tied arches. The project, which includes rebuilding much of the I-74 corridor has been going on since 2017. Next year, the twin spans will be completed and all of I-74 traffic will be rerouted onto the new spans. The original spans will then be removed, and the bridge will be nothing more than a memory.  While you still can, you might want to pay homage to this bridge and get as many pics as you can. By 2022, it will be a memory.

More on the I-74 Bridge project can be found here:https://i74riverbridge.com/

 

And with that ends 2019 with a bang for the Chronicles, even though voting for this year’s Bridgehunter Awards is still ongoing and will conclude on January 10th with the winners to be announced on the 12th. If you still haven’t had the chance to vote, click here and do so. There are two ballots, each page representing a ballot. Your vote, however many bridges and times you cast, matters.  🙂

2020 will not only usher in a new decade- and hopefully one more promising than this one. It will mark the 10th anniversary of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and its sister column The Flensburg Files. Some events marking the celebration are in the making and will be presented during the year. The Bridgehunter Awards (originally known as the Ammann Awards) will enter its 10th year as well. Stay tuned and subscribe to follow up on the latest as we celebrate 10 years of success and many more to come.

We wish you and yours all the best as we say good-bye to the old (including the bhc logo) and ring in the new. Happy New Years!  Cheers!  🙂 ❤

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 76

While we’re talking Bridgehunter Awardsand Best Kept Secret, I would like to address this bridge as this week’s best pic. The Green Valley Bridge used to span Three-Mile Creek a mile north of Green Valley. It’s four miles north of Marshall, the county seat of Lyon County. It was a Warren pony truss bridge with riveted connections and vertical angles, having been built in 1931. While it is unknown who built the bridge, during my visit in 2010, I saw that there used to be a plaque on the end post, which had been removed years before. Henceforth it is most likely that if there was any information, it would be in the library at the State Historical Society or in the bridge archives at MnDOT (both in St. Paul).

Nevertheless, while going north to hunt bridges, the bridge was visible from MN Hwy. 23 and given the vast amounts of snow we got during the trip, the bridge was definitely worth the stop. While the area is flat enough that one can see the horizon as far as the eye can see, this bridge exemplified a typical wintry rural setting: a horizon full of trees lining along the river, telephone poles and drifts of snow. It had a serene setting where as long as the structure was left alone, it can serve its purpose.

Unfortunately, with an expanding cityscape like Marshall, combined with age, it was never meant to be left as is. It was removed in 2017 and replaced with a concrete slab bridge, serving as a reminder of progress at the expense of nature and enjoyment. Going past there in the winter time nowadays, if one stops for a visit, there’s no doubt that the photographer would be disgusted at the bland structure that has taken its place. If this is making America Great Again, then maybe they should reread the history books on how America became great to begin with.

My two sents on this pic and opinion.

 

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2019 Bridgehunter Awards Voting Ballot Part 2

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<=  Part One

After voting in the first part of the ballot, here is the second part and the same procedure as in the first. Information on the Lifetime Achievement Candidates you will find at the end of the ballot, including links.  The deadline to vote is 11:59pm your local time on 10th January, 2020. The winners will be announced two days later. Good luck with the voting! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information on the Lifetime Achievement Candidates:

Satolli Glassmeyer: An interview with him and how he created History in Your Own Backyard can be found here: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2019/12/04/finding-history-in-your-backyard-an-interview-with-satolli-glassmeyer/ 

Workin Bridges:  In business since 2009, Workin Bridges has been the leader in restoring historic bridges in the United States, both big and small. Consisting of a crew of bridge restoration experts, the company has garnered up lots of awards for bridge restoration, plus documentaries on a couple key historic bridges. Link: https://www.workinbridges.org/

Dan McCain: Chairman of the Wabash Canal Trails Association in Indiana, Mr. McCain spearheaded efforts to relocate several historic truss bridges to the Delphi area to be erected along the canal as bike and pedestrian crossings. This includes the Gilmore Bridge, the last of the Stearns through truss bridge in the country. Link: http://www.huntingtoncountytab.com/community/52080/mccain-discuss-wabash-and-erie-canal-march-20-history-museum

James Schiffer: Founder of Schiffer Group, based in Michigan, Mr. Schiffer brings over 30 years of experience in the world of civil engineering and has worked with several preservation groups in restoring some historic bridges; among them the Paper Mill Bridge, now in Delaware. Link:http://www.schiffergroup.com/

John Marvig: Mr. Marvig brings over a decade of experience in historic railroad bridges in the upper half of the United States. You can find them on his website: http://johnmarvigbridges.org/

Friends of Brunel’s Swivel Bridge in Bristol, England: This bridge celebrated its 170th birthday this year and the group has been working to restore and reactivate I.K. Brunel’s bridge over the canal and River Avon for almost a decade. This features bridge (preservation) experts, historians, welders, city officials and the like- both past and present. Link: https://www.brunelsotherbridge.org.uk/

James Baughn of bridgehunter.com: For almost two decades, Mr. Baughn has run Bridgehunter.com, a database containing millions of historic bridges in the United States and Puerto Rico, both past and present. It still is active in collecting and storing information for people to use. Link: http://bridgehunter.com/

Organization to Save the Chemnitz Viaduct: Since the announcement to tear down the railroad viaduct in the third largest city in Saxony in 2002, this organization worked tirelessly to convince the German Railways to change its mind and counter it with restoring the bridge instead. This turned out to be successful this year:https://viadukt-chemnitz.de/and https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/chemnitz-viaduct-spared-demolition/

 

Author’s Note: Should you have problems accessing the links in the different categories, highlight and copy (Ctrl. + C) the link you want to open, then paste (Ctrl. + V)  it onto the bar of a new window. In case of further problems with the ballot, feel free to contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles, using the contact form here. 

