The Viaduct and the Horse’s Tomb

Stuart Wilding / Jacobite Express. WikiCommons 2.0

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The title of this article may raise an eyebrow as it looks at a viaduct and the tomb of a horse. How do these two go together? I ran accross this documentary recently which explains why. It involves the Loch nan Uamh Viaduct, a railway viaduct located in the western Highlands region, in northern Scotland on the opposite end of the nearest city of Aberdeen, near the Prince’s Cairn. Construction started in 1897 and was completed four years later. Robert McAlpine and Sons were responsible for the design and construction of the bridge, which has eight 50-foot spans, a center pier equally divides the number. The construction did not go without a tragedy, for as you can see in the documentary below, a horse fell through one of the cassions that was being filled with concrete, hence the term bridge with a horse’s tomb. How this happened and what it took to confirm the legend are explained here:

The bridge continues to serve rail traffic to this day, but primarily for tourism. The region where the bridge is located has a lot of possibilities for hiking. Whenever you get the chance to visit the region, check this bridge out. The bridge has a unique history and with that, the story of how the horse was buried in the bridge, a tragedy that truely is considered a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Bridge Documentary: 700 Feet Down

Galloping Gertie Collapsing on November 7, 1940. Source: bridgehunter.com

On November 7th, 1940, a suspension bridge spanning the Narrows in Tacoma, Washington, collapsed into the water. The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge had opened to traffic four months earlier and right away, it was nicknamed Galloping Gertie because of the roadway easily swaying by the high winds. It would not be until 1950 when the second Tacoma Narrows crossing was built connecting the island with the city. While the first crossing was later dismantled, much of the bridge remains were left in the water, only to be left alone……

….until now.

A crew of divers took a trip to the Tacoma Narrows to see what was left of Galloping Gertie, now part of the natural habitat, and producers at Vester Media and Our World Films have released a documentary, looking at the suspension bridge then and right now.

700 Feet Down was released on July 27th, 2021 and can be available via online TV channels such as Amazon Prime or AppleTV. Its primary focus goes beyond the mistakes made by building a bridge laden with structural flaws; it looks at the bridge remains that have become part of a larger natural habitat and addresses environmental themes that surround the area. The 45-minute documentary looks at the bridge in the past, the tragedy, and why much of the bridge remained in the water. It features some of the forms of flora and fauna that have made the remains of Gertie home for many years. While Gertie is talked about a lot in physics and engineering classes, this documentary features another side of Gertie that should be discussed in environmental studies class, as some of the effects of global warming and overfishing/ hunting have already left its effects in the area. The documentary brings together all the elements that will have viewers talking about it, and hopefully take action.

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There are links to the film for you to look at. They include the following:

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General website: http://carlyvester.com/700-feet-down

Interview with the Divers: https://www.pbs.org/video/700-feet-down-knhghr/

BHC article on Galloping Gertie, can be found by clicking here.

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Endangered TRUSS: New Bridge in Salem County, New Jersey

Photo taken by Jodi Christman

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Our next Endangered Truss article takes us to Salem County, New Jersey and to the New Bridge. Spanning Alloway Creek between Elsinboro and Quinton on the former County Road 623, this unique through truss bridge used to function as a swing bridge until the 1960s before it became a fixed crossing. The bridge is one of only three structures left that were built by the New Jersey Bridge Company and is considered elgible for the National Register. Yet the bridge has been closed to all traffic for three decades. Even though it is still accessible by foot, the bridge is being taken over by the remnants of time, for vegetation is covering the trusses and the bridge has become a focus for graffiti. Still, it has a potential for being a recreational crossing, if repairs are made to prolong its life.

Journalists from New Jersey.com, the state’s largest newspaper, have done a documentary on the state of the bridge, providing both video coverage of the bridge (inside and out) as well as an essay. While one could reinvent the wheel with their quotes, it’s simply appropriate to simply provide you with the video below as well as the link to the article, which you can click here to read.  Structural facts about the bridge can be found here, which includes a link to the HABS/HAER structural report on the bridge.

So sit back and enjoy the video on The Old and Abandoned: The Story of the New Bridge.  

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No Comment Nr. 5

Photo by Ray Bilcliff on Pexels.com

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This No Comment post takes us to Holy Island, Lindisfarne in England. Here in the video you can watch below, an Uber driver tried to cross a flooded causeway in an attempt to take his passenger to the mainland. As you can see later on, the driver was not paying attention to the high tide and was due for a surprise, when he learned he could not make it:

As a general rule, tides occur twice a day and the moment the lowest level is reached, one should return to shore post haste because of the quickest amount of time it takes for the water levels to return. If stranded in a high tide, one should get to the highest point and call for help.

