Wilischthal Viaduct Renovated and In Service

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ZSCHOPAU (SAXONY), GERMANY-  Four kilometers to the south of Zschopau in the village of Wilischthal, deep in the valley of the river that bears the same name as the city of 9,600 is a piece of artwork that most recently got a much-needed facelift. The Wilischthal Viaduct was built in 1901 and features a series of different arch types. The main span is an open-spandrel arch bridge which stretches 31 meters across the River Zschopau.  The three approach spans, each of which are over 10 meters, spans a rail line connecting Annaberg-Buchholz with Riesa and Chemnitz on the east side next to the main highway, S228, a state highway. The entire bridge was built using natural stone, taking well over a year to build. It was open in 1901.  For 10 years, the bridge had been open for only one lane of traffic. Now the bridge has been reopened to traffic and two cars can meet from each direction. Furthermore, pedestrians can cross it without any hindrance.  According to news story from the Chemnitz Free Press, bridge was rehabilitated at the cost of 1.3 million Euros ($2.1 million) and included replacing the decking with a wider one (the original deck width was 6 meters; the new one is now three meters wider) and installing beautiful blue railings. Furthermore, the arches were strengthened to accomodate heavier loads. All of the renovation work lasted two years and it included partial and full closures, thus making access to nearby villages  Gelenau and Scharfenstein difficult.

Nevertheless, the renovation was worth it during my visit at the bridge. There will be more photos of the bridge to come as the tour guide on the bridges in Zschopau is being made, but the whole bridge itself looks just like new.

And for a 117-year old bridge, this IS telling. 🙂

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The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge: Film and Documentary

港珠澳(近澳门)
Source: By N509FZ [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia CommonsBy N509FZ [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
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HONG KONG/ MACAU/ ZHUHAI (CHINA)- The idea took 35 years to bear fruit. It took nine years to build. And the idea came from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel. Now the 55 kilometer bridge is open, connecting Hong Kong  on one end and Zhuhai (China) and Macau on the other.  The HMZ Bridge was dedicated to traffic today, with over 700 officials attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony that would allow traffic to cross the bridge for the first time ever.  Consisting of three different cable-stayed suspension bridges, over 29 kilometers of main bridge spans and 6.7 kilometers of undersea tunnel, plus the remaining kilometers for approach spans, this bridge provides direct access to Hong Kong’s International Airport, the city itself and Lantau Island from Mainland China, built at a cost of over 20 billion Euros (or $30 billion).  Instead of three hours, travelers can expect to reach their destination in about 30 minutes. A feat that will surely stand for all time to come.  🙂

To better understand the importance of the bridge and what it looks like, a pair of documentaries are available for you to view.  One of which is an ariel view of the bridge. Another is a 20-minute documentary by a Chinese TV network which takes you across the bridge and provides you with some interesting facts about the bridge.

Before going further, let’s have a look at the longest piece of architectural landmark in mankind history 🙂 :

 

 

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White River Bridge at Forsyth Downed By Explosives

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Photo taken by James Baughn

FORSYTH, MISSOURI-   It was one of the most majestic historic bridges in the Bull Shoals Lake area; one of the longest along the White River; one of the favorites for the town of Forsyth, in Taney County, Missouri. Now the old historic Forsyth Bridge, a five-span, riveted Parker through truss bridge, with West Virginia-style Portal bracings, which had graced the lake for 65 years is no more. It took not more than three seconds to bring the entire bridge down on 16 October, 2018 with hundreds of locals standing by to bid the structure farewell. Several films showed the Implosion from multiple angles, two of which can be seen here:

 

Videos:

 

The Forsyth Bridge was built by the Maxwell Bridge Company in 1953, two years after the lake and dam were completed, which was designed to Control the flow of the White River and foster recreation and tourism. This bridge, together with the Theodosia Bridge in Ozark County, are the only two bridges that were built by this company. Because of its lake size, both bridges can be found in the Long Shoals Lake area, along with a few more structures, as will be seen in a tour guide coming soon. Prior to the replacement bridge being built alongside the truss bridge complex, the bridge was rated as structurally fair, meaning the bridge would have fit the requirements for being left into place. Despite being determined not eligible for listing by the National Register of Historic Places, the Forsyth Bridge was offered to the City by Missouri Department of Transportation to be used as a pedestrian crossing. The Mayor however declined MoDOT’s offer for liability reasons, which signaled the green light for demolition- the action which still has left a bitter taste in the mouths of locals, historians and preservationists who had been involved in the efforts to save the bridge, but unfortunately were left empty handed.

