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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Historic Structures and Glasses: Restore vs. Replacement in Simpler Terms

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Co-written with sister column, FF new logo

The discussion about the preservation and reuse of historic places has existed since the 1950s, thanks to the preservation laws that have been in place. The German Preservation Laws were passed in 1958, whereas the Historic Preservation Laws that established the National Park Service and National Register of Historic Places in the USA were enacted in 1966. Both serve the lone purpose of identifying and designating places unique to the cultural identity and history of their respective countries. Furthermore, these places are protected from any sort of modernization that would otherwise alter or destroy the structure in its original form. Protected places often receive tax credits, grants and other amenities that are normally and often not granted if it is not protected or even nominated for listing as a historic site.  This applies to not only buildings and bridges but also to roadways and highways, windmills, towers of any sorts, forts and castles, citadels and educational institutions and even memorials commemorating important events.

Dedicating and designating sites often receive mixed reactions, from overwhelming joy because they can better enjoy the sites and educate the younger generations, to disgruntlement because they want to relieve themselves of a potential liability.

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Since working with a preservation group in western Saxony on saving the Bockau Arch Bridge, a seven-span stone arch bridge that spans the Zwickau Mulde between Bockau and Zschorlau, six kilometers southwest of Aue, the theme involving this structure has been ownership. The bridge has been closed to all traffic since August 2017 while a replacement is being built on a new alignment. Once the new bridge opens, the 150-year old structure will come down unless someone is willing to step in and take over ownership and the responsibilities involved. . Taking the structure means paying for its maintenance and assuming all responsibility for anything that could potentially happen. And this is the key here: Ownership.

Who wants to own a piece of history? To examine this, let’s look at a basic example of a commodity where two thirds of the world’s population wear on a regular basis- the author included as well: glasses.

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The author’s sunglasses: the older model from 2005 on top; the newest pair from 2018 at the bottom.

Ever since Marco Polo’s invention, glasses have been improved, innovated and modernized to not only make the person look great in appearance. It also helps them to better see the environment surrounding them, regardless of whether they are near-sighted or far sighted, have astigmatism or require bi-focals to read, or if they want protect their eyes from the sun in the form of shades. Glasses can be plastic or metal (or even both). And like the historic structures, the materials can be recycled if no one wants them. Yet by the same token, many of us love to keep them for the purpose of memories or give them away to those who need them. For over 30 years, I have worn nine pairs of glasses and two pairs of sunglasses; this does not count the eight years that I primarily wore contact lenses, which was during my time in high school and college. Like our historic structures, glasses have a life span. They are worn until the frames develop rust and corrosion, the vision changes or they are broken.

In some cases, many look for a new frames because they want to “look cool” in front of their peers. The “look cool” mentality has overtaken society to a point where it can be applicable to about everything: cars, clothing, houses and especially historic places and structures of interest. Basically, people just ignore the significance of these structures and things that had been built in the past, which hold memories, contribute to the development of a country, region or even community, or are simply fashionable. Still in spite of all this, one has to do something about the glasses, just as much one has to do something about the historic building.

So let’s take these two pairs of sunglasses, for example. Like in the picture above, the top one I was prescribed by an optometrist in 2005; the bottom one most recently in June 2018. The top one is a combination of plastic and steel- the temples, ends and hinges are made of steel; the eye wires are plastic. The lenses are made with Carl Zeiss branded glass with a sealcoat covering to protect it from scratches.  The bottom ones are plastic- frames, temples and nosepiece; the lenses are plastic but with a sealcoat protectant and dimmers to protect the eyes from the sun. The brand name is generic- no name.  The difference is that the changes in the eyes required new sunglasses for the purpose of driving or doing work outside.  As I wear the new sunglasses, which are not as high quality but is “cool,” according to standards, the question is what to do with the old sunglasses?

There are enough options to go around, even if the sunglasses are not considered significant. One can keep the old pair for memory purposes. Good if you have enough space for them. One can give them away to someone who needs them. If they are non-prescription lenses, that is much easier than those with a prescription. With the prescription lenses, one will need to remove them from the frame before giving them away. Then there is the option of handing them into the glasses provider, who takes the pair apart and allows for the materials to be recycled.  More likely one will return the old pair to the provider to be recycled and reused than it would be to give them away because of the factors of age, quality of the materials and glass parts and especially the questions with the lenses themselves. One can keep the pair, but it would be the same as leaving them out of sight and out of mind.

