BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 81

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During my recent field trip with some students to visit the Saxony Parliament in Dresden, one of my students found a good vantage point worth getting a photo. It was the view of the River Elbe and the Augustus Bridge, with the historic Old Town, featuring the Church of Our Lady, the Semper Opera and the Zwinger in the background and all towards the right. As a bonus, this was taken in the morning. As we were walking along the river towards the Parliament, I took a few shots of other bridges along the way before she pointed this one out. Needless to say it was a vantage point not to be missed….. 🙂

……in addition to a day trip through the Old Town, a good meal and some entertainment with some others…… 😉

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 79

Our first pic of the new year- let alone the new decade- takes us home. Home where one will find a historic bridge where you at least expect it. This was the case with this railroad bridge, the Schafteich Bridge. Spanning the River Zwickau Mulde, the bridge is located only two kilometers west of the train station in Glauchau. It serves the Dresden-Hof-Nuremberg Magristal Route and was one of the original structures that still serves traffic to this day, having been built in the 1860s and rehabilitated a couple of times in its lifetime. Speaking from experience (as you can see in the tour guide of Glauchau), the Schafteich Bridge is one of the most difficult to photograph, for the best photo can be taken from the north side, where the trucking firm is located, but only with a good camera and a good height over the fence. Yet when winter sets in and the leaves are all from the tree, one could sneak a shot from the southern side, where the textile factory is located. There one can photograph the structure either through the trees, like in this pic, or by climbing down towards the river. Because of the cold, I chose the first option and it made a world of difference.

 

Reminder: You still have time to vote for the 2019 Bridgehunter’s Awards. Deadline for voting is January 10th at 11:59pm, your local time. You can click here to go to the ballot. Reminder, there are two parts. The votes will then be tallied and the results will follow. The Author’s Choice Awards, where the author chooses his best and worst bridge stories is being put together and will be presented before the winners of the Bridgehunter’s Awards are announced on January 12th. Stay tuned.

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 121: Lorenzo’s Bridge?

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This is also this week’s Pic of the Week

The second mystery bridge takes us back to our backyard not far from our headquarters in Glauchau (Saxony), Germany. Approximately a kilometer away on the southern outskirts of town lies this bridge. It’s a closed spandrel arch bridge, approximately 20 meters long and 10 meters wide, enough to carry two lanes of traffic and sidewalks. It is located over Red Creek (Rothenbach), a tributary that starts at Rumpwald Forest, located 4 kilometers away and empties into the River Zwickau Mulde near the Glauchau Reservoir on the north side. It carries Wernsdorfer Strasse, a road that exits Glauchau and goes south towards Wernsdorf and Schlunzig. It’s easy to find as the road makes a steep dip as it does a double-curve going south, and one will cross it right after going past Rothenbacher Strasse.

This arch bridge was found by chance during a fall walk a couple weeks ago and together with another crossing about 300 meters away, they are the last two of their kind along the creek. While there are many houses on the opposite side of the creek, all of the bridges connecting the houses and the main road have been replaced with culverts and modern crossings. Another bridge was condemned recently and will most likely be torn down next year.

Still, this bridge is very mysterious because of its location within a neighborhood full of houses, many of which are well over a century old but they retain their historic architectural character. This pic was taken with one of these houses in the background.  There is no known information as to when the structure was built. Yet with a white streak of concrete above the arches, it appears the structure was rehabilitated 10-20 years ago, albeit it is unknown when exactly.

While many cities in the former East Germany had tens of thousands of “Plattenbau” highrise buildings, built by the Communist government between the 1950s and 1980s, Glauchau is one of a few cities whose houses have been left intact and not fallen victim to modernisation. It’s especially noticeable in the southern half as well as in and around the city center and Castle Complex. With historic buildings come historic bridges that are left as is or restored to their original glory. This bridge is one of those that is still in service despite its rehabilitation project.

But still, what do we know about it? Any ideas?