The demolition of the Forsysth Bridge leads to the question of the future of the other bridges in the area, for although the lake area is protected by federal law in many parts, the dismantling of regulations through the Trump Administration may lead to the opening of the area for land development, which could mean more traffic and the more likely chance of more modern bridges needed in the area. But before that was to take place, the president may need to brace himself for the “blue wave” which could take hold in November as the Democrats are poised to take Washington back from the Republicans. Should that happen, then areas like this will be left as is, and with that, the historic bridges in the area because of the rollbacks of regulations that had existed before 2017. But we will see if it happens and what it would mean to the Long Shoals Lake area.

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Flooding Washes Out 1960s Era Viaduct in Texas

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Lake LBJ/Llano River Crossing connecting Kingsland Washed Out by Flash Floods. No Casualties Reported.

Sometimes communities have one key crossing that is considered an icon to some but to the most, the lifeline that connects families and brings families together. The Kingsland Crossing is that key icon that keeps the community of Kingsland in central Texas together. Built in 1969 to replace a multiple-span Parker through truss Bridge, this 1200-foot Long, multiple-span concrete stringer bridge carries Texas Highway 2900 and connects the community to the North and the areas to the south, including Sunrise Beach Village. The river it spans is actually a lake that was created in 1950 under the name Granite Lake Shoals, where the Llamo and Colorado Rivers meet. Yet the lake was renamed after Lyndon B. Johnson, the US President who succeeded John F. Kennedy after he was assassinated on 22 November, 1963.

Sadly as of 16 October, 2018, the Kingsland Crossing is no more. Floodwaters that afternoon washed out 80% of the entire bridge after it had flowed over the roadways. No one was on the Bridge at that time as it had been closed off. Water levels in the region rose to over 13 feet above flood stage, thus forcing the evacuations of hundreds along the area. One person has been reported dead as of this post. A pair of videos shows the bridge as it was being carried away by the floodwaters as well as drone footage of the bridge remnants after flood levels had receded:

There is no word yet as to how much damage the flooding has inflicted in the area nor how people will be able to access the area temporarily until a new span is built. This Bridge should not be mistaken for another Kingsland Bridge that exists, which is The Slab. Built during the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the low-water crossing spans the Llamo River over granite cliffs, etc. at Highway 3404 and is a popular attraction for sunbathers, swimmers and hikers. Even though the Slab is flooded on various occasions, it is unknown whether it survived this flood. More news will come as the river levels go down and people survey the damage and casualties.

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Kingsland has a population of 4,600 inhabitants and is located 65 miles northwest of Austin, the state capital of Texas. The nearest City is Llano., which is 20 miles to the southeast. Kingsland is famous for the Grand Central Cafe Restaurant and Club Car Bar, the site where the Horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre was produced in the 1980s. The Slab can be see in this clip below:

 

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Overloaded Bus Crosses Historic Bridge in Arkansas

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Photo taken by James Baughn

Tourist Bus Twice its Size Crosses Suspension Bridge, causing it to sag

EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS (USA)- The Beaver Bridge, built in 1949 and spanning the White River at Table Rock Reservoir in Caroll County, is considered the little Golden Gate Bridge in the eyes of many locals. The bridge is a textbook style suspension; yellow in color, tower, cables and roadway, all 554 feet of it, making the place a tourist attraction.

