Sunset at Tappan Zee Bridge in New York

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If one has to go, it should go gracefully. It should go off into the sunset, foot-by-foot, mile by mile and in the case of the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York City, bit by bit.

Fellow pontist and photographer Dan Murphy had an opportunity recently to take a photo of both the new bridge and the old one, spanning the Hudson River connecting New York with New Jersey, and with that, the suburbs on both sides. The new structure, a pair of cable-stayed suspension bridges, whose towers are V-shaped are now opened to all traffic, providing a key connection to the Big Apple and other key areas along the East Coast and into New England via Thruway.  The old structure, a 1954 steel cantilever through truss bridge with Warren truss design is slowly disappearing into the sunset.

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And as one can see much more clearly, work has already begun taking apart the cantilever bridge itself after removing several deck truss spans, one by one.

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The old bridge is scheduled to disappear into the sunset by the end of this year. However, not everything will be scrapped, recycled and reused for other purposes. The bridge will be reused in multiple sections in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes the City of Pittsburgh. How and where they will be reused is unknown. It is known that the bridge will disppear with the setting sun soon. And with that, a piece of history that will be seen in the history books, unless one wishes to see sections of them in Steelers country.  😉

Special thanks to Dan Murphy for allowing use of the photos to be posted. More can be seen in the Bridges page on facebook.  To learn more about the Tappan Zee Bridge, check out this article here.

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Contributors Wanted for the Chronicles and its Social Media Pages

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Elimination of Internet Neutrality and Introduction of European Privacy Guidelines plus American counter-guidelines hampering news coverage of the Chronicles and other historic bridges sites.  Volunteer Contributors Wanted.

SCHNEEBERG (SAXONY), GERMANY- Since the Facebook scandal and the Trump administration’s campaign to eliminate internet neutrality to benefit the select few, regulations and counter-regulations on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are making things very difficult to access any type of news coverage, be it TV, newspaper or the internet. Since 25th of May, new guidelines from the European Union have been in effect, which require all companies to inform readers of their rights to access the sites, which includes granting them rights to use only their personal data that is apropriate to their websites only and not giving them away to third parties without their consent. As a counter-measure, many news agencies in the United States have raised their guard on the rights to access their news from overseas. While some, like USA Today have provided the “lite” version with only the essential information, others have blocked access altogether. That means, readers from Europe who access information on news in their area of interest have been seeing this on their screen when trying to access their website:

WE’RE SORRY BUT WE CANNOT ALLOW YOU TO ACCESS OUR WEBSITE BECAUSE YOU ARE IN EITHER THE EUROPEAN UNION OR AN EEA COUNTRY.

Imagine an American expatriate from Hamburg trying to access news from his/her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa and cannot because of this. Believe it or not, Des Moines is one of many examples of cities and regions throughout the country implementing these counter-measures, as a “Red Alert! Shields Up! The Klingons are coming!” paranoia.

Given this situation, how does this affect the way the Chronicles does news coverage, especially with regards to social media?  It has a huge, negative impact indeed.

Since 2010 with facebook and 2013 with Twitter, the Chronicles has been providing news coverage on historic bridges on social media to provide readers with an opportunity to read up on them and if the chance arises, take action. This includes posting news articles on the social media sites, which have garnered followers by an average of 20% yearly for both sites. Almost 1000 followers are on the facebook website and group pages and 110 for twitter. The trend is skyrocketing as the Chronicles has been back in action lately after a brief absence to reorganize its wordpress site due to the shutdown of its areavoices website last May, and if it continues to pick up more support, it is possible to break the 1500 mark for facebook and 150 for twitter, respectively, by the end of the year.

Sadly though, the progress to make the Chronicles a key news source for historic bridges in the US, Europe and elsewhere has been hampered greatly by the limited access to American media because of these unnecessary restrictions, for attempts to even forward the posts to the social media pages from its headquarters in Germany have in many cases been denied.  While it is bad enough for readers outside the United States to not have any more access to the news media outlets, it is worse if the possibilities to even post them on twitter are no longer valid.  The new regulations fall into the same category as Google’s plan to introduce pricing schemes for their maps and streetviews, which has caused the Chronicles’ Missouri-based colleague bridgehunter.com to remove all of its streetviews and consider replacing the maps with those from other, less-known map-making websites- as being complicated, an example of greedy, short-sightedness that will eventually fail miserably in the end.