And this mentality can be implemented to any historic structure. People strive for cooler, more modern buildings, infrastructure or the like, but do not pay attention to the significance of the structure they are replacing in terms of learning about the past and figuring its reuse in the future. While some of  these “oldtimers “ are eventually vacated and abandoned, most of them are eventually torn down with the materials being reused for other purposes; parts of sentimental values, such as finials, statues and plaques, are donated to museums and other associations to be put on display.

The Bridge at Pointer’s Ridge. Built in 1910 by the Western Bridge Company of Omaha, NE. The Big Sioux River crossing was one of five bridges removed after years of abandonment in 2012. Photo taken in 1999 when it was still open.

One of examples that comes to mind when looking at this mentality are the bridges of Minnehaha County in South Dakota. The most populous county in the state whose county seat is Sioux Falls (also the largest city in the state), the county used to have dozens of historic truss bridges that served rail and automobile traffic. As of present, 30 known truss bridges exists in the county, down from 43 in 1990, and half as many as in 1980.  At least six of them are abandoned awaiting reuse. This includes a rails-to-road bridge that was replaced in 1997 but has been sitting alongside a gravel road just outside Dell Rapids ever since.  A big highlight came with the fall of five truss bridges between Dell Rapids and Crooks in 2012, which included three through truss spans- two of which had crossed the Big Sioux. All three were eligible for the National Register. The reasons behind the removal were simple: Abandoned for too long and liability was too much to handle

This leads me to my last point on the glasses principle: what if the structures are protected by law, listed as a historic monument?  Let’s look at the glasses principle again to answer that question. Imagine you have a couple sets of glasses you don’t want to part ways with, even as you clean your room or  flat. What do you do with them? In the case of my old sunglasses, the answer is simple- I keep them for one can reuse them for other purposes. Even if I allow my own daughter to use them for decorating dolls or giant teddy bears, or even for artwork, the old pair is mine, if and only if I want to keep them and allow for use by someone else under my care.  The only way I would not keep the old sunglasses is if I really want to get rid of them and no one wants them.

Big Sioux River Crossing at 255th Street: One of five bridges removed in 2012 after decades of abandonment. Photo taken in 1999.

For historic places, this is where we have somewhat of a grey area. If you treat the historic place as if it is protected and provide great care for it, then there is a guarantee that it will remain in its original, pristine condition. The problem is if you want to get rid of it and your place is protected by law. Here you must find the right person who will take as good care of it as you do with your glasses. And that is not easy because the owner must have the financial security and the willpower just to do that. Then the person taking it over does not automatically do what he/she pleases. If protected under preservation laws you must treat it as if it is yours but it is actually not, just like renting a house.  Half the places that have been torn down despite its designation as a historical site was because of the lack of ownership and their willingness to do something to their liking. Even if there are options for restoration available, if no one wants it, it has to go, even if it means taking it off the historic registry list to do that.  Sometimes properties are reclaimed at the very last second, just like the old glasses, because of the need to save it. While one can easily do that with glasses, it is difficult to do that with historic places, for replacement contracts often include removal clauses for the old structure, something that is very difficult to rescind without taking the matter to court.

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In reference to the project on the Bockau Arch Bridge in Germany, we are actually at that point. Despite its protection as a historic structure, its designation was taken off recently, thus allowing for the contract for the new bridge at the expense of the old structure to proceed. Yet, like with the pair of old glasses, last ditch attempts are being made to stop the process for there are possible suitors willing to take over the old structure and repurpose it for bike and pedestrian use. While neither of the communities have expressed interest, despite convincing arguments that the bridge can be maintained at a price that is 100 times less than the calculated amount, the group working to save the bridge is forming an association which will feature a network of patrons in the region, willing to chip in to own the bridge privately. Despite this, the debate on ownership and the bridge’s future lies in the hands of the state parliament because the bridge carries a federal highway, which is maintained on the state and national levels. Will it become like the old pair of glasses that is saved the last second will be decided upon later this fall.

To summarize briefly on the glasses principle, glasses and buildings each have a short lifespan because of their functionality and appearance. We tend to favor the latter more than the former and therefore, replace them with newer, more modern and stylish things to keep up with the pace. However, the older structures, just like the discarded pair of glasses, are downgraded on the scale, despite its protection under laws and ownership. When listed as a historical site, the proprietor works for and together with the government to ensure its upkeep, just like lending old glasses to someone for use, as long as the person knows he/she is “borrowing” it. When it is not listed , they are either abandoned or torn down, just like storing the glasses in the drawers or even having them recycled. However the decision is final if and only if no one wants it, and this could be a last-second thing.

