Ultimate Restorations Documentary: The Story of Workin Bridges and the Springfield Bowstring Arch Bridge.

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Jim Schiffer of Schiffer Group Engineering (left), Julie Bowers of Workin Bridges (middle) and Nels Raynor of BACH Steel (right)

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Film clip

HOLT, MICHIGAN/ GRINELL, IOWA-  The long-awaited documentary by Ultimate Restorations on historic truss bridge restoration is now available for viewing at www.ultimaterestorations.com or Amazon Prime. Featuring the 1874 Springfield Des-Arc Bridge, an historic King Iron Bridge Co. bowstring truss in Conway, Faulkner County, Arkansas, the two episodes document how an engineer, craftsmen, two nonprofits, a city, county and state worked together to save a rare historic bridge in the USA. Local screening are also being scheduled.

Bach Steel of Holt and St. Johns, Michigan provided the iron restoration expertise. The craftsmen, Nels Raynor, Derek Pung, Brock Raynor and Lee Pung put their backs into this project from riveting to pack rust removal, repairing splice plates, lifting and resetting old iron. Jim Schiffer, PE of Schiffer Group Engineering, Traverse City, Michigan. (SGI) worked with Bach Steel to detail the repairs. SGI also engineered the caissons by request from Julie Bowers at Workin’ Bridges who just didn’t want to see another concrete abutment for the historic truss. “These are the kinds of projects we relish. The reuse and preservation of durable cast and wrought iron and steel, that are still serviceable with a little coaxing, to recreate elegant functional forms that the communities can enjoy is really fun. These are the projects that we enjoy applying our technical experience and training to bring to successful completion.” stated Jim Schiffer after viewing the video. Though you don’t see him in the site work, without his engineering neither Workin’ Bridges nor Bach Steel would be able to act on these jobs.

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Working with the City of Conway and Faulkner County, the planning and iron work for the restoration of this bowstring took well over a year after lifting it from the North Fork of the Cadron River. The bridge was restored and reset at Lake Beaverfork in August of 2016. The project began, however, with a site visit in 2010 to discuss the potential of the oldest road bridge in Arkansas, also a King Iron bridge. The project required the aid of the Prof. Kenneth Barnes, then a director of the Faulkner County Historic Society to continue raising the awareness that this vintage bridge needed help. Many of these stories can be seen on the video.

Bach Steel has worked on over 40 historic bridge projects across the country, winning awards for their work in Texas, Michigan and Arkansas since the 1990s. “The Springfield Bridge tells a story of one of the projects that we started with Workin’ Bridges in 2010 and it took years to fund it. There are so many bridges across the country that can be restored but it takes political will, our engineer, money and us to get it done….and big cranes!” stated Nels Raynor at the shop in St. Johns.

Ultimate Restorations produced the shows out of the bay area. Producer Terry Strauss along with Executive Producers Bill Hersey, Loren Lovgren, and Bob McNeil have documented the restoration of some of America’s beloved treasures. “The story of this bridge is what Ultimate Restorations is all about. The vision to save the iconic pieces of our history that would otherwise be lost, plus the skills, passion and talent to bring them back to life. Walking over that bridge, is like being told a story, reminding us of who we are and where we’ve been.” said Terry Strauss, who directed the film in Arkansas. More info at www.ultimaterestorations.com. You can view the Ultimate Restorations episodes on our bridge restoration as well as the full Season 2 of Ultimate Restorations on Amazon Prime with 1874 Des-Arc Springfield Bridge Part 1: Moving Day and Part 2: Another Hundred Years at https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07ZZZJ8D5/ref=atv_dp

Photo by Wayne Kizzar

One of the red-carpet premieres of Springfield Bridge documentary will be at 2 pm on Sunday, November 24, 2019 in Burlington, Iowa at the restored Capital Theater. Community screening dates are also being pursued in Conway, Arkansas, Lansing / Traverse City, Michigan and Grinnell, Iowa and will be announced soon.

Questions and screening requests can be addressed to Julie Bowers at 641.260.1262 –  jbowerz1@gmail.com. You can access more information on the web at www.workinbridges.org and on Facebook at Workin’ Bridges,  www.bachsteel.com and on Facebook at Bach Steel and www.schiffergroup.com. Restoration photos can be seen at Springfield Bridge on Facebook where the process was also documented.

 

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Borders to Bridges: The Answers to the Guessing Quiz

Co-produced with sister column: flefi deutschland logo

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And now, after having looked and guessed at the bridges, here are the answers to the Guessing Quiz on whether the following bridges were part of the borders or not.  🙂 

Please note that information on the correct answers pertaining to the “border” bridges can be found in the links highlighted. Some of these bridges were documented by the Chronicles earlier in the year.