While the Chronicles’ itself is not affected by all of the guidelines, as it runs a wordpress platform that operates universally, the twitter and facebook sites will see either fewer posts because of limited access to American media outlets or if they are posted, some of the viewers (especially outside the United States, including Canada, the EU, Mexico, Russia, Australia and Japan) will not be able to see them. And this is where your help is needed.

 

HELP WANTED!

We need bridgehunters, historians, enthusiasts and locals to come together and help feed and water the two plants that are growing and bearing fruit. If you see any articles pertaining to historic bridges, bridge rehabilitation, bridge replacement or any events involving a historic bridge in the United States and its affiliated islands, please use the following social media websites to post them, followed by a brief summary in 1-2 sentences about the article if possible:

BHC on Facebook

BHC on Twitter (FLBHAVSmith)

You are encouraged to like and follow the Chronicles if you want to keep up to date on the latest coverage of historic bridges in the US, Europe, Asia and other places in the world. By reaching the aforementioned goals and even beyond, we are providing a statement that media is for all and for free- not for the select few who are disinterested to begin with.

Note that the Chronicles has an Instagram app and is not affected by these restrictions. You can access (and follow) this page by clicking here.

If you know of a historic bridge that deserves attention because of a news event, you are encouraged to write a guest column and include 1-2 pictures to be sent to the author of the Chronicles, Jason Smith, at: flensburg.bridgehunter.av@googlemail.com. It will be posted in the Chronicles with your famed credit which will look good on your résumé if you wish to proceed in a career in media, history, etc.

This request is only for the US bridges as the regulations affect news coverage of many media outlets. The Canadian, European and other international outlets are not affected and coverage will be provided by its office here in Schneeberg.

The situation is awkward and disappointing, but it does not mean the show is over. The show must go on and it will go on, stronger than ever, because of people like you who love historic bridges. Therefore we will proceed as planned and the Chronicles thanks you with an open heart, mind and soul for your support. It is much appreciated. 🙂

 

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Zellstoff Bridge Receives New Flooring

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Zellstoff Bridge after getting a new decking in 2018.

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ZWICKAU (SAXONY), GERMANY-  In a previous article on the Iron Bridge in Aue, the author mentioned that as many as nine bridges along the Zwickau Mulde have been or are being rehabilitated or replaced; many of them were damaged because of the Great Flood of 2013, which is being commemorated this month.

If we count this bridge north of Zwickau, the Zellstoff Bridge, which opened recently, then it makes ten bridges within 2-3 years.  After tolerating a wooden decking that was wide on the one hand but warped and worn out on the other, the local crews replaced the bridge flooring during the spring and reopened the bridge a month ago. The cost of the project was between 300 and 700,000 Euros, much of which was financed locally.  At the same time, new railings were added to ensure that the crossing does not become a liability.

During my visit most recently, one can see the difference between the time before and the time after the construction. The decking has the same characteristics of wood but it it much smoother than before. The only caveat is that the decking is about 2 meters narrower than before, which makes crossing the bridge by foot riskier. Nevertheless, the new decking is greeted with open arms as many people use the trail connecting the north of Zwickau with areas to the north and east. During my last visit, more and more people used the bridge than in 2016 and decking played a key role there. As one of the fellow pontists said in my recent correspondance:  A narrow deck is built to conform to engineering standards. For pedestrian bridges, the bridge must be able to hold the weight of the deck fully loaded, with people standing shoulder to shoulder. Nevertheless, if the decking is used as often as it is now, with as much maintenance as it needs, it will last a long time and perhaps it will buy the City of Zwickau more time to give the bridge a real make-over when it is needed.

This is the second rehabilitation of the bridge since it was saved from demolition in 2007. The bridge used to be a rail crossing over the Zwickau Mulde River and the eastern bank used to hold a paper factory, which had been in business until its removal in the 1990s.

For more on the bridge, check out the tour guide on Zwickau’s bridges by clicking here.