The Bridge at Iverson Crossing south of Sioux Falls. Built in 1897, added to the National Register in 1996. Now privately owned. Photo taken in 1998.

We cannot plan ahead for things that need to be built, expanded or even replaced, for there may be someone with a strong backbone and staunch support who will step in the last minute to stake their claim. This applies to replacing older, historic structures with modern ones that have less taste and value. In the face of environmental issues we’re seeing globally on a daily basis, we have to use and reuse buildings and other structures to prevent the waste of materials that are becoming rarer to use, the destruction of natural habitats that may never recover but most importantly, remind the younger generations of our history and how we got this far. While some of us have little memories of our old glasses in schools with the exception of school class and party photos, almost all of us have memories of our experiences at, in, or on a historic structure that deserves to be recognized and kept for others to see. It’s just a matter of handling them, like the glasses we are wearing.

 

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World Heritage Site for historic bridges

Rendsburg High Bridge in Rendsburg, Germany Photo taken by the author in April 2011

Historic Bridges and national recognition. Pending on which country your bridge is located in, bridges like this one in Germany, the Rendsburg High Bridge over the Baltic-North Sea Canal between Hamburg and Flensburg, are protected by federal preservation laws based on their structural integrity, cultural heritage, history in terms of engineering, technology, the connection to certain events, and other unique values. These laws protect the structures from any form of alteration which could potentially compromise the integrity of the structure. At the same time, bridges protected by preservation laws are eligible for grants to preserve them for future generations. This also includes relocating them if they are in the way of progress. Every country has its set of preservation laws covering places of interest on all levels. The Denkmalschutz Law in Germany, conceived by Hartwig Beseler in 1959 covers historic places on three levels (local, state and federal) and lists all artefacts in the heritage books based on significance in terms of the historical, cultural, technical and environmental context. The Rendsburg Bridge was nominated based on technical aspects.  In the United States, we have the National Register of Historic Places, which was created as part of the Historic Preservation Act in 1966 thanks to recommendations by then First Lady Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson. As many as 30,000 historic bridges are listed on the Register with triple the amount eligible based on four different criteria.

Yet a bridge being considered a World Heritage Site is the most exclusive of all rights given to a structure. Developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)in 1972, the World Heritage program is designated to areas around the world that are rich in its own heritage, whether it is cultural, environmental, technical or other aspects, and are one of a kind. UNESCO outlined the definition of a Cultural and National Heritage Site in its 1972 Convention which can be seen here.  There are two advantages of having a place be considered a historic site. First it can promote tourism in the area and through its international recognition provide municipalities with additional revenue to maintain the facility and protect it from encroachment by developers. And secondly, areas that are threatened receive funding through UNESCO’s World Heritage Fund, which is donated annually by the public and private sectors and dispersed to areas that need the assistance to find ways to protect the area. Like the National Register of Historic Places in the US, the World Heritage status of a site is put on the red list and removed should it be altered by any form of development that could harm the site permanently. This happened to the Elbe River Valley southeast of Dresden (Germany) in 2009, when the Waldschlösschen Bridge was built directly in the site, thus losing its World Heritage Status. This was the second time in its history that it happened, and the region is the only one in Europe that has been de-listed.

But the World Heritage site also applies to historic bridges as well, for as they were developed, engineers invented new bridge types and other mechanisms that made their construction easier and the structure itself sturdier and safer, while at the same time, keeping their aesthetics by making them fancier for tourists not to miss them when they cross them. Eric DeLony of the Historic American Engineer’s Record in a manuscript produced in 1996 for the The International Committee For The Conservation Of The Industrial Heritage (TICCIH) stated that historic bridges must also meet the requirements that have a universal, one of a kind value:

A World Heritage bridge, like other properties, must meet the test of authenticity in design, materials, workmanship, or setting (the Committee has stressed that reconstruction is only acceptable if carried out on the basis of complete and detailed documentation of the original artefact and to no extent on conjecture).

