Wartime Bridges: Stories of Bridges and their Roles in World War II now being collected for series

The Bridge at Tczew, Poland. Supposedly the bridge that sparked World War II in September 1939. It was destroyed on September 1, 1939 during the Nazi Invasion. Drawn by Ernst Keil in 1858 after its opening.

Wartime Bridge Series

In connection with the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 10th anniversary of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and sister column The Flensburg Files, we’re starting a series on Wartime Bridges. In this series, we’ll look at the (historic) bridges that played a key role in World War II. They include popular and historic bridges that were destroyed in the war, like the bridges in Cologne, Frankfurt and Berlin, the third city there’s a book written on it which will be presented as a separate article later.  They can also include bridges that were used for troops to cross as they march their way to victory. Two bridges have been mentioned in separate articles in the Chronicles- the Pegasus Bridge in France and the Remagen Bridge over the River Rhine in Germany.  Nonetheless, the question is which other bridges played a key role in the war, regardless of outcome?

There are two ways to present your articles:

  1. If you have a blog or other online column, you can proceed with doing a write-up on the bridge of your choice, send the link with the finished product and it will be reblogged onto the two columns.
  2. If you don’t have a blog or online column, or you have a blog but would prefer not having it reblogged, you can write an article on it and send it directly to the Chronicles, using the contact details provided here.

The articles will be posted in both the Chronicles and the Files including whatever photos you wish to have on there. If it comes from a source other than yours, please cite the source.

We will start with the bridges in the European theater for World War II ended on 8 May, 1945 with Germany’s surrender. The series on the Bridges of World War II in Europe will continue until September. From that point on until the end of this year, we will focus on the bridges in the Pacific theater and their key roles. Japan surrendered on 2 September, 1945.

To give you an idea what’s expected, here are the two sample articles that were posted recently:

The Bridge at Remagen (D)

Pegasus Bridge (Fr)

Another bridge mentioned is the Tczew Bridge in Poland, which was supposedly the place where the first shots were fired. The story can be found here.

Looking forward to your written works. It’s open to all, not just the pontists, historians and photographers.

BHC 10 years

FlFi10

 

 

 

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 88 (Guessing Quiz)

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BHC FORUM

The 88th Pic of the Week takes us to Paris and to this viaduct, photographed in 1999. The viaduct is double-deckered, as seen in this picture taken from the bottom half with a tunnel view. There are people using the center aisle the outer lanes being used for cars and the like at that time.

The question is: Where in Paris is this located?  Post your comments here and on the Chronicles’ facebook page. The answer will come next week.

Good luck! 🙂

 

BHC 10 years

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 82

This week’s best pic takes us a long ways back. How far back? To 2006 and my days in Geneva in Switzerland. For three months I did an internship in the field of Health and Nutrition at the World Health Organization. It was an internship that carried with it, lots of memories both at work as well as outside work, visiting the region of Geneva with my wife and friends that I made there- many of them I’m still in contact with to this day. It was also during this time, I embarked on a wide bridgehunting tour which included all of the greater Geneva area, as well as Lucerne and Berne- be it by bike (most of the time), by foot or sometimes by train.

This pic was taken on the banks of the River Rhone in the town of Chancy. Chancy is located at the very tip of Switzerland with much of the mountainous surroundings occupied by neighboring France. This bridge, a three-span bowstring arch through truss bridge with curved Parker truss features, carries the very last road that leaves Geneva (and Switzerland) and enters France. The truss bridge was built in 1907 replacing a wooden crossing. A border control booth was located on the Swiss side, together with the bus stop that ends at the bridge. Since there are no longer border controls at the bridge, a connecting regional bus to Bellegarde in France picks up the passengers before crossing the structure. The photo was taken on the French banks of the Rhone, where water levels were quite low during that summer. The bridge was found behind the trees with the mountains in the background. A picturesque shot which capped my day of biking along the Rhone.

This bridge was featured in a book written in 2005 on Geneva’s bridges, albeit written in French. But sometime down the road there will be one written in German, Italian and English, to better understand how these structures, spanning the Rhone plus three other smaller tributaries, played a key role in the development of one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, the place where the international organizations got its start but are now scattered all over the place. The United Nations, which the WHO belongs to, had its headquarters in Geneva before moving to its current location in New York, yet other UN organizations still reside here.