 

Author’s note: Lorenzo’s Bridge is a play-on-words from the film “Lorenzo’s Oil” starring Nick Nolte. Yet this bridge is located 200 meters west of Lorenz’s Bike Shop and another 300 meters east of a used bike shop along Rothernbacher Strasse.

Check out the bridge tour of Glauchau is you haven’t done so yet. You will find this bridge and more here.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 44

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Albeit modern in itself, the next Pic of the Week takes us only a couple kilometers downstream along the Preissnitz before emptying into the Elbe at this crossing. The Waldschlösschen Bridge is one of the fanciest bridges spanning the Elbe in Dresden. The multiple-span viaduct with V-shaped piers and a steel pony arch main span was also known as one of the most controversial bridges ever built in Germany, comparing it to the major projects that were ongoing at that time, like the Stuttgart 21 Project (which is set to open by 2023) and Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport (BER- still ongoing after 13 years). From the decision to build the bridge in 2005 until its final completion in 2013, it took several court cases, the recognition and rescinding of the World Heritage site by UNESCO, over a dozen bridge design drafts and a tunnel on the eastern side before the bridge was finally put together- a span of eight years.

Yet when biking along the River Elbe through Dresden, when looking at the bridge, one may see it as a modern eyesore that should not have been built but was a necessity to relieve traffic at the nearest bridges which are both over a century old. Yet when adding the landscape and all the buildings that went along with that, it does conform to the scenery quite well. In the day time, the bridge is surrounded by a lot of green. Yet at night, as you can see in the picture, it presents several shades of dark blue, with white  lighting from the bridge’s  deck reflecting off the River Elbe. The lighting is all LED but they move randomly, based on the cars that cross it in one direction.  The shot was taken right after the sun set with he clouds covering the area.

There is a book that was written on the bridge and its construction. That will be profiled later on in the Dresden series. In the meantime, enjoy the evening pic. 🙂

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 43

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The 43rd pic of the week takes us back to Dresden, but this time in the Dresdner Heide, a region covered with hilly forests where several small streams, including one that has the smallest waterfall in all of Germany, merge to form the River Priessnitz. That river snakes its way approximately 10 kilometers into the River Elbe near the Waldschlößchenbrücke, dodging past many houses and appartment complexes, flanked by trees and beautiful landscapes.

One can be amazed by the number of historic bridges, one will stumble upon while walking along the small river. This includes the largest of them all, the Carolabrücke. Built in 1876, this three-span, closed spandrel arch bridge, built using sandstone, can be found at Stauffenberg-Allee. The bridge is 82 meters long and spans the Priessnitzer Grund that is as deep as 23 meters. The structure was thoroughly rehabilitated in 2003, where new decking covered the arches and is 2.7 meters wider than its original width of 17.3 meters.

In this picture, one can see the 23 meter tall viaduct that has stood the test of time, covered in many shades of colors through graffiti. Yet despite having countless amounts of traffic crossing it daily, the bridge has a sense of serenity surrounded by the sound of water, as the Priessnitz makes its way to the Elbe. Along the stretch of what is called Priessnitzer Grund, there are a series of concrete statues of approximately 1.5 meters tall, all lined up along the river opposite the trail. Each design depicts a historical or fairy tale form, although it is unknown who made the sculptures, except to say that they appear to be at least a century old. Anyone that knows any information on them are free to comment at the end of the article. This photo was taken at spring time right before the trees started budding, which could not have come at a better time. As the bridge is surrounded by trees and other vegetation, making the photo opportunity practically impossible, the best time to photograph this bridge would have to be when all the leaves are off the trees- hence winter time upto the time the trees start blossoming.