But because of their age and rarity, these structures, listed on the World Heritage, also require protection by the laws to ensure that their status is not threatened and that they can remain in its original form without being altered beyond recognition, as DeLony stated in his address to TICCIH:

Bridges nominated for World Heritage listing also must have legal protection and management mechanisms to ensure their conservation. The existence of protective legislation at the national, provincial, or municipal level is therefore essential and must be clearly stated in the nomination. Guidelines for nominations state that each property should be compared with properties of the same type dating from the same period, both within and outside the nominating State Party’s borders.

Unlike the tens of thousands of bridges that are listed as heritage sites on a national level, the number of historic bridges listed as World Heritage bridges are very few in number, with thousands of them waiting in line to receive their international status. This leads to the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ Questions for the Forum:

1. Which bridges are listed on the World Heritage Site? Name them, the bridge type and their location.

2. Which bridge was just recently listed on the World Heritage Site? Why was this bridge so important enough to receive this recognition?

3. There is one bridge that is nominated for a World Heritage Site status for 2015. Name that bridge and decide if the bridge should receive such a status with your reasons for your argument.

4. Of the tens of thousands of bridges waiting to become a World Heritage Bridge, which bridges in your country should be listed and why?

The author will provide the answers and his own list of bridges that should be included on Thursday. In the meantime, you are free to post your arguments in the comment section in the Chronicles page here, as well as on facebook and LinkedIn and through James Baughn’s Bridgehunter website.  Happy Bridgehunting and research and loooking forward to your answers and statements.

Flood Aftermath in Europe

All photos courtesy of the City of Linz

Produced together with sister column: The Flensburg Files

Clean-up of flooded areas underway. Several small crossings destroyed by flooding, mostly concrete beam bridges. Others doomed due to damage. Linz Railroad Bridge spared flooding and near ship mishap but fate sealed?

Four weeks where fields became lakes, towns became small Italian villages, and farmers and merchants became gondola drivers and boaters. That is the signature of the Great Flood of 2013 in central Europe.  Heavy rainfall caused several major rivers in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and other countries to flood their banks, setting new records, destroying livelihoods and causing damages that are exorbitant financially and in a literal sense. In Germany alone, 10 out of 16 states were declared disaster areas, with the hardest hit areas being in Bavaria, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony. Cities, like Passau, Halle (Saale), Magdeburg and Luneberg broke 400-500 year old records with much of the city being under water.

But surprisingly according to newspaper reports, unlike the Great Flood of 2002, damages to the bridges in Europe were minimal. While many smaller bridges were destroyed because of flash floods, the major bridges along the Saale, Elbe, Danube and Rhine Rivers (among them) sustained little to moderate damage. This is a stark contrast to what happened in 2002, where many major crossings were damaged to a point where demolition and replacement were warranted. This included the Pöppelmann Bridge in Grimma (Saxony), a 1719 stone arch bridge that was undermined in the 2002 flooding and had to be rebuilt. While Grimma was flooded out again this time around, the bridge survived the flood thanks in part to the main span allowing water to pass through.

Old Magdeburg Railroad Bridge spanning the Elbe- Photo taken in February 2011

But it does not mean that the bridges that survived the floods and mudslides are safe. Many bridges are being inspected to ensure they are safe for travelling. This includes the Elbe River crossings between Magdeburg and Lauenburg, where the Elbe put hundreds of miles of highways and rail lines underwater together with the bridges. While bridges like the historic Anna Ebert Bridge in Magdeburg are being inspected for structural concerns to determine whether street cars can use it again, it is possible that an even bigger solution to the flooding problem will come at the expense of these crossings as many local and state government officials are looking at all options possible to ensure that the next round of floodwaters stay in the rivers and not flood the banks. This includes raising some bridges and rebuilding and removing those that are hindering the flow of water. This puts such crossings like this and  the old railroad bridge over the Old Elbe River located downstream from the Anna Ebert Bridge, at risk. A link to the bridges of Magdeburg is here if you wish to look at the city’s bridges and their history.

