Historic Railroad Bridge in Booneville Replaced- Truss Spans Gone

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BOONEVILLE, IOWA- It had been touted as one of the longest multiple-span through truss bridges in the state of Iowa. Four spans with a total of over 700 feet. It was one of the last of the quadrangular Warren through truss bridges as well. Now the Booneville Railroad Bridge is all but a memory.  According to multiple stories, the last span of the historic railroad bridge came down this past week after having served two different railroad companies for 120 years. The new railroad bridge, a combination concrete and steel plate girder bridge was built alongside the historic railroad bridge and opened to traffic on June 30th of this year.

It was christened the William Duggan Bridge, named after the person who salvaged the railroad when he took over at Iowa Interstate in 1989. The line had once been operated by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad from 1900, the year the bridge was built, until its bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation in 1980. The line sat idle for four years before Iowa Interstate took over in 1984, and when Duggan took over five years later, he led efforts in revitalizing the line, which runs through central Iowa from Council Bluffs to the Quad Cities.

The new railroad bridge was needed as the truss bridge had met the end of its functional use. Two of its piers had tilted due to years of flooding and erosion. Others had cracks and were spalling. The new 661 foot multiple-span bridge will carry train traffic of up to 40 mph- double of that of the railroad bridge)- and trains will be able to carry taller and heavier loads. The $3.5 million project was half funded by the federal government through the Federal Railroad Agency through the use of Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant. It took only 17 months to build the new span.  It’s part of the 20+ year project to modernize the entire line and will include additional bridge replacements in the future, including three bridges in Davenport- the 3rd and 4th Street Overpasses and the Arsenal Bridge.

The loss of the Booneville Railroad Bridge is a big one for Dallas County, as it is one that people would see when crossing the Raccoon River enroute to West Des Moines. Yet with Des Moines sprawling and the need for transporting goods by rail increasing, the replacement was needed. Whether the bridge would have been used for a pedestrian crossing instead of being scrapped remains open, yet this loss will serve as a reminder that no historic bridge is safe and that action is needed to save the remaining bridges, even those that continue to serve the railroads that travel through Iowa.

Photos and further description of the railroad bridge can be found by clicking here.

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Waldcafé Bridge in Göhren to be Replaced

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Photos taken in 2017

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Over 115-year old crossing over the Zwickau Mulde will be torn down beginning June 6. Replacement Bridge to be completed by End of November

LUNZENAU (SAXONY), GERMANY- One can see the bridge from the Göhren Railway Viaduct. The structure and the viaduct itself were once a photographer’s dream, especially because of its unique setting along the River Zwickau Mulde. Now the historic Waldcafé Bridge will become a memory.

The Waldcafé Bridge is a single span stone arch bridge with open spandrels resembling mini-arches. It was built in 1904 and has a total length of 60 meters and a width of 7 meters. The bridge carries State Highway 242. The bridge was recognized in the book Steinbrücken in Deutschland (Stone Bridges in Germany), which has a short summary on the historic structure. It was also listed as a technical monument by the Saxony Ministry for the Protection of Historic and Cultural Places (Denkmalschutz).

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Workers are prepping for the removal of the historic bridge and replacing it with a more modern structure. After installing a temporary footbridge over the river, the bridge will fall victim to the diggers. The project to replace the span will last from now until the end of November, pending on the situation with the weather and the Corona Virus.  The footbridge will provide direct access to the Waldcafé from the parking area on the southern end of the bridge, which will be a relief for business owners who had already taken a hit from the loss of customers because of Covid-19 but also the cyclists who otherwise would have been forced to detour via Lunzenau or Wechselberg. The cost for the whole project is estimated to be at approximately 220,000 Euros.

When work on the new bridge is finished, tourists and commuters will see a modern bridge that is wider and safer for use. Yet its historic flavor will be missed, Especially if one sees the new structure from the viaduct.

 

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The Bridges of Silberstrasse to Get a Makeover

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Three bridges to go “under the knife” beginning in March. One of them is scheduled to be removed. Fourth one may follow pending on approval. Projects to end by December.

ZWICKAU/ WILKAU-HASSLAU/ SILBERSTRASSE, GERMANY- Travellers going to the Ore Mountains from Zwickau will have to consider alternatives to travelling- at least by car- in the next nine months. Beginning in March, the main Highway B93 from Zwickau to Schneeberg will have two bridges be rehabilitated. A third one nearby is scheduled to be demolished after being abandoned for decades. A project involving the fourth one may be underway soon, pending on approval. All four have been in service for over a century and have historic significance. To determine which ones, here are the details.