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Cigarette Butt Burns Historic Trestle

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Discarded cigarette butt causes fire on and under the century-old viaduct in Canada

HOPE (BRITISH COLUMBIA), CANADA-

There are several reasons why smoking should be banned from public places. Apart from the fact that it can kill the smoker himself as well as those surrounding him through second-hand smoke, smoking can cause destruction to property if it is not put out properly. For three adventurers hiking in the mountains and having crossed the Ladner Creek Trestle near Yale and Hope in the Canadian province British Columbia, they have learned a very valuable lesson as a cigarette butt from one of the hikers set fire to the century-old viaduct on Monday. All three were going across the 300+ meter long and 30+ meter tall steel viaduct when one of them didn’t put out the cigarette butt properly. The end result is a fire on the already dilapidated wooden decking, where despite keeping its flame on a small scale, falling and burning debris set off fires deep in the forest-laden,  rocky valley. Neither the hikers were able to put out the fire and fire crews are having difficulties putting the fires out because of the steepness and depth of the Creek valley, according to Canadian news source, CBC. The dry weather may have played a role in the spreading of the fire, which has already burned more than 0.2 acres and taken down several pine trees in the process.  While the viaduct has served as an important outlook as well as a challenging crossing because of its height and curve, it is unknown how extensive the damage is as of present. However, it will be assessed once the fire is finally put out.

The viaduct itself is one of dozens of viaducts that were built in 1915-16 as part of the Kettle Valley Railroad connecting Hope and Penticton via Midway. The line, once part of Canadian Pacific Railroad, was abandoned in sections beginning in 1961 and ending in 1989.  Large portions of the line is now a rails-to-trails and part of the Trans-Canadian Bike Trail Network. Apart from this viaduct, there are dozens of bridges along this route, including 18 viaducts in the Myra Valley. 12 of them were destroyed during the 2003 forest fire but are being rebuilt. Five tunnels also served the route. All of them are considered historically significant and were declared National Historic Sites by the Canadian Government in 2002.

A pair of videos on the Ledner Creek Viaduct which includes some drone and hiking coverage can be seen below so that you can see how Long and tall the structure Looks like. Enjoy!

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The Chronicles will keep you informed on the latest regarding Ledner Creek Viaduct and its questionable future after the most recent fire.

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Two Historic Vogtland Bridges Coming Down

Riss Bridge at the Rodewisch Park Complex. This bridge will be replaced this summer. All photos taken in April 2018

Two Goltzsch River Bridges two kilometers from each other to be replaced with modern structures due to age and liability.

 

AUERBACH (VOGTLAND), SAXONY (GERMANY)-  There are three ways of justifying the demolition of a historic Bridge, regardless of design and age. The first, as we are seeing with the Frank Wood Bridge in Maine, is the sugar-coating of the public in believing that the new Bridge will last 100 years, never Need maintenance and will look nicer. 99% of the time are These Facts rather fake when fact-checking their Arguments. However, the second and third are just as common as the first, and are being practiced on a pair of bridges west of Schneeberg in the Vogtland Region of the German state of Saxony. One is negligence but to a Point where Rehabilitation is next to impossible because of exorbitant costs. This is the reason behind the demolition and replacement of the Riss Bridge (Rißbrücke) in Rodewisch. The third is the argument that the Bridge can no longer carry traffic, even if it was rehabilitated. This is the case with the Schulstrassebrücke in Auerbach. Both bridges span the River Göltzsch, which flows to the longest stone arch bridge in the world, the Göltzschtalbrücke near Netzschkau and flows parallel to the main Highway, B-169. Both bridges are two kilometers away from each other. And two bridges are the subject of the Chronicles’ Newsflyer article.

 

RISSBRUECKE (RISS BRIDGE) IN RODEWISCH

This bridge carries Park Street and cuts through the city park enroute to a church and Stone arch Bridge, 400 meters to the east. It can be seen from the main highway on the west bank. This 40 meter long closed spandrel arch bridge is at least 90 years old, but has been the subject of neglect, for spalling cracks on its abutments peeling on ist facade have weakened the structure to a point where it has been closed to all but pedestrians and cyclists for many years. Furthermore, the original railings have deteriorated to a point where concrete parts are falling into the river and the metal endoskeleton has appeared on 80% of the railings. Attempts to catch the falling debris using a net has been proven futile. In September, residents voted unanimously to replace the structure with a modern one, which will be a cable-stayed bridge with leaning towers. Since the start of April, workers have cleared away trees and bushes to get to the Bridge. It is scheduled to be demolished beginning in June, and the new structure will be open to traffic by the beginning of 2019. While lack of funding during the East German period may have played a role in allowing the bridge to fall apart, that funding had not been available to restore this bridge since 1990 and it has raised the question of priority between the bridge and other places that have been restored in and around Rodewisch. Sadly this bridge has gotten the wrong end of the stick and for those wishing for a new modern structure, their wish will come true soon.