Anne Ebert Bridge- Photo taken in February 2011

One of the interesting facts about this round of floods is the fact that not only the small river crossings were undermined and destroyed by flood waters, but the majority of the bridges destroyed in the floods were concrete beam bridges built between the 1980s and 2000s. This is unusual given the fact that beam bridges were built to allow river currents to flow over and underneath the structure. But as you can see in a video of a beam bridge being washed away in Poland two weeks prior to the Great Flood, if the river current is strong enough, it can cause the span to sag and eventually break it apart and wash it away. You can see the full video here. This was exactly what happened to the bridges in eastern Thuringia and western Saxony in the area of Zwickau and Chemnitz, as these crossings were either wiped out or damaged to a point where replacement is now a necessity. Even if beam bridges are made of wood and steel, many of them crossing these small streams were wiped out or barely survived but are not stable enough to be repaired. This will most likely lead to the question of which other bridge types to be used when these structures are being replaced, for many arch, suspension, cable-stayed and truss bridges survived the onslaught of flood waters with little or no damage. Interestingly enough, these types are being used more extensively for bridge construction here in Europe than beam bridges, which should put other countries (like the US and Canada), their agencies, politicians and bridge builders on notice regarding bridges to be used not only to accommodate traffic across ravines but also be structurally sound against such natural disasters.

To close this series on bridge disasters and the Great Flood of 2013, there are a couple interesting bridge stories to mention that provide some lessons in dollars and sense. One deals with preventive measures to keep a temporary bridge from being washed away at the cost of many thousands of Euros. Another bridge survived a near boat mishap, to the dismay of the majority of the community the bridge is located, for the 110-year old structure is due for replacement but is protected by federal preservation laws, which officials are pursuing to have this protection revoke to allow for the bridge replacement to proceed.  Here are the details:

Flood destroys new bridge abutments and temporary bridge in Zschopau, Saxony:

Many small bridges along this small river in western Saxony were severely damaged or destroyed during the floods. This bridge is one of them. Located along the Zschopau River in the town bearing the river’s name, near Chemitz, the Bailey pony truss bridge was supposed to serve as a temporary crossing as a new bridge was being built replacing a two-span brick arch bridge. Yet misunderstanding plus political inaction and rushing water doomed the temporary bridge as the floods not only destroyed the bridge, but also the abutments of the new bridge being built. This created a stir among residents who were against the construction of a new bridge and had pushed to temporarily remove the Bailey truss from the river, both unfortunately to no avail. The bridge has long since been fished out of the river, and a new temporary bridge is planned at the moment, but at costs that would have been avoided had action been taken earlier.  As for the new bridge, it is unknown when it will be completed for construction crews will have to build a new bridge completely from scratch, even revising their plans to ensure that the structure will survive such onslaughts as this one. An article on the bridge can be found here.

Linz Railroad Bridge survives flood and close call:

Never has there been such discontent towards a bridge as the city of Linz in Austria. As reported last year, the three-span through truss bridge spanning the Danube River has been targeted for demolition and replacement by politicians and the majority of the community, even after a pair of reports indicated that half of the bridge cannot be restored. Yet this 1903 structure has been protected by the Austrian Heritage Laws because of its historic significance to the region and its rare truss type that was used in bridge construction in Austria. This bridge survived a close call as a small ship traveling along the high flowing Danube River almost rammed into the bridge. However, this was not before having to evacuate 120 Swiss tourists ashore prior to its passage. The ship barely made it across the rising river. A few more centimeters and a collision with the truss bridge would have been likely, causing damage to both the boat and the structure. An article on this incident can be found here.  While many were wishing that the accident would have happened and the bridge would have either collapsed or been damaged to a point of irreparably, government officials, which includes the city council, the mayor of Linz and the railroad company that runs trains across the bridge have filed a petition to the Austrian Heritage Office in Vienna to have its historic status revoked, so that the replacement of the bridge could proceed at the earliest in 2014. While the decision was expected last month, there is still no word on whether this waiver will be granted. If the request is denied, the city and the railroad will be forced to consider alternatives, which includes rehabilitating the entire structure. This will take twice as long as the two years needed to replace the bridge. More information on this bridge can be found through the OÖ Nachricht here as well as through the Chronicles, here, which will keep you posted on the latest on this bridge. An organization aimed to save the bridge has been created. You can find them by clicking on here.

Our last part of the Flood Series focuses on Canada and its acute flooding situation which has ripped railroads out of their beds and dropped many important crossings into the water, including the ones in the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Stay tuned!

You can view the highlights of the Great Flood of 2013 in Europe through sister column the Flensburg Files, which you can click on here.