Yet the bridge almost because a memory and a theater stage for a tragedy caused by stupidity recently. Two tourist busses crossed the bridge as recently as Saturday and in a video produced by Barb Hartman Maher, the second bus trying to cross the structure caused the decking of the suspension bridge to sag by up to three feet. Onlookers tried honking the horn at the bus driver, yet to no avail. One driver even had to turn around after watching the action, fearing that the bus had caused anough damage to keep him off the bridge.

The video of the bus crossing the bridge can be found here:

 

While the bus made it, it is unknown how many passengers were in the bus at that time. The suspension bridge has a weight limit of 10 tons yet the weight of the bus was at least three times as much as what the bridge allowed for weight.

After posting this facebook post, as many as 590,000 people viewed the post with the majority of those who commented on this having been completely angry and demanded that the bus driver take accountability for his actions. As of right now, there has been no information as to what the bus looked like, let alone the license plate number on there. Since the bridge has a weight limit and the driver went well over the limit, it is obvious that the driver had broken theb law and at the same time, put the lives of the passengers at risk. Had the suspension bridge failed, chances are very likely that many people would have lost their lives.

Therefore, we need your help. Any information that could lead to the arrest of the bus driver responsible for violating regulations involving the weight restrictions, reckless driving and negligence of passengers should be forwarded to the local law enforcement authorities as soon as possible. We the people have the right to put a person under arrest for his crimes. Seeing this is definitely a crime that must not slide under any circumstances.

It is unknown if and what kind of repairs may be needed on the bridge, but as a person crossing the bridge, it would be best to find a detour until the bridge is checked over. Thank you for your help in this matter.

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2018 Othmar H. Ammann Awards: Now Accepting Entries

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Scherberg Bridge at dusk and in black and white

A post shared by bridgehunters_chronicles2010 (@bridgehunters_chronicles17) on

2018 has presented itself with many surprises in all aspects. In particular with bridgehunting and bridge photography, where readers, followers and enthusiasts have been awed by many historic bridges abandoned for many years until discovered most recently, communities where historic bridges that are little mentioned are getting recognition, and historic bridges that are the spotlight for photographers and preservationists who worked successfully to breathe new life into them.

And with that, the 2018 Othmar H. Ammann is now open to business. Between now and December 3rd, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is now accepting entries of (historic) bridges and people who have worked to save them for reuse. Named after the Swiss bridge engineer who left his mark in bridge building in New York and the surrounding area, the Award is given out, both on the national and international levels in te following categories:

Best Bridge Photo

Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge

Lifetime Achievement (including post mortem)

Tour Guide- Communities, Counties, Districts with a high number of historic and fancy modern bridges

Best Kept Secret- Individual Bridge

Mystery Bridge and

Bridge of the Year.

More details can be found here. You can also find the results of the previous winners of the awards so that you have an idea which bridges, photos, etc. deserve to be entered.

Do you have a bridge, set of bridges, bridge photo(s) or even person(s) who has devoted time and effort to historic bridges that deserve recognition on the national and international levels? Send them here via form or e-mail:

E-mail: flensburg.bridgehunter.av@googlemail.com.

You have until December 3rd to submit your entries. For bridge photos, please submit them using JPEG and keep it under 1MB, if possible. If you have any questions, please contact Jason Smith using the abovementioned form or e-mail address. Voting will proceed afterwards, ending on 8th January, 2019, with the winners being announced on the 12th.  We will use the same scheme as before with polldaddy yet we may experiment with other options when we vote.  More will come when the entries end and the voting begins.  The contest is open globally. Anyone can enter. 🙂  If you have a bridge worth mentioning or a photo worth showing, let’s see it! 🙂

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The Rehab of the Hirschgrundbrücke in Glauchau: A Wine Glass Half-full or Half-Empty?