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Highway B 93 Bahnhofsbrücke- A one-span arch bridge with a length of 80 meters, this bridge spans the rail tracks of the Zwickau-Aue line, 30 meters south of the train station, Silberstrasse. It is the main artery going through the village as the highway connects Wilkau-Hasslau with Wiesenburg for thousands of cars use this bridge in both directions daily. It is also the primary crossing for local busses. As part of the plan to widen the highway, the decking will be replaced with a new, widen one, but not before the stone arch is strengthened. It is hoped that an additional lane is built as the highway makes a sharp, uphill curve to the right, which is dangerous even for truckers. If not, at least the curve can be straightened out. Pedestrians can still use the bridge during the rehabilitation project but access will be restricted.

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Heubrücke– Located 100 meters south of the Bahnhofsbrücke is another arch structure made of stone. The 90 meter span is over 150 years old but has been closed to traffic for decades- to pedestrians a few years ago. For safety reasons and because of its uselessness, the local town council is looking into tearing down the span and not replacing it. No replacement structure is expected here. What’s holding the council back is the funding for the bridge removal, which is expected to be approved at the time of the rehab project.

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Muldenbrücke in Wilkau-Hasslau- The rehab of the B93 bridge may be more of a blessing for the eight-span Luten arch bridge spanning the Zwickau Mulde. The 1867 span connects B93 on the east end with the town center on the right, carrying the road going to Cunnersdorf and Kirchberg. Inspections revealed moisture going into the arches and damage to the decking and the arches. Because the arches are still useable, the bridge will not be torn down. Instead the arches will be repaired and new decking will replace the old one. New lighting will replace those from 40 years ago. The bridge is a major sticking point for many cars have to wait on the structure because of the traffic light on the east end, where the main highway is located. Yet the bridge has connected both sides of Wilkau-Hasslau for almost 150 years and the rehab project will be a first where this key connection will be lost- at least for drivers.

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Cainsdorf Bridge- The wild card in the project is the Cainsdorf Bridge, a two-span steel girder bridge spanning the Zwickau Mulde between the rail line and Highway B93. The 1929 bridge was scheduled to be replaced last year but the details of the replacement span and the costs for the variants have still yet to be determined. It is hoped that the plans can be finalized this year and the project can proceed. Most of the variants point to the historic bridge being reused for bikes and pedestrians.

According to the Free Press, the B 93 will be open to local traffic only, which will help businesses affected by the projects- in particular, in Wilkau-Hasslau as there are many eateries and supermarkets along the highway.  Yet for those wishing to go to Schneeberg and all points in the Ore Mountains, there are detours available which will relieve the stretch of all inner-city traffic for much of the time of the project. Here are the alternatives:

  1. At the traffic light before the Schedewitz Bridge, turn right onto Bahnstrasse. Follow it to Lengenfelder Strasse and turn left. Follow Lengenfelder Strasse through Schedewitz and Planitz until it joins state highway 293, the bypass that goes around Zwickau and connects Werdau with Schneeberg and Lengenfeld/Schneeberg. Take the route going to the latter and follow that to the Motorway 72 exit Zwickau-West. Continue straight on the bypass, which passes Kirchberg and other villages before it joins B93 just north of Schneeberg.
  2. At the traffic light before the Schedewitz Bridge, go straight and cross the bridge. At the next traffic light, the road makes a curve to the left. Stay on that road and continue, going past Reinsdorf. At the Motorway 72, turn left and take the route going to Hof. Continue for 13 km until exiting at Zwickau West. At the traffic light, turn right and continue on the bypass which passes Kirchberg and joins B93 north of Schneeberg.
  3. At the traffic light before the Schedewitz Bridge, go straight and cross the bridge. At the next traffic light, the road makes a curve to the left. Stay on that road and continue, going past Reinsdorf and the Motorway (72) exit, Zwickau-Ost. You will drive through Wildenfels before entering Hartenstein. There, turn right and follow the street to Burg Stein (Stein Castle), before taking the road to Wildbach. That road cuts through vast forests before it enters Schneeberg from the east.

 

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When using the detours, there will be a high risk of traffic jams and other congestion because of the high volume of regular traffic that uses these routes. Each one will add at least 30 kilometers and 30 minutes to your estimated travel time.

There will be no changes in rail plans, but delays are expected as the two-track line at Silberstrasse will be reduced to one during the project. Travelers will need to plan ahead and be patient.