This makes the author wonder whether and how long it took before the driver eventually got sacked…….

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Source: The Daily Mail and Viral Inc.

HYB: Orient Bridge in Pickaway County, Ohio

One bridge that a person should visit while bridgehunting is this structure: The Orient Bridge. Located south of Harrisburg, this unique truss structure can be seen easily from Darby Creek Road where County Road 26 and Ohio State Highway 726 meet. The 225-foot long bridge features a Whipple through truss span with one of the most ornamental features of a portal bracing one will see while looking for bridges in Ohio. The portal bracing features from the top down, trapezoidal beam with four-leaf pedestals carved out, followed by a one-rhombus Lattice with ornaments at the Xes, and lastly a Town Lattice with heels. Builders plaque is on the top tier as well as finials that look like an ornamental bowl set with covers. Built in 1885 by the Cleveland Bridge and Iron Company, the Orient Bridge represents the most ornamental example of a bridge built by this bridge building company. Ironically, another bridge built by the same company, can be found in Paoli, Indiana. There, a female truck driver tried driving across the truss bridge causing it to collapse. Fortunately, the bridge has been restored to its original glory.

Here are some more bridge facts you will find in a video recently produced by History in Your Own Backyard.

Some other stories and facts you can find through bridgehunter.com and historicbridges.org. Just click on the highlighted words and you will be directed to the respective sites. Enjoy the info and hope you will take a chance to visit the bridge on your next road trip. 🙂

Happy Bridgehunting, folks! 🙂

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Photo courtesy of Satolli Glassmeyer.

PKP PLK, which is the owner of the bridge, has not yet signed a contract for photos on the bridge At the end of 2019, a film crew inspected the bridge. The meeting was attended, among others, by representatives of the Polish Army Film producer Robert Golba does not say directly that the bridge, which […]

via Shooting for “Mission: Impossible” in Poland? Filmmakers interested in the Pilchowicki Bridge — Archyde

Photo of the Bridge:

Photo taken by Paweł Kuźniar (Jojo_1, Jojo) / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

BHC FORUM

Should this bridge be used for the Mission Impossible film at all? If so, how? Feel free to comment below but not before reading the article……

Wartime Bridge Story: Lange Brücke in Forst (Lausitz)

Source: A. Savin vis wikiCommons. Photo taken in 2016

Wartime Bridge Series

Film clip

Our next Wartime Bridge takes us a bit further south in the German state of Brandenburg but this time, we continue along the Neisse River until we reach the city of Forst. With a population of 18,000 inhabitants, the city is located east of Cottbus. Prior to the Fall of the Wall, Forst was well known for its textile industry, for a large factory was located there. Yet since its closure, the city has been on the decline, falling from 31,000 inhabitants in 1945 to under 20,000 by 2011. Despite its steady decline, the city is dependent on tourism as there are several historic artefacts one can see either by bike or by car, including the historic water tower, the factory, the church and historic city center…..

…..and its bridges that span the River Neisse.

There are four bridges that connect Forst with its neighbor to the east, Zaseki on the Polish side. The village of 250 inhabitants used to be a suburb of Forst when Germany had its state of Schlesia. In fact the town was modernized beginning in 1897 to accommodate more people as many of them found jobs in the textile factory and other industrial sites nearby. Three bridges connected Forst with its former neighbor prior to 1945. Today only one of them, a six-span truss span is still in use, providing rail service to Lodz from Cottbus.

And this is where we look at the other two bridge ruins- one that used to serve vehicular traffic and one that used to serve pedestrian traffic. The pedestrian crossing had been in use from the 1920s until the end of World War II and  featured multiple spans of concrete, using Luten arches.  The other one is known as the Lange Brücke.

The Lange Brücke was a six-span concrete arch bridge with closed spandrels. The structure was built in 1921 and had a total length of 170 meters. The width was about 14 meters. It was an ornamental structure where it was decorated with fancy light posts and rail posts at the entrance to as well as on the bridge. The bridge was a predecessor to a wooden crossing, which featured multiple spans of kingpost pony trusses. It had been built in 1863, had a total length of 101 meters and was only 5.75 meters wide. In 1889, it was widened by another 3 meters. Still, because of the increase in traffic due to the expansion of Forst, the city council agreed to build a new span, which took two years to complete.

Neither of the bridges survived as well as much of the city of Forst in 1945. In the middle of February of that year, the Soviet troops had lined up on the Polish side of the River Neisse at the entry to the Lange Brücke. While it is unknown whether the Nazis had blown the structure up prior to that, it was known that Forst became under seige with bombs and bullets devastating much of the city. Half the population had perished by the time the town surrendered on 18 April, 1945; 85% of the city was in ruins.