GLAUCHAU (SAXONY), GERMANY- The construction projects in and around the Castle Complex in Glauchau, which has been in motion since April (as a whole), is like eating in an exclusive restaurant: No matter what the menu offers, including drinks, there’s a lot to eat and a lot to discuss at the table.   The main course, which features lamb chops, is the front yard that leads to the gates of the castle. This is the meat of the project which one will find to the south of the city center, just a three minute walk from Market Square. This was once filled with lucious trees and bushes but also home to the ice skating rink that had occupied the area; it is being torn up in favor of a multi-complex featuring picnic areas, a pavilion and bike racks. This despite opposition from those who preferred to keep the area all green and in its natural form. A comment by one of the opponents, an architect, during a conversation on facebook recently, says it all.

Then we have the natural bridge, crossing the deep ravine connecting the castle’s south side and its adjacent park, sitting idle for many years, closed to all because of safety reasons and now blocked off to the castle park. This stone arch crossing is no more except for the pylons and the outer arches!

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The Hirschgrundbrücke has been the “vegetarian” main dish for dinner and conversation for many years for many reasons: 1. How to renovate the bridge after sitting idle for 40 years, 2. What is the real name of the bridge: Hirschgrund or Hirschgraben, and now this: Is this bridge a complete renovation/ rehabilitation or a complete tear-down and rebuild?

There are many ways of describing how the bridge is being put under the knife. Yet to better understand how this project is being carried out, I had a chance to talk to the city engineer who showed me the plans of rebuilding the structure during my frequent visits to the City Administration Building. He was also the engineer in charge of overseeing the design and construction of The Wave near Wernsdorf in 2017.  During my interview in March, he mentioned that the bridge was going to be stripped down to the bare bones, leaving the outer arches and the stem of the pylon that used to hold the center arches. The plan to leave them in place was based on an agreement with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage of Saxony (Dt.: Denkmalschutz) in order to keep the bridge listed in the Cultural Heritage Book (Denkmalschutzbuch), similar to what Americans have with the National Register of Historic Places. The old materials would (for the most part) be discarded, while some will be reused together with new materials made of sandstone and other rock-based materials to rebuild the structure to make it resemble its original form, when it was built in the 1700s. The project was announced in the Free Press in April and it is expected to be completed by November 2019.

During my most recent visit in Glauchau, I decided to have a look at the progress of the bridge and found some observations worth noting:

Film and commentary on this bridge:

This was filmed from the castle side with my newly-acquired Motorola moto 6 out of Pittsburgh. Incredible phone/camera and Glauchau was an incredible place for “target practice.” 😉

My observations of this project is best compared to a glass of wine that is half-full; half-empty. One can technically consider this project a total rehabilitation, where the bridge is stripped down to its arches, the original materials reused for the rebuilding process. This has been done on thousands of bridges of this kind throughout Germany, including the bridges in Erfurt, Dresden, Magdeburg, and Berlin, just to name some examples. It is similar to the coined-term “in-kind” restoration but with arch bridges, not truss structures.  However one could call this a total replacement because 90% of the original structure is completely gone; the materials used for the structure recycled and being replaced with similar materials that are used for other arch bridges. From an American modernist’s point of view, when a superstructure is replaced but the approach spans or even the original piers remain, it is a complete replacement, regardless of how you look at it.  Leaving the outer arches and the pylon stems in place kept the bridge from being completely destroyed and replaced, something that had been considered given its condition of being on the verge of collapsing, as you can see in Glauchau’s bridge tour guide.

So to sum up, this rehabilitation  project is one that is considered a wine glass that is half-full and half- empty. It is half-full because some of the important historic elements are being left in place, to be used as a foundation for the new materials that will come on top of it to retain its historic appeal. It is however half-empty because much of the original materials are not being used for the rebuild. Nonetheless, the bridge will retain its historic status in the books, yet my question I have, which will be answered through photos and commentary  during the course of this project, will be whether the bridge- the vegetarian main dish- will be the same as before? Or if it will be totally different, just like with the new multi-complex at the entrance to the Castle Complex- the main course dinner with lamb chops?

In simpler languages: will the architect be right about the changes not conforming to the castle surroundings, or will the people embrace the new form of history which features a cosmetic makeover but keeping its original historic form?

Stay tuned! 🙂

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