GUESSING QUIZ: THE BRIDGES ALONG THE BORDER

When the border and the Berlin Wall went up, many of the bridges that made up the border between the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East) were closed down or even removed. Only a handful of crossings remained open but under stringent control by the East German border guards, to ensure that no one left the country who was not supposed to.

The question is: Which bridges were affected?  Look at the pictures below, determine if they were borders or not by marking Yes or No, and state your reason why by identifying where they are located. Borders meant that the bridges were either shut down to all passage or were under strict control by the East German army. The 16 German states are listed below to help you.  Good luck! 🙂

1.

Photo: R. Kirchner for wikiCommons

   /      N

Where? This bridge spans the River Elbe near the village of Dömritz at the Lower Saxony- Mecklenburg/Pommeranian border. This used to be a railroad crossing, the longest of its kind over the River Elbe. 

 

2.

glienicker 2

Y      /       N

Where? This is located at the border between Berlin and Brandenburg near the town of Potsdam. The Glienicke Bridge was once known as the Bridge of Spies because of the spy exchanges that happened between 1961 and 1989. 

 

3.

61277351_2446054655425169_9220180807434371072_o

Y    /       N   

Where? This is located in Jena in Thuringia- The Alte Burgauer Brücke spanning the River Saale

 

4.

o-burg

Y        /          

Where? This bridge is located in Oranienburg (Brandenburg)- The Queen Luisa Bridge. 

 

5.

Photo by Torsten Bätge for wikiCommons

Y         /            N

Where? This bridge spans the River Elbe in Lauenburg (Schleswig-Holstein), located 3 km west of the three-state corner where S-H, Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Pommerania are located. It connects Lower Saxony with S-H. 

 

6.

bornholm str. br

Y            /                  N

Where? This is the Bösebrücke at Bornholmerstrasse in Berlin. It used to span the railway and Berlin Wall between Prenzlauer Berg and Gesundbrünnen

 

7.

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Y       /          N

Where? This is the Rudolphstein Viaduct spanning the River Saale at Motorway 9 at the Thuringian-Bavarian border. It was rebuilt in 1966 and was a border crossing until 1990. 

 

8.

IMGP8692

Y           /            N   

Where? This is the Eider Bridge in Friedrichstadt in Schleswig-Holstein, the oldest of the tied arch bridges that later replaced many Elbe River crossings, many in the former East Germany. 

 

9.

Photo by Störfix for WikiCommons

       /            N

Where? This is located in Vacha, at the Hesse-Thuringia border. The 13-span stone arch bridge was indeed guarded by border patrolmen until 1989. 

 

10.

Y        /         N

Where? This is the Hörschel Viaduct, spanning the River Werra at the Thuringia-Hesse border. It carries the Motorway 4. 

 

11.

DSCF8658

Y         /           N

Where? This is the Oberbaum Bridge in Berlin between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.

12.

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Y         /           N  

Where? This is the Harburg Bridge, spanning the River Elbe in Hamburg. 

 

13.

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Y         /           N  

Where? This viaduct is located in Grobau (Saxony), approximately 3 kilometers from the border train station Gutenfürst and another three from the Saxony-Bavarian border. 

 

14.

IMG_20190506_165214196_HDR

Y         /           N  

Where? This one is near Koditz, near Hof. It spans the River Saale but west of the Saxony-Bavarian border. 

 

15.

selbitz 3

        /           N

Where? This is the Selbitz Bridge, at the Bavarian-Thuringian border near Bad Blankenstein

 

16.

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        /           N

Where? This is the Sparnberg Bridge, spanning the River Saale 3km west of Rudolphstein Viaduct at Sparnberg (Thuringia)

 

17.

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Y         /          

Where? This is the Harra Bridge spanning the Saale near Bad Lobenstein (Thuringia). The bridge is 13 kilometers from the Thuringian-Bavarian border.

 

18.

31934788_1874852035878770_8085130455587749888_o

        /           N

Where? This is the former Avus Bridge at Checkpoint Bravo near Zehlendorf (Potsdam). It still spans the Teltow Canal at the former East-West border (now Berlin-Brandenburg) 

 

19.

ZwSch

Y         /           N

Where?  This bridge is located near Legenfeld in Saxony, spanning the River Zwickau Mulde. 

 

20.

IMG_20190506_175912431_HDR

Y         /           N

Where? This is the Hirschberg Bridge spanning the River Saale between the Thuringian town and Untertiefengrün (Bavaria)

 

German States:

Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Pommerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia

 

Answers will come on November 9th, the same day as the Fall of the Wall.  🙂

Check out the Flensburg Files and follow the updates pertaining to the 30th anniversary celebrations. There are lots of articles that have been written on this topic, including former border crossings and videos, just to name a few. As a hint, some of the answers to this quiz lie both there as well as here.