The Chronicles will keep you posted on the latest developments. Information on the Muldenbrücke at Wilkau-Hasslau and the Cainsdorf Bridge south of Zwickau can be found in the tour guide on Zwickau’s bridges, which you can access here.

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Out with the Old and In with the New

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The Cable-Stayed Bridge (left) and the 1954 Communist-era concrete slab bridge (right) standing side-by-side. Come June of this year, there will only be one crossing the Zwickau Mulde. Photos taken in February 2020

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Communist-style old bridge to be torn down, road to be realigned to new span. Cable-stayed bridge to open to traffic by the end of May.

SCHLUNZIG/ GLAUCHAU/ ZWICKAU, GERMANY- Commuters driving between Glauchau and Zwickau will have one less route to take for the next quarter of the year. The Schlunzig Bridge, spanning the River Zwickau Mulde, along with the road connecting Schlunzig and the Volkswagen Company in Mosel will be closed down beginning Monday. The 1954 bridge will be torn down, while the road and the approaches will be realigned to the new cable-stayed bridge. The electrical and water mains will also be rerouted to the cable-stayed bridge prior to the old bridge’s removal.  According to the Chemnitz Free Press, the demolition and road realignment project is expected to last through May.

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Construction on the new bridge began in 2017 and it came in response to the inspection report on the (now) 66-year old bridge that revealed grave deficiencies that made rehabilitating the bridge impracticle. The bridge sustained severe damage in the 2013 floods resulting in the limitation of the speed limit to 30 km/h. Originally scheduled to open last spring, the construction on the cable-stayed bridge was slowed due to weather as well as the delay in the shipment of cables originating from Spain. The cables were spun and the stayed cables were completed in December.

The old bridge was built in response to the Great Flood of 1954, where 80% of the crossings along the Zwickau Mulde were destroyed. Its predecessor was one of them- a polygonal Warren through truss bridge with curved lattice strut and portal bracings, plus deck truss approach spans. It had originally carried a 6-gauge railroad connecting Mosel with Thum, located 3 km east of Schlunzig. The structure was a pre-fabricated concrete slab bridge whose piers had a semi-triangular shape, typical of Communist-era bridges built prior to 1989.

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During the time of the bridge’s demolition and the preparation for the opening of the cable-stayed bridge, commuters will have the choice of using the Motorway 4 to Meerane and then Highway B93 to Zwickau or the B175 from Glauchau to Mosel via Niederschindmaas before joining the B93 at the Volkswagen Company exit.

Come time of the grand opening of the Schlunzig Cable-Stayed Bridge at the end of May, weather permitting, the Zwickau Mulde will have another suspension bridge added to the list of bridges of its type. The river in known to have over a dozen suspension and cantilever bridges- both past and present between Zwickau and Wurzen, including the Paradiesbrücke, the suspension bridge at Rochsburg, two suspension bridges at Rochlitz, the cantilever pedestrian span at Lunzenau and the suspension bridge in Grimma. With the new cable-stayed bridge at Schlunzig, it will attract more tourists, photographers and bridge enthusiasts to not only the village itself, but also to the region Glauchau-Zwickau as well as the along the river. A big plus for the region.

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 42

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Looks can be deceiving in this pic of the week. At first glance one sees a bridge with a tower. From an oblique angle like this and directly in the sun, one can be fooled easily. However, we have two bridges. In the foreground is a 60+ year old bridge that is a concrete beam bridge. The H-shaped tower belongs to the new, replacement bridge in the background.  Since the Summer 2017, work has been progressing on the replacement bridge that will feature a cable-stayed span with one tower. When completed by the end of July of this year, it will be the third bridge of its kind, which has one tower, regardless of what bridge type (cantilever truss, suspension, cable-stayed), and eighth suspension-style bridge along the Zwickau Mulde, including a small section of the Mulde going from Sermuth to Grimma. The total length will be 220 meters, 40 meters longer than its current span, and it will be 5 meters higher.

The current structure, which was built in 1954 to replace a crossing destroyed in the Great Flood, will be torn down afterwards. This bridge is located between Schlunzig and Mosel and provides key access to the Volkswagen Company, which is three kilometers away. The road serves as a backroad between Glauchau and Zwickau.

Enjoy a great sunny weekend, wherever you are! 🙂

 

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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.