Close-up of the deteriorated railings

 

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SCHOOL STREET BRIDGE (SCHULSTRASSEBRÜCKE)  IN AUERBACH: Since Easter, work has started to remove this unique brick arch Bridge connecting the City Center with the main Highway. The bridge was built in the late 1890s using granite mined from the Ore Mountains and had been rehabilitated just after the Fall of the Wall. Despite that, the 20-meter long structure is too narrow and light for trucks and therefore, the bridge will be replaced. The replacement structure will be twice the width of the 13-meter Bridge and will include turning lanes more convenient for the growing traffic. Yet questions remain about the justification of replacing the bridge because of the traffic going through the City Center already. Plus the arch structure appeared in great shape at the time of the author’s visit. Nevertheless People will suffer from the inconvenience for the next half year as the old will come out in favor of the new which will be met with mixed results come time of ist opening in the fall.

 

Frank Wood Bridge Raising Funds for Independent Inspector

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Go Fund Me campaign to raise $15,000 to hire an independent contractor to look at options to restore the 1932 historic truss bridge

BRUNSWICK & TOPSHAM, MAINE- Conflicts between the Maine Department of Transportation on one end and locals from both Brunswick and Topsham as well as preservation officials have reached new heights for recent public meetings regarding the future of the three-span polygonal Warren through truss bridge have produced intensive strife, and locals have turned to other alternatives to ensure the 1932 product of Boston Bridge Works remains in place for years to come.

Since 30 March, the Friends of the Frank J. Wood Memorial Bridge has undertaken a campaign to raise funds for an independent contractor to conduct a structural survey and present an objective alternative to replacing the historic bridge- favoring the preservation and restoration of the structure. The contractor has had experience in restoring bridges of this caliber in the New England states and East Coast, and the cost for such an engineering study is estimated to be $15,000. To donate to the project, please click onto the link here:  https://www.gofundme.com/save-the-frank-j-wood-bridge

Every single dollar will help a great deal for the project. Already at the time of this posting, over half of the funds have been raised. Your help will ensure the other half will be raised, and the counterarguments to MaineDOT’s claim of the bridge being at the end of its useful life be presented as objectively and professionally as possible.

During the last meeting, which spawned this fund-raising effort, officials from  MaineDOT presented proposals for replacing the historic bridge using studies conducted by a bridge engineering firm that had no experience in restoring historic bridges. All the proposals presented were rejected flatly by residents and officials from the National Advisory on the Council for Historic Preservation and Maine Preservation, both of whom had requested the DOT to look at the cost for restoring the historic bridge, but was met with refusal. According to members of the Friends committee as well as locals, the meeting between both sides produced biased results and little room to comment on the alternatives to replacing the bridge, angering locals and proponents of restoring the truss bridge to a point where the committee has decided to forego the findings of the DOT and embark on this daring measure. Public sentiment for the bridge is very strong for reasons that restoring the bridge is cost-efficient and presents the two communities and their historic mills and wetlands with a sense of historic pride and heritage.  A youtube video of the bridge and the two communities is an excellent example of the willingness to fight to keep the bridge:

 

 

Furthermore, at 30 feet wide, the bridge can hold two lanes of vehicular traffic plus an additional lane for bikes and pedestrians, even though a pedestrian portion practically exists on the truss bridge.

The battle for the objective truth is getting intense and it will set the precedent for any future preservation plans for other historic bridges in the region, nationwide and beyond. As mentioned in an interview with the Chronicles last year (click here for details) , the communities will even take the legal path if MaineDOT continues to refuse to listen to the needs of the residents affected by the bridge controversy and shove its new bridge down their throats against their will. Last month’s meeting has taken this matter one step closer to the danger zone. Whether this independent study on the future of the historic bridge, which especially includes alternatives to replacing the bridge that still has years of life left, will defuse the conflict depends solely on the willingness of both sides to come away with a proposal that will satisfy everyone.

The Chronicles will continue to monitor the latest developments on the bridge. In the meantime, if you have a dime to help, take a couple minutes of your time and do the right thing. Donate to save the bridge.