One hint to the photographer when getting to this bridge: The Carolabrücke at Priessnitzer Grund is located in Dresden-Neustadt, between the districts of Albertstadt and Äussere Neustadt. In the Dresden-Neustadt, parking is the most notorious for the streets are very narrow- too narrow for even trucks to pass through and very slim for even the average car in Germany. Parking is most difficult to find for all residents have to park them on the street. When driving through there, please do so at a snail’s pace for safety reasons and to avoid damage to your car as well as to the others’. If you do find one nearby, park it and hoof it to the bridge, for the only way to the bridge is via hiking path along the Priessnitz. It may be a walk and a half but it’s worth the exercise. 🙂

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 41

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After weeks of snow, rain and wind, spring time has arrived here in Germany. Things are getting greener, and people are getting more activein their work outdoors. And unlike the flooding the US is getting right now, the region is getting off to a great start- a contrast to what we saw last year with the drought which struck much of Europe, leaving rivers and streams dry and crops to wither under the heat.

But here in this pic, we’re seeing the water come back, the grass getting greener and a chance to catch-up after losing much of last year’s worth of crops. This was taken at the Mosel creek bridge, which carries the road going to Glauchau from the village of Mosel. The century-old bridge provides a vital link to the Volkswagen Company, which is three kilometers west of here, as well as to Zwickau, which is seven kilometers. It is one of two vital links between Zwickau and Glauchau along the Zwickau Mulde River.

Enjoy the weekend, wherever you are! 🙂

 

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What to do with a Historic Bridge: Camsdorfer Bridge in Jena, Germany

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Camsdorfer Brücke (Camsdorf Bridge) spanning the Saale River between City Center and Jena-Ost.

 

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To be or not to be. That is the question that the city eastern Thuringia is facing in many aspects as it deals with housing and overpopulation issues, combined with education, social infrastructure, bike trails, and this bridge- the Camsdorfer Bridge, spanning the River Saale east of the city center.

The current bridge was constructed in 1913 but was widened in 2005 to accommodate additional lanes and two street car tracks. There is one problem though: the bridge is east of the railroad, which runs parallel to the main highway at Am Anger. While there are crossings at the intersections on both sides of the bridge, people are finding it annoying to not have an underpass running underneath as they are forced to dismount their bikes just to cross Camsdorfer Strasse at the bridge regardless of each end.

The Saale bike trail goes across the bridge but makes a sharp turn to the left at Wenigerjenaer Ufer at the Restaurant Grüne Tanne. A branch of the trail runs alongside the track before crossing at Griesbrücke near the train Station Saalbahnhof.  Now the debate is ongoing as to whether the trail should run underneath the Camsdorfer Bridge or if other measures should be carried out to improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, which includes a traffic light at Grüne Tanne. The catch to the debate is that the west end of the bridge, where the trail would run underneath, is protected by law. According to the local newspaper OTZ, the area west of the bridge is considered a natural habitat due to rare plants and other species. Since 2000, the area has been considered off limits. The east end of the bridge is impassable due to the steepness of the cliffs plus the lack of space to have a bike trail.

This leads to the question of what to do in the case of the bike crossing at the Camsdorf Bridge. The support for having the bike trail underneath the Camsdorf Bridge is growing for claims of “There’s no other possibility,” as mentioned by politician Christian Gerlitz, is growing. Yet in order to lift the ban at the western end, the City of Jena will have to go through every Office responsible for Flora and Fauna, from the local level to one in Berlin. That will take lots of time, energy and valuable resources away, which can be used for other issues Jena is facing, which are both numerous and huge for one of the fast growing cities in the eastern half of Germany and one of the most expensive places to live in all of Germany, competing with the likes of Leipzig, Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich.

This leads to the question of whether an underpass is well worth the fight, or should it look for alternatives, as seen in this questionnaire below. Look at the options and mark which one you would take. A map of the area around the Camsdorf Bridge with the options being discussed, plus the newspaper article (click here) will help you understand the situation and make a choice objectively.  Comments can be added in the survey as well as in this article regardless of which language (English or German).  Good luck! 🙂

 

Note: OTZ is short for Ostthüringer Zeitung, which serves Jena and the eastern half of the State of Thuringia. It is part of the Funke Media conglomerate which is based in Erfurt.

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