 

Cainsdorf Bridge to be Replaced

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By André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
1929 Plate Girder to be Replaced by Two Bridges. Construction to begin in 2019

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CAINSDORF/ WILKAU-HASSLAU/ ZWICKAU (SAXONY)-

Three more bridges spanning the Zwickauer Mulde River  and its tributaries in western Saxony are about to get replacements over the next three years. Apart from the crossing at Schlunzig near Glauchau, a crossing just east of Schneppendorf Bridge at Crossen are going to get makeovers, going from a bland, Communist style structure to a modern but fancier one that is attractive to tourists. The third crossing to be replaced is this one in Cainsdorf, located south of Zwickau. Built in 1929, the two-span steel deck plate girder design is located just east of the train station and is a key bridge for all vehicles, including bikes. Sadly the 200 meter long bridge has been suffering from structural decay to a point where it was closed for emergency repairs this past fall and is now reopened to traffic but as a one-way crossing, going at 10 kph and with a 3.5 ton weight limit.

The Zwickau City Council has just recently approved a measure for not only one, but two new crossings to replace the Cainsdorf Bridge. At a cost of 14 million Euros ($20 million), construction will begin next year to build a new bridge, 300 meters north of the current structure. The bridge will remain open during the time of construction with the expected completion date being between 2020 and 2021. After the new bridge opens to traffic, the old one will be torn down and replaced with a pedestrian/bicycle bridge at its location. The design of the two bridges have yet to be clarified, however given its track record for having fancy bridge crossings, as seen at Lunzenau, Rochsburg, Wolkenburg, and even in neighboring Wilkau-Hasslau, chances are the new crossing for pedestrians and cyclist will be a modern but really fancy crossing which will make the train station located next to the present structure more and the Zwickau Mulde Bike Trail which passes the bridge even more attractive than before. The project will most likely include reconstructing portions of the bike trail (which is mostly a dirt path) as well as the street running parallel to the rail line connecting Aue and Zwickau.

In either case, many people, including commuters, cyclists and locals will no longer have to wait on the bridge at the traffic light without having to fear of the bridge’s collapse. With the realignment of the street and a new bridge for cars, people can drive to and from Zwickau more safely than in its current arrangement. And even more so for cyclists, as they will not have to worry about waiting to cross the tracks and main street. A win-win for the Ore Mountains which already has a good track record for fancy bridges.

 

 

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Niagara Falls to be Shut Down for Bridge Replacement

Niagara Falls to be Shut Down for Bridge Replacement

In 1969, Niagara Falls was shut down to look at the effects of erosion on the falls as well as the development of rocks at the bottom of the falls, which were impeding the flow of the Niagra River.  Yet if things go the way of the state parks department and the permits are granted, the American Falls portion of Niagra Falls could be shut down in three years for….

…..a bridge replacement!

Goat Island Bridge over Niagra River near American Falls on the US side of Niagra Falls. Photo taken in 2008. Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Green_Island_%26_Goat_Island_pedestrian_bridge_2008.jpg

Permits are being sought and contracts are being let to replace two bridges on Goat Island Road that span the Niagara River at American Falls. Each were built in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration project initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and consisted of stone arch bridges.

The mainland to Goat Island span is the longest and is 460 feet long, whereas the Goat to Green Island span is 180 feet.

Both bridges have been deteriorating rapidly and according to Buffalo News, the cost for rehabilitating the two spans would total $37 million, which was considered not viable given the current structural state and the materials used for bridge construction. It is unknown what type of bridge will be used as a replacement to the two structures.

The plan is to divert all water flow from the American Falls end to the Horseshoe Falls end in Canada. Horseshoe Falls accounts for 85% of all water flow from the Niagara River as it connects Lake Ontario with Lake Erie.

According to the same news source, a cofferdam will be installed where the river divides itself into two branches encircling the island towards the falls. This will shut off the water flow completely. This even will be historic and most likely a twice in a lifetime event as construction of the two bridges may take at least two years to complete. The question is when to shut off the water flow without affecting tourism.

While the option of allowing for bridge work while the water is flowing is open, it was rejected for unknown reasons. In either case, the event, if and when it happens will be historic  and a must-see in this generation….

…or should it be? What would happen if the water was diverted away and how it would affect the environmental surroundings? Is is necessary to have it shut down just for a couple bridges? What is your take on this?

The Chronicles will keep you informed on this update on the project. Stay tuned….

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REMINDER: You have one more week to vote on your favorite bridges and pontists for the 2015 Ammann Awards. Click here to look at the candidates. Remember! There are two parts with the first part being the photos and second having the ballots. Deadline is 2 February and the results will be presented the same day. So hurry if you want to vote!

Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge

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The Gasconade River in Missouri: once populated with dozens of metal truss bridges loaded with history and charm, the river that flows past Wright, LeClare and Gasconade Counties now only has one bridge left. This bridge, built in 1924, used to carry the Mother Highway from Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 (officially, US Hwy. 66). Sadly, this bridge is now the poster boy of how a state, like Missouri, has neglected its bridges, both modern and historic, and does not have the money to even maintain them.

Since December 2014, the Missouri Department of Transportation has closed this key crossing near Hazelgreen, despite its historic significance and its role in the development of Route 66. The bridge features three through truss spans and a pony span, going from far to near in the picture above: one Warren through truss, two Parker through trusses, one Warren pony and one beam approach, all totaling 524 feet in length, and all connections are riveted. The closure has sparked an outcry among locals, bridge enthusiasts and friends of Route 66 to a point where a rally took place back in March, drawing in as many as 300 attendants. The main objective is to put pressure on the State Legislature to provide funding to repair the deficiencies on the bridge and reopen it to traffic. Given the sparse amount of traffic on the bridge in comparison with the neighboring I-44 Bridge, located only 500 feet away.  Information and a video of the event which includes speeches, can be seen by clicking here.

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles had a chance to sit down and chat with one of the members of the Gasconade River Bridge group and Friends of Route 66, Roamin Rich, who spoke at the Rally, to find out what ideas they have to convince lawmakers at Jefferson City (Missouri’s state capital) that the bridge is a vital part of the highway’s history and should be reopened. Here’s what he has to say:

1. How significant is the bridge?

The bridge is significant in all facets.  It is a major thoroughfare for local traffic.  People in the community, farmers, emergency responders all depend on this bridge.  There are several farmers in the area that own land on both sides of the river.  They are forced to make a 12 mile detour now because of the bridge closure.  Before the closure this section of Highway (also historic Route 66) was being utilized as an incident bypass route.  So if traffic on I44 shut down, they would divert traffic across this section of road and the Gasconade Bridge.

2. What’s the history behind building the bridge?

I don’t know the history behind building the bridge other than it occurred around 1922-23.  It is unique in the fact that is constructed of 3 different types of truss designs.  (See author’s description above in the introduction)

3. What’s the current situation on the bridge- are there plans to demolish it?

The current situation is indefinite.  There is absolutely no money at all set aside for doing anything with this bridge.  I seriously don’t think they are going to demolish it even when they do come up with funding.  In talking with the chief engineer with MoDot I don’t think they want to mess with repairing it either.  A bypass bridge looks like their preferred choice.

4. How do you want to save the bridge- as a pedestrian bridge or by rehabilitation?

We would like to save the bridge no matter what happens.  We would like to see it put back into service but we are willing to accept any plan that ultimately prevents the destruction of the bridge.

5. How are you approaching the plan as far as fund-raising, etc. are concerned?

Right now we are hashing out ideas to raise funds to pay for an independent inspection of the bridge.  We have formed an official committee and plan to meet within the next 10 days.  We aren’t sure how we are going to raise funds at the moment.

6. How much money is needed to preserve the bridge?

Until our independent study is concluded we do not know how much money is needed to restore the bridge.  We are guessing between 1.5 – 3 million dollars.

7. When would you like to see the bridge reopened?

We would like the bridge to be reopened within the next 24 months.  Earlier is better, but we are being realistic.  The state has slashed highway budgets drastically.  It’s going to take a literal act of Congress to get something done.

The irony behind the interview is the fact that MoDOT is trying to cut corners by putting in a replacement bridge at any cost, which would bypass the historic bridge. Yet the envision behind the draconian replace instead of repair is that money is needed to maintain that bridge as well. Without the maintenance, the lifespan of the structure is cut in half. Therefore repairing the bridges only prolongs their lives up up to 50 years, enough time for the state legislature to garner enough funds to either overhaul the original structure or even replace it with a newer structure that has a functional and structural appeal. However, with the state cutting funding, the mentality is to let the bridges fall apart until replacement is the lone option. This is figuratively slitting their wrists and the blood of greenbacks is leaving the body in droves.  But if there is one message to give to the state through this rally it is this: This way of thinking has to change, and priorities have to change. That means fixing the bridges and restoring them have more priority than the slash and burn approach, which is costing more money than necessary. And with that, our history slips away into the books, something our society has longed ignored.