 

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HB in Polk County, Arkansas For Sale: Any Takers?

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MENA, ARKANSAS- Polk County, Arkansas has a historic bridge for sale. Built in 1915, the structure has a riveted steel Pratt pony truss design, with timber stringers and a  wooden deck. The parameters of the bridge is 72 feet long and 11.67 feet wide between the trusses. It has been closed for several years, but the structure can be found on Polk County Road 50 near Old Sale Barn in Potter.  Takers of the bridge must take it as is, and it must be removed and transported by licensed contractor with commercial general liability insurance. This is part of the plan to remove the truss bridge and replace it with a new structure. How the truss bridge is repurposed is dependent on the new owner.


Sealed bids will be accepted prior to the auction at 9AM on November 25, 2019 in the basement of the Polk County Courthouse. The courthouse is located at 507 Church AVE, Mena, AR 71953. Bids should be delivered in a sealed envelope and clearly marked “Polk County Road 50 bridge”. The bidder with the acceptable amount will retain responsibilities for the truss bridge, including relocation, restoration and repurposing. Funding may be available to offset the costs.  Inquiries should be made to Polk County Judge, Brandon Ellison at 479-394-8133.

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 118: Wichert Truss Viaduct Serving Industrial Trains

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This Mystery Bridge is in connection with last week’s photo of the week. It is a unique find and one that will come up fast when approaching the city of Mittweida, located 15 kilometers north-northeast of Chemnitz. The city of 15,000 inhabitants is home to the college of applied sciences and has a unique historic setting, which straddles the valley of the River Zschopau and its tributaries.

This bridge is located at the junction of Burgstädter Strasse and Stadtring, which heads north towards the college. It’s a three span railroad viaduct that features a combination Pratt and Wichert Truss designs supported on steel, A-shaped piers. The total length is approximately 100 meters. The Wichert truss was designed by E.M. Wichert in Pittsburgh in 1930 and is characterized by its deck arch design with a diamond-shaped panel above each pier. The curved lower chord gives the bridge the form of an arch, but it does not rely on arch action to carry the load, according to sources. Wichert trusses were experimented with numerous deck-truss-arch bridges in and around Pittsburgh, and many of them still exist today. The most common Wichert truss bridge is the Homestead Grays Bridge near Pittsburgh. The 3,100-foot long bridge was built in 1936 and was last rehabilitated in 2006. Other Wichert truss spans can be found in Maryland and West Virginia.

Yet the viaduct in Mittweida had the characteristics of the Wichert truss design in it, which leads to the question of how Wichert developed and patented the truss design. Was it based on his observations of the previous designs, directly or indirectly? There is little known information written about Wichert, except the fact that his family name is predominantly German, meaning he may have emigrated from Germany to the US during one point in his life to start his career in Civil Engineering, just like the bridge builders before him, such as Albert Fink, Gustav Lindenthal, John Roebling, and Fritz Leonhardt. Finding out more about Wichert would open the doors to find out about his life and career. It would also help answer the question of the origin of his patented truss span.

As far as the bridge itself is concerned, the structure was built between 1906 and 1907 as part of the project to build a railroad line connecting Mittweida and Dreiwerden, located 12 km to the southeast. The line was built to allow trains to carry goods to the paper factory in Dreiwerden. The northern branch connecting Mittweida and Ringenthal was built at the same time to transport raw materials to the power plant. That line was dismantled after 1974. As for the southern branch where this viaduct is located, train service continued until its abandonment in 1997. The line has since been partially dismantled, but the bridge still stands today. It is unknown who built the bridge during that time, but the line was built under the auspisces of the Saxony Railroad Company (Sächsische Eisenbahngesellschaft GmbH) and financed by the Kingdom of Saxony during that time.

To summarize the points on this mystery bridge:

  1. The bridge was built between 1906 and 1907, serving the Mittweida-Dreiwerden southern branch, connecting the main train station with the paper factory.
  2. The bridge features one of the earliest of the Wichert truss designs even though it was patented in 1930.
  3. Little is known about E.M. Wichert, the inventor of the truss design, except that he may have been one of the German-immigrants that started his career in the States as a bridge builder and engineer.

Now it’s your turn to provide some information about this bridge and the inventor of the Wichert truss. If you have some useful information for either the bridge or the engineer, feel free to contact the Chronicles, using the channels available. The information will be updated as it comes in. A biography of E.M. Wichert will be included in the Chronicles under the category Bridge Builders Directory. Wishing you happy hunting and many thanks for your help.

Till we meet again. 🙂

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 53

This week’s Pic of the Week takes us back to 2011 and the state of Iowa. This time to Spencer, where one of two Pennsylvania through trusses still exist. The Dump Road Bridge (also known as Old Rusty) spans the Little Sioux River at 18th Avenue west of the city. Built by the Clinton Bridge and Iron Works Company in 1901, Old Rusty was brought here in 1915 after having served Main Street crossing the same river along with another through truss span for 14 years. That crossing was replaced with a multiple-span arch bridge which was replaced by the current structure in 2008. Old Rusty still serves traffic but as a light-weight three ton crossing. Fitting to its location as very few cars cross the bridge. However, due to its age, one has to start considering its prospects as a bike/pedestrian crossing in the long-run.