 

 

 

Lindaunis/ Schlei Drawbridge

Panoramic view of the bridge- Photo taken in April 2011

Schleswig-Holstein has a lot of opportunities for tourists wanting to spend a few days there, regardless of where and what interests they have. The land is almost a peninsula, with the Baltic Sea lining up along the eastern end of the state, the North Sea along the western edge. And then there is the isthmus located at Flensburg which is about 60 kilometers wide and connects the state with neighboring Denmark. While much of the region is flat, the state is known for its lakes; among them is a chain of lakes, stretching about 45 kilometers from its starting point in Schleswig until it empties into the Baltic Sea between Kappeln and Eckerfoerde. Each of the seven lakes is connected by a strait, but there are only a total of three crossings one can choose.

The Lindaunis/ Schlei Drawbridge is one of the crossings that is worth a visit; if one chooses to spend an hour that is. The bridge is located over the Schlei Strait at the village of Lindaunis, located on the north end of the strait. It carries a local street connecting Lindaunis with neighboring Riesby as well as the railline connecting Flensburg and Kiel via Eckerfoerde. Since the railway station no longer exists- the building now houses a restaurant overlooking the chain of lakes- one has to get off at the nearest station, which is Riesby- located about 7 kilometers south of the bridge- and then backtrack along the main road until reaching the destination. Not to worry though, the way to the bridge has been marked so that no one gets lost.

The bridge consists of two spans- a Warren through truss bridge with riveted connections and an arch-shaped portal bracing, and a bascule span, which is commonly known as a draw bridge. The draw bridge, also built of a Warren truss design but has no overhead bracing, opens in a single leaf form, which means that the entire span is lifted to a vertical 80° angle to allow sailboats, yachts, and other boats to pass through the crossing. The bridge was an example of an SKR Bridge, a standardized railroad bridge that was developed by German civil engineer, Gottwalt Schaper, who worked for Krupp Steel (now Thuysen-Krupp) as well as the minister of transportation from 1919 until his death in 1942. The initials stood for Schaper, Krupp, and Reichsbahn (the name of the railroad in Germany during his lifetime). This structure was an early example of the SKR design that was used at the time of its completion in 1927. However it was later used both as temporary bridges as well as permanent railroad crossings after World War II, when most of the country’s bridges were destroyed- either through bombings by Allied troops or by the Nazis who detonated them in an attempt to stave off the advancing troops- and the crossings were needed as part of the reconstruction process.

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Lindaunis Bridge- portal view and with the drawbridge open for boat traffic; Photo taken in April 2011

 

 

The bridge still functions today just like it did when it was open in 1927. The bridge has one land which is shared by both car and rail traffic. This is regulated through traffic signals, where one lane is allowed to use it at a time. The bascule span is opened every hour at 15 minutes before the hour and stays open for approximately 15 minutes to allow for boat traffic to pass through it. Pending on the season, the draw bridge operates from dawn to dusk and is controlled by an operator, whose tenant’s office is on the north end of the draw bridge span. While the drawbridge originally functioned on the use of chains, it was later replaced with hydraulics in 1975. As part of the plan to renovate the bridge beginning in 2012, a new electronic system will be installed at the tenant’s station to ensure that the span functions efficiently and with no complications.

 

 

 

Since 1997, the bridge has been listed as culturally and technically significant because of its unique design and its early example of the SKR truss that was used at the time of its construction. This means the bridge is protected by law (Denkmalschutzgesetz) and that no alteration to the structure is to be made. Should the bridge sustain any damage and must be reconstructed, then it must be done exactly the way it was before the mishap. The Lindaunis is the oldest bridge still in operation in the state and attempts are being made to ensure that the bridge will continue to function within the next 40-50 years. Like in many towns and villages in Germany and elsewhere, the village of Lindaunis is touting its success around this unique piece of infrastructural wonder through its restaurant located in the old station near the bridge and providing tourists with a glimpse of the bridge and how it works. From a pontist’s point of view, it may be difficult to make that 7km journey from Riesby to Lindaunis by bike, but in the end, the journey is worth the effort as one can see the bridge, not only in terms of its beauty but also in its functionality as a truss bridge with a bascule span. When both go together and the bascule span opens to boat traffic, one can simply awe in the landscape as each boat glides along the Schlei and the bridge remains in an open position until the last boat goes through and the span closes for the cars and trains to use.

After this bridge, the next stop will be a pair of bridges in the capital of Kiel- one of which represents a unique example of a movable bridge that will raise the eyebrows of many engineers.

Links:

http://www.wesselhoeft.net/Schlei-Info/Info.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindaunis_Bridge

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottwalt_Schaper

http://www.kappeln-eschmidt.de/seiten/2005_10_28-2/2005_10_28-2.htm