While the fundraising is in its infant stage, you can help preserve the Gasconade River Route 66 Bridge. You can click on the link in the article, where you’ll be in the Route 66 News page. Yet the group has a facebook page, which you can click here and like to join. There you can share your ideas with other members and help in saving the bridge. As mentioned above, bypassing the bridge seems to be the option, yet fixing a bridge that is only used locally would serve in everyone’s best interest. The Chronicles will keep you posted on the latest developments involving the bridge.

Enjoy the pics taken by Roamin Rich of the bridge and the Rally:

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Europabrücke in Rendsburg Coming Down

Underneath the Europabruecke near Rendsburg. Photo taken in May 2011
Underneath the Europabruecke near Rendsburg. Photo taken in May 2011

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RENDSBURG, GERMANY- It’s one of the longest and highest bridges in Schleswig-Holstein: 1457 meters long, 30 meters wide and 50 meters high above the Baltic-North Sea Canal. The Europabrücke, locally known as the Rader Hochbrücke, is one of the most heavily travelled bridges in northern Germany, carrying the main artery connecting Flensburg and all points in Scandanavia to the north and Hamburg and all points to the south, the motorway A7. Built in 1972, the cantilever deck bridge has reached the end of its useful life.

Unlike the April Fools joke involving neighboring Rendsburg High Bridge in 2013, this is a serious matter.

According to sources from shz.de, plans are in the making to replace the bridge with a wider and sturdier structure with plans to have the structure replaced in 12 years’ time. Two factors influence the decision by the Ministry of Transportation in Berlin and the state authorities in Kiel to replace the 43-year old bridge. First and foremost, inspection reports revealed wear and tear on the bridge’s deck, caused by extreme weather conditions, salt and debris from the canal it spans and lastly, too much traffic on the bridge. The bridge was closed for several weeks in 2013 because of spalling cracks in the concrete that needed to be patched. This resulted in chaos for travellers needed to detour through the tunnel in Rendsburg, the transporter portion of the Rendsburg High Bridge in order to get across or even the ferries near the city, just to name many alternatives.  The second factor for the bridge replacement is because the motorway is being widened from its present four lanes to six lanes, between Hamburg and Flensburg. Already underway is the stretch between Neumünster and Quickborn, the widening process will include replacing over four dozen bridges built in the 1950s, widening the present lanes and adding one additional one in each direction to ensure that travelling this stretch is safer than before. This stretch of A7 has been notorious for several accidents and traffic jams, especially near Hamburg. The bridge replacement will be part of the next stretch of highway to be widened.

While the design-phase is in its infancy, the plan is to build one half of the replacement span wide enough for four lanes of traffic. After shifting traffic onto the new span, the old span will be torn down and replaced with the second half of the replacement span. The plan is to have the bridge completed by 2027.

Yet pressure is being applied by German Transportation Minister Alexander Dobrindt to start construction of the new bridge as soon as possible, giving designers up to 18 months to complete the process before construction starts. The project is being considered for federal support by officials in Berlin. How long the designing process and the impact surveys will take place as well as when construction will start remains open. But given the critical situation of the bridge and the motorway, the bridge will most likely move up the priority ladder quickly so that work can start at the latest next year.

Judging by the bridge’s modern appearance, from the photographer’s and pontist’s  point of view, the bridge appeared to be functioning great and its sleak design makes it one of the crossings worth seeing while biking aling the Grand Canal. However, looks can be deceiving when looking at the cracks in the concrete. Given the recent bridge collapse in Cincinnati a few weeks ago, politicians and engineers are wasting no time getting the project moving forward in Rendsburg.

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles will keep you posted on the latest with the bridge. Together with sister column The Flensburg Files, a series on projects in Schleswig-Holstein is being produced to give travellers an idea what to expect in the coming months.

Oblique view of Europebruecke near Rendsburg. Photo taken in May 2011
Oblique view of Europebruecke near Rendsburg. Photo taken in May 2011

Author’s notes:

A series on the Bridges along the Baltic-North Sea Canal was produced by the Chronicles. The Europabrücke is found here.

The Flensburg Files is doing a quiz series on the 16 German states as part of the country’s 25th anniversary celebration. The first one on Schleswig-Holstein you can find here. The answers will come on 24 March.

And like the Files, The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is currently undergoing an upgrade to internet status. Articles will continue to be posted during the construction proces, which is expected to take a few weeks to complete. So stay here and enjoy the articles to come.