2019 BHC Bridgehunter Awards- Final Results

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Harrisburg Covered Bridge in South Carolina: Winner of the Jet Lowe Awards   Photo taken by Darlene Hunter

 

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After revealing the author’s pics through the Author’s Choice Awards yesterday, here are the final results of the 2019 Bridgehunter Awards. I’m doing things a bit differently this year. The results will be posted including some highlights. Yet the details of this award and the Author’s Choice Awards will be posted as a podcast, to enable readers to get to the point in terms of results but also listen to the details. The podcast will appear in the next post.

Best Photo

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Highlights: 

Top Four photos taken by two photographers.

New records set in this category including highest number of votes in one category.

Not one candidate had less than 200 votes

 

Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge International

BHA 19 Best Kept Ind Int

Highlights:

Brunel Swivel and Rosenstein also share the Author’s Choice Award title for best Bridge Find.

Top Six finishers either from Germany or the UK.

Blow-out finish for the Swivel.

 

Tour Guide International

BHA 19 Tour Guide International

Highlights:

Title stays in Germany but going west for the first time

Big day for the Bridges of Edersee in this and the category Mystery Bridge (finishing second)

 

Lifetime Achievement

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Highlights:

Tight race especially in the top three

Winner, who has been the webmaster of Bridgehunter.com, will be interviewed later in the year. Congratulations to James Baughn on his 20 years experience.

 

Bridge of the Year

BHA 19 Bridge of the Year

Highlights:

Two Iowa Bridges finish in the top 2 outdoing the international competition. This despite their uncertain futures

Tight finish between the second and fifth place finishers.

 

Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge US/Canada:

BHA 19 Best Kept Ind US

Highlights:

Top two finishers are scheduled to be renovated.

Bronze medalist’s future unclear

Royal Springs Bridge oldest in Kentucky.

 

Bridge Tour Guide USA

BHA 19 Bridge Tour Guide USA

Highlights:

Winner has several restored historic truss bridges including the lone remaining Stearns through truss span (Gilmore Bridge)

Book on the Bridges along Route 66 to be presented plus interview later in the Chronicles

Madison County includes the freshly rebuilt Cedar Covered Bridge plus five other original covered bridges.

 

Mystery Bridge

BHA 19 Mystery

Highlights:

Top eight finishers received more than 100 votes each. 7th place finisher (Rosenstein) received 120 votes. 8th place finisher (Wichert Viaduct) received 100 votes.

Tight finish among the top six finishers.

Third and fourth place finishers are no longer extant- Buckatunna collapsed in January ’19; Dale Bend was destroyed in an accident on January 30th, ’19

 

Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge

BHA 19 Delony Awards

Highlights:

Third Award in a row in this category for the crew of Julie Bowers, Nels Raynor and crew at Workin Bridges and BACH Steel.

Longfellow and Winona Bridges Awarded Author’s Choice for their work.

Second place finisher is first bridge in the world made of cast iron. Delicate restoration needed.

Several lead changes in this category.

 

Last but not least, the following announcements:

This year’s Bridgehunter Awards will be its 10th, which coincides with the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ 10th anniversary. Therefore, entries are being taken now and until December 1st for the 2020 Bridgehunter Awards. They include two new categories which will be presented in detail in a later article. Details on how to enter is found here. 

The top four finishers in the category Best Bridge Photo will have their photos displayed on the Chronicles’ website and its facebook and twitter pages between the middle of January and the end of July this year. Details in the podcast.

The 2019 Bridgehunter Awards will include a tribute to a former bridge engineer from Pittsburgh, whose invention has made inspecting bridges and diagnosting deficiencies requiring repairs instead of replacement much more advanced. More on him after the podcast.

Congratulations to all the candidates on their bridge entries and voters like you for supporting them in the 2019 Awards. And a big honor to the top finishers in each category! You deserve it! 🙂

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Historic Suspension Bridge Collapses: two dead

Photo taken by Webduc [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D
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1931 Suspension Bridge over the River Tarn Collapses after Overweight Truck Crosses It. Many People Missing

TOULOUSE, FRANCE- Police investigators are looking into the causes of the collapse of a suspension bridge, which spanned the River Tarn between the towns of Mirepoix-sur-Tarn and Bessières, located 18 miles (35 kilometers) north of Toulouse in southwestern France. The collapse happened yesterday morning at around 8:35am, sending at least two vehicles into the rushing waters of the Tarn. A 15-year old girl was killed on the wreck, her body was found downstream from the wreckage. She was the passenger of the car driven by her mother, which fell in. The mother was pulled out of the wreck by locals.  Also killed was a 39-year old truck driver, who was also on the bridge at the time of the collapse.  Five people were reported injured; three of which during the rescue operations. Officials still fear many more missing and search crews are scouting the scene to find potential bodies, etc.  Eyewitnesses saw the bridge collapse shortly after an overweight truck had crossed the structure. The 155 meter long suspension bridge had a weight limit of 19 tons and the latest inspection reports (2017) revealed no structural defects. Charges against the driver of the truck are pending.

A video below shows the wreckage of the bridge and the rushing waters of the River Tarn. Basically, the suspender cables, which connected the main cables with the trussed roadway snapped, sending the roadway into the river.

The suspension bridge itself was built in 1931 by the engineering firm Baudin Chateauneuf, which specialized in constructing viaducts and major crossings in France. Its predecessor was an 1800s suspension bridge with arched towers. It was destroyed in a flood in 1930. Like its predecessor, the suspension bridge has wired cables and used to have suspenders that supported the roadway. The decking was supported with subdivided Warren pony trusses. It was last renovated in 2003. The bridge was a local favorite for the communities and was a key crossing, yet concerns came about regarding its stability because of increasing numbers of vehicles crossing it, some of which exceed the 19 ton weight mimit. The roadway was only 7 meters wide (20 feet).

It’s unknown whether the bridge will be rebuilt. It’s currently blocked off on both sides and an inspection report will need to be carried out to determine its salvageability. More details to come in the Chronicles via its facebook and twitter pages.

 

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2017 Ammann Award Results: Part 1

Rock Island Rail-to-Trail Bridge in Little Rock, AR at night. Photo taken by Chauncy Neuman, winner of this year’s Best Photo Award

New Olympic-Style Medal System to the Top Six Finishers

Record Number of Voter Participation

SCHNEEBERG (SAXONY), GERMANY- 2018 is here, and with it, the revealing of the winners of the 2017 Othmar H. Ammann Awards. This year’s awards ceremony is far different than in years’ past. For instance, instead of announcing the winners in nummerical order from top to bottom, the top six winners receive a medal in a combination of Olympics and Ore Mountain form. That means the top three finishers receive the typical Olympic medals, whereas 4th to 6th place finishers receive medals typical of the Ore Mountain region in Saxony in eastern Germany, the new home for this column (specifically, in Schneeberg). That means tourquoise, copper and iron ore to those respective finishers. To view the total number of candidates please click here for details, including how they finished.

This year’s awards set some impressive records that can only be bested by more participation and more awareness of the historic bridges that we have left in general. For instance, we had records smashed for the highest number of voter turnout in each of the nine categories. Furthermore, there were at least seven lead changes in each category, which was also a first. In four of the categories, there were lead changes with at least four of the candidates. In another category, each of the candidates took a shot at first place and stayed at the top for at least a week before it was dethroned in favor of another one. In summary, no leader was safe regardless of margin that was built with its second place competitor. 🙂

And with that we will take a look at the winners of the 2017 Ammann Awards, divided up into two parts so that the readers are not overwhelmed with the content. The winners of the 2017 Author’s Choice, where the author himself picks his favorites, will follow. But for now, let’s see what the voters have chosen for bridge favorites beginning with…..

 

BEST PHOTO:

This year’s Best Photo Category brought in not only double the number of candidates as last year (12 entries) but also double as many candidates that vied for first place as last year- there was a battle among three candidates for the top spot for the 2016 Awards. All six candidates finished in the top six with Chauncy Neumann bringing home the gold for his night photo of the Rock Island Railroad Bridge in Little Rock, AR., a fine example of a rail-to-trail crossing that still has its use in its second life today. His photo can be seen in the Chronicles’ facebook page as well as an avatar for the Chronicles’ twitter page. The silver medal went to Esko Räntilla for his stone arch bridge, built in the 1700s spanning a small creek in Finnland. That photo can be seen in the Chronicles’ wordpress page. Third place finisher receiving the bronze was Kevin Skow for his shot of the pony truss bridge Mill Creek in Kansas. His photo can be seen on the Chronicles’ twitter page. All of them will remain to be seen until mid-July before they become part of the header rotating page for the Chronicles’ wordpress page. The rest of the results:

Draschwitz Bridge north of Zeitz in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt: Winner of the Best Kept Secret International Award

BEST KEPT SECRET INDIVIDUAL BRIDGE:

This category is divided up into American and International Bridges and focuses on historic and unique bridges that receive little to no attention compared to other historic bridges, like the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges in the States. In the international part of the category, we had 14 entries from three continents with four vying for the top spot. In the end, the winner of award goes to a small village north of Zeitz in Germany and this unusual bridge, the Draschwitz Truss Bridge over the White Elster River. This bridge is unique because of its v-laced top chord. The story behind it can be found here. Silver goes to the suspension bridge at Betsiboka in Madagascar, whereas Bronze goes to another unique arch bridge in Greece nominated by Inge Kanakaris-Wirtl, the Plakidas Bridge. The rest of the top six include:

Sarto Bridge in Louisiana. Photo taken by Cliff Darby

In the States, we had ten entries, featuring bridges from all over the country. This included a “dead bridge”- one that has been extant for many years, yet one decided to nominate it post humously. As in the international portion, four of the ten vied for the top spot, but in the end, the Sarto Bridge, spanning the Bayou des Glaises at Big BendAvoyelles Parish, Louisiana came out the winner by a slim margin, outlasting the Johnson Bridge in Stillwater County (Montana) by five votes. That “dead bridge” mentioned earlier, was Sugar Island Bridge in Kankakee Illinois, came in third with 88 votes- a bronze medal well earned a century after it was converted into a pile of scrap metal. The bridge was destroyed by a tornado in 1916 and was replaced afterwards.  The rest of the top six include:

Geneva Creek Bridge in Muscatine, Iowa. Winner of the Mystery Bridge Award. Photo taken by Luke Harden

 

MYSTERY BRIDGE:

Twelve bridges were entered in this category, of which three came from the States and the rest from Germany. Still, the winners of both the international and American competition were clearly decisive with the American bridge winning the all around by a wide margin. That was with the Geneva Creek Bridge in Muscatine, Iowa, a Bedstead Howe pony truss that features two spans and was relocated at an unknown time. Information on that is enclosed here. The ancient arch bridge in Erfurt won the international division but came in second in the all around. That bridge spans a small waterfall that empties into the Diversion Channel on the south end of the city in Thuringia. It may be the oldest extant structure in the city’s history. For more, click here. Not far behind was another competitor from the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, a thatched-roof covered truss bridge in St. Peter-Ording, whose unique story can be found here. The rest of the standings include:

The rest of the winners can be found in Part 2. Click here to get there. 🙂

Ancient Arch Bridge at Pförtchen Bridge in Erfurt. Winner of the Ammann Awards for Mystery Bridge International

 

 

 

2015 Ammann Awards: The Author has some bridge stories to tell

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To start off this new year, there are some good news as well as some bad news. First the bad news: The deadline for entries for the 2015 Ammann Awards has been pushed back again for the last time. This time the 10th of January at 12:00am Central Standard Time (January 11th at 7:00am Central European Time) is the absolute deadline for all entries, including that for Best Photo, Lifetime Achievement and other categories. Reason for the delay is the low number of entries, much of that has to do with the weather disaster of biblical proportions in the United States and Great Britain, which has kept many away from the cameras and forced many to fill sandbags. The the voting process will proceed as planned with the winners being announced at the end of this month.

The good news: The author has enough candidates and stories to justify announcing his choices for 2015- the first to be announced before the actual Ammann Awards presentations but one that should keep the interest in historic bridges running sky high, especially before the main course. In other words, the author is serving his appetizers right now to keep the readers and candidates hungry for more bridge stuff. 😉

So here is our first appetizer: The Biggest Bonehead Story

Photo taken by Tony Dillon

USA:

Truck Destroys Gospel Street Bridge in Paoli, Indiana- Ever since Christmas Day, this story has been the hottest topic in the media, even breaking records of the number of post clicks on the Chronicles. A 23-year-old woman, who claimed to be Amish, drives a 30-ton truck full of drinking water across the 1880 Cleveland Bridge and Iron Company structure that was only able to carry 6 tons. Naturally, the bridge gave in, yet the excuses the driver brought up became more and more incredulable: 1. I just received my driver’s license, 2. I couldn’t turn around or find an alternative so I took the chance, and 3. (Most outrageous): I didn’t know how many pounds equaled six tons.

Yet the question remains, which was more incredulable: The incident or the consequence of the incident: a mere $135 fine for crossing the light-weight bridge, destroying it in the process?

International:

Viaduct Collapses in Sicily- 2015 was not a good year for bridges outside of the USA, for several key (historic) crossings have met their fate or are about to due to human error. A temporary pedestrian bridge in Johannesburg (South Africa) falls onto the motorway crushing two cars. A pedestrian suspension bridge in New Zealand breaks a cable, causing the decking to twist and send hikers into the water.  Fortunately, no casualties. Both incidents happened in October. The highest glass bridge in the world, located in China, is cracking even though the government says it is safe.

But this bridge collapse on the island of Sicily, which happened in January, was a scandal! The Scorciavacche Viaduct near