 

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

Image may contain: plant, tree, bridge, outdoor and nature

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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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World’s Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge to be Built

A rendering of the Lohbach Valley Bridge from the Lichtenberg side. The design and construction will be similar with the Höllentalbrücke. Source: Landkreis Hof/ OTZ

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Hof District Council Members vote unanimously for the 23 million Euro project.
Construction to start immediately; to be completed by 2022

HOF (BAVARIA)/ SCHLEIZ (THURINGIA), GERMANY- There is an old religious saying: As I walk in the valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for the Lord will be here with me, helping my way through. Apparently, the Lord did find a creative way at the Thuringian-Bavarian border near the village of Lichtenberg to guide people through the valley (known as the Selbitz) but in mid-air.
The district council of Hof voted unanimously yesterday in favor of the project that will
feature the longest suspension bridge of its kind in the world. The vote count was 35 for and 15 against. Construction is expected to start very soon and is slated to be completed by the beginning of 2022 at the latest- a span of ca. 18 months.
As wide and steep as the valley of the Selbitz is, the project will feature two pedestrian
suspension bridges: one that will be 380 meters and suspended by cables, supported by two pylon towers, one of which will be anchored at the castle ruin Burg Lichtenberg. That will span the Lohbach Valley. The second suspension bridge will careen the valley of the Selbitz, eventually crossing it enroute to the Thuringian border near Blankenberg. Known as the Höllentalbrücke, the span of 1030 meters will break the record set by another suspension bridge in Germany, located in the Harz region in Saxony-Anhalt (see article here). That bridge was built in 2017. Both bridges will be built using solely steel and will feature spans resembling the letter „S“. A video depicting what the suspension bridges will look like can be seen below:

 

News on the Decision and the Opposition:

In addition to that, a tourist information center at Lichtenberg and viewing platforms will be erected to allow for tourists and hikers to enjoy the view of the forest from high above. The cost for the project is estimated to cost 23 million Euros- 14 million will be allocated to the two bridges, while the rest will be used for the platforms, the tourist information center, marketing strategies and lastly but most importantly, the protection of the natural habitat and the historic castle ruin at Lichtenberg- two major areas of concern that opposers of the project demonstrated at meetings, rallies and the like, prior to the vote yesterday. The costs will be financed by the Bavarian government (80%) and local municipalities (20%). This doesn’t include the cost for accessing the suspension bridge from the Thuringia, for the town of Blankenstein will have to shoulder, according to the OTZ-Newspaper.

 

Discussion on the Proposal:

 
With the project given the official go, the new suspension bridge will provide not only the visitors a chance to see the heavily forested and mountainous Franconian Forest, with a chance to see the Fichtel Mountains, the Länderdreiecken, the cities of Hof and Bayreuth on the Bavarian side as well as the Saaletal region where Lobenstein, Saalburg and Schleiz from the air.  It will also provide direct passage through the valleys, where „evil lurks“ by walking on air. That was the Lord’s plan to begin with and for many, it will be a blessing.  🙂

 

Map of the proposed bridges:

 

fast fact logo
1.  The Länderdreiecken refer to two points where three states meet. One is near the village of Prex (Bavaria), where the German states of Saxony and Bavaria as well as the Czech Republic meet. The other is near the village of Mödlareuth, where the three German states of Thuringia, Saxony and Bavaria meet. At both areas the former East-West German borders once separated Bavaria (American zone) from the Communist regions, where Saxony and Thuringia once belonged to East Germany (GDR), and the Czech Republic, which was once the western half of Czechoslovakia. That country existed from 1919 until the Velvet Divorce in 1993.
2. The District of Saale-Orla is considering many options to provide access to the suspension bridges from Blankenstein. One is providing E-service, but there may be more options on the table. Discussions with the Thuringian government has not yet begun as of this posting.

3. The Europa Suspension Bridgenear Randa in Switzerland, opened in late 2017, now holds the record previously set by the suspension bridge in the Harz Region, with a span of 494 meters.
4. The suspension bridge project is the second project along the former East-West German border that is in motion. The bike trail, which extends from the Dreieck near Prex to Blankenberg is also being built with vast stretches going along the route formerly known as the Death Zone. Much of it has been completed and open for use. This includes going through the village of Mödlareuth, where a museum devoted to the former border is located. More on that via links:

https://www.esterbauer.com/db_detail.php?buecher_code=ICTN3- Deutsch/Deutsch Radweg

https://www.merkur.de/reise/radtour-entlang-innerdeutschen-grenze-gruenem-band-zr-3653724.html

Deutsch-Deutsch Museum Mödlareuth: http://moedlareuth.de/

 

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2018 Ammann Awards Results

Paper Mill Bowstring Arch Bridge in Newcastle, Delaware. Winner of the Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge and Bridge of the Year. Photo taken by Julie Bowers

Last Year the Awards will be given using the name Othmar H. Ammann. Next year it will use the name Bridgehunter’s Awards.

First podcast on the Award results with table results here.

Results of the Awards under Best Photo

ZWICKAU (SAXONY), GERMANY/ SCHWARZENBERG, GERMANY/ KANSAS CITY/ LAWRENCEBURG (INDIANA)/ NEWCASTLE (DELAWARE)/ SAN FRANCISCO-

This year’s results of the Ammann Awards is nothing like anyone has ever seen before. A record setting number of votes were casted in eight categories, and with that, a lot of suspense that is comparable to any bowl game in college football and waiting under a Christmas tree for Santa Claus to provide gifts. It was that intense. And with that, a lot of commentary that led to making some new changes in the award format and that of the Chronicles itself.

For the first time in the history of the Ammann Awards, there will be a podcast with commentary of the Awards in all but one of the categories. This can be found here but also via SoundCloud. You can subscribe to Soundcloud by scrolling down on the left column, clicking and signing up once you arrive there. Details on how podcasts will be used for the Chronicles will be presented in the next podcast, which will also be posted here.  The table with the results of the Ammann Awards are presented here but in the order of the podcast so that you can follow. As in last year, the table features the top six finishers with some honors mentioned, but color coded based on the medals received in the following order: gold, silver, bronze, turquoise, quartzite and iron ore.

And so without further ado, click here to access the podcast but keep this page open to follow. The results in Best Photo is yet to come here.

2018 Ammann Award Results:

aa best examplebridge of the yearlifetime achievementtour guide usatour guide intbks ibmystery bridge

And lastly, the results of the Ammann Awards under the category Best Bridge Photo:

1st place:

Photo 5: Sigler Bridge in White County, IL by Melissa Brand-Welch

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2nd Place: 

Photo 13: Trolley Bridge in Waterloo, Iowa by Diane Ebert

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3rd Place:

Photo 10:  Manhattan Bridge in Riley County, Kansas by Nick Schmiedeleier

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4th Place:

Photo 3: Chesterfield-Battleboro Bridges by Dan Murphy

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5th Place:

Photo 11: Route 66 Gasconade Truss Bridge in Missouri by Dyuri Smith

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6th Place:

Photo 2: Tappan Zee Bridge in New York by Dan Murphy

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The full table with the results can be seen here.

As mentioned in the podcast, next year’s awards will be the same but under a new name: The Bridgehunter Awards. The name Ammann will be relegated to the Tour Guide Awards for US and international bridges; whereas the Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge will be renamed the Delony Award, after the late Eric Delony.  An additional category is being considered for a historic bridge threatened with demolition but has the potential to being saved and reused. The Author’s Choice Awards will remain the same as is.

While we’re talking about those awards, you can see the results and commentaries here.

To those who won in their respective categories, as well as those who finished in the top 6 or were honored, congratulations. You may now bring out the sect and champaign and celebrate. Prost! 🙂

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2018 Ammann Awards Ballot

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Finally, after the last minute push for nominations, combined with all the registrations being added, the 2018 Ammann Awards voting Ballot is now here. Between now and 7th January, you have a chance to vote for your favorite bridges in each of the categories below. As in the past, there is no limit in the number of votes you can submit per category. Yet a couple minor items to keep in mind:

  1. In the categories of Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge, Mystery Bridge  and Best Bridge Photo, only the photos with little information is available. This way, voters can have a look at the photos more carefully before voting. Especially in the Restored Historic Bridge, the voter should have a closer look at what was done with each bridge and decide what was done with it. All the information will be revealed when the winners are announced in January.
  2. Before you vote, you can look at the Information for each of the candidates and click on the links for more Details. For all except the category Best Bridge Photo, you can find the Information by clicking onto this link here.

In case of questions on the voting process or any issues that come about, please contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles at the following address: flensburg.bridgehunter.av@googlemail.com. The polls will Close on 7th January at 11:59pm Chicago time, which means 6:59am Berlin time on 8th January.

Good luck and may the voting begin! 😀 We have a bumper crop this time around!

 

Lifetime Achievement

 

Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge

 

Tour Guide USA

 

Tour Guide International

 

Mystery Bridge

 

Bridge of the Year

 

Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge

 

Best Bridge Photo

 

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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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