 

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Bridge Beautification in Glauchau (Saxony), Germany

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Hirschgraben Viaduct at the Castle Complex to be Completely Rebuilt; Former Mulde Crossing to become Rest Area for Bikes

GLAUCHAU (SAXONY)-  While driving (or even Walking) through Glauchau in western Saxony in Germany, one cannot avoid several construction barriers and even downed trees in several places within the community of 24,000, located between Zwickau and Chemnitz. As part of the plan to beautify the city, several Buildings sitting empty or abandoned are scheduled to be repurposed or torn down.  And that applies to a couple of the city’s key crossings. A former site of a historic Bridge is about to become a rest area and picnic area for cyclists whereas a historic Bridge near the Castle complex is about to be demolished and rebuilt to mimic the original Bridge from the 1700s. Details about the two Projects can be found here:

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Hirschgrund Bridge to be completely rebuilt as part of the Castle beautification project

Connecting the Fordere and Hintere Glauchau Castles with the city park to the south, the 300+ year old Hirschgrund Viaduct is the oldest known bridge in Glauchau, let alone one of the longest and tallest of the city’s bridges. At approximately 75 meters long and 15 meters high, the bridge consists of five arches built mainly of brick and concrete, although it is unclear whether the concrete was added later or was part of the construction. The bridge has been neglected for over 40 decades and closed to all pedestrians for almost that long, thus causing it to decay rapidly, forming cracks in the concrete and exposing the red brick. Vines have been growing on the structure and some accounts in the social media have described the bridge as wobbling while walking over the deep ravine. All the vines, the wooden scaffolding to support one of the arches and other coverings are about to become a thing of the past, for the Glauchau City Council recently approved a 1.3 million Euro project to completely rebuild the viaduct. According to the Free Press, the entire structure is scheduled to be completely taken down, then using the materials from the old structure, will be completely rebuilt mimicking the 17th Century viaduct when it was opened to horse and buggy. The project is expected to last 1-2 years pending on any unforseen circumstances. The complete rebuild of the viaduct is part of the controversial project to beautify the Castle Complex- in particular the courtyard in front of the Fordere Castle on the east side. At the cost of 500,000, the courtyard is supposed to be converted to a multifunctional arena with shelter house, steel flower tubs, park benches, an aluminum pergola and electric outlet. The proposal has been met with hefty criticism because of the lack of taste and conformity with the castle’s surroundings. Even an article written by a local architect suggested alternatives to the proposal that is more appropriate and based on a total agreement by the parties involved (click here to read the article by Kathleen Scheurer).  Already, the trees at the courtyard have been removed giving the castle complex a bare-naked appearance:

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How the castle complex will look like, once the five-month project ends in October remains open.

 

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Meerane Bridge: new on the left and the old one on the right before its removal. Photo by Ulrich Schleife

Meerane (Upper Mulde) Bridge Abutment to become a Picnic/Rest Area

For over two decades since the construction of the current structure and the removal of the 1880s historic bridge, the remaining eastern abutment has sat in its place, covered with vegetation and garbage and looking like an eyesore. Come April, it will become an eyesore no more. At the cost of 10,000 Euros, the vegetation area will be removed and the eastern abutment will be repurposed as a picnic and rest area for pedestrians and cyclists. Included will be a bike stand, benches and garbage cans in and around the abutment near the pedestrian crossing at Meerane and Linden Streets. That portion of the project will take three weeks to complete, according to the Free Press. This is part of a bigger project which the shoreline of the Zwickau Mulde River will be cleaned up and converted into a park and trail setting, using land from abandoned buildings that either have been torn down or are scheduled to be removed in the near future. Already in the works is the plan to have a bike trail connecting the bridge with the Zimmerstrasse Covered Bridge, located near the Wehrdigt Elementary School. In the long term, the Mulde Bike Trail will go through Glauchau along the river instead of along the Diversion Canal, a plus for those wanting to see the city’s historic bridges along the river. One can also see the bridges leading to the Castle Complex from that proposed stretch of trail.  As for the Meerane Bridge, the east abutment is the remains of the 1880s Town Lattice truss bridge built by local bridge builder Heinrich Carl Hedrich, who was responsible for the construction of a diversion canal around Glauchau, Germany’s first water main systems as well as several dams, mills and bridges in Glauchau and along the Mulde. The bridge was replaced on alignment in the 1990s and subsequently removed once the new structure opened.

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Abutments as remains of the old bridge

With the ongoing changes that are happening in and around Glauchau also comes the updates in the Bridge Tour Guide of Glauchau. Several photos have been added on the castle bridges as well as the Wave, plus some updates based on the current developments which will be followed closely in the Chronicles. To see the updates, click here, which will take you to the guide again. There, you will find more pictures and information so that you can better get to know the bridges in and around the city.  Enjoy! 🙂

 

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