A video showing the ruins of the Lange Brücke can be seen here. The river span was the only one imploded, while the outer spans have remained in tact. Interestingly enough, many of the ornamental relicts belonging to the bridge are still standing today.

 

 

At the present time, talks are underway to rebuild the Lange Brücke and its pedestrian counterpart in an attempt to reconnect Forst with Zasieki. The city council had originally planned to add at least two bridges to the Neisse before 2020. At present the Northern Bypass Bridge, which carries Highway 157 is the only vehicular crossing that connects Forst with Poland. The concrete structure was built only a few years ago. The railroad bridge to the south of Forst is the other crossing. It’s a contrast to the situation in Eisenhüttenstadt (see article), but there’s a ways to go. Because of the interest in a central connection via Lange Brücke, it is very likely that a new span will be built sometime in the near future, whether it is reconstructing the Lange Brücke to its original glory or building on on a new alignment and leaving the old one as a monument. The question is with not only the planning but also the finances, especially during these difficult times with the Corona Virus. But nevertheless, a new bridge will happen because of the will of the people to make it happen.

 

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As a treat, I have this video showing the ariel view of three of the four crossings connecting Forst and Zasieki. Check out the gorgeous views of the bridges from up above and up close.

 

Sources:

History of Forst: https://edoc.hu-berlin.de/bitstream/handle/18452/7622/knpv.PDF

History of the Bridge: https://www.lr-online.de/lausitz/forst/die-alte-_lange-bruecke_-36431060.html

 

BHC 10 years

This 8 April 2018 video says about itself: Arnhem: A Bridge Too Far (WWII Documentary) In December, 1944, 400 men of the 1rst British Airborne Division paraded at Buckingham Palace to receive their grateful thanks from their king and countrymen. Although they paraded as heroes, victors they were not. They were some of the survivors […]

via Battle of Arnhem veterans stopped from commemorating — Dear Kitty. Some blog

Film clip

The Battle of Arnhem includes a film documentary which is part II, plus a detailed story behind it, which you can click on the text to read. Enjoy!

BHC 10 years FlFi10

The Bridges of Connersville, Indiana

Willowbrook Country Club Bridge. Photo taken by Ed Hollowell in 2018

bhc tour guide

Film clip

Located on the Whitewater River in southeastern Indiana, Connersville, with a population of 13,200 inhabitants, may be considered a county seat of Fayette County and a typical community located deep in the plains of Indiana. The town was founded by and named after John Conner in 1813 and much of the historic downtown remains in tact to this day.

Yet little do many realize is Connersville was once home to one of the longest covered bridges in the state, a Burr Arch Covered Bridge that had once spanned the Whitewater. It has a restored covered bridge at Roberts Park and an aqueduct that had once provided water to the community.

Lastly, it had been served by a passenger railroad company, the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Traction Company (ICT), whose existence lasted for only three decades due to financial issues, but whose bridges still exist in and around Connersville.

This tour guide shows you which bridges you can see while visiting Connersville. It features a film from HYB on the bridges by ICT which includes the railroad’s history.  It also includes a tour guide of the other bridges, courtesy of bridgehunter.com.

So sit back and enjoy this film clip. 🙂

 

You can click onto the link which will take you to the bridges of Connersville below:

http://bridgehunter.com/category/city/connersville-indiana/

Information on the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Traction Line bridges are here and the company itself here.

 

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How Bridges were Constructed

Film clip

Have you ever wondered how bridges were built over a century ago? What types of tools and manpower were used to complete the crossing? And most of all, how workers took pride in their completed artwork spanning a major river?

While we’ve advanced much further in our technologies in making fancier bridges, many of the civil engineers and bridge lovers have probably come across a film clip similar to this one above.  It’s basically a clip featuring workers putting together a major crossing made of steel. It’s a silent film that was produced over a century ago and the construction of the bridge resembled a boy putting a building together- first with an Erector set when it was introduced at the beginning of the 20th Century, then later with other construction sets which require the use of steel parts, nuts and bolts  and the like, just to produce a prized work. Every engineering and bridge building great started off small with an Erector set.

Nowadays, we put our bridges together with Lego blocks, and even though the artwork looks nice, it takes away much of the fun it would be needed just to screw something together. With Legoes come the change in technological ways of building a bridge. The question is how.

Take a look at this video and ask yourselves the following questions:

  1. How were bridges built together then in comparison with today?
  2. What technologies existed between then and now?
  3. How much time do you think it took to build a bridge like in the clip? How is that in today’s world?
  4. Do you think modern bridges or “oldtimer” bridges are easier to build? What about safer?
  5. If there was an opportunity to bring back old technological tactics that worked for bridge building, what would it be and why?
  6. What lessons could we learn in bridge building from this clip?

 

And lastly, where was this bridge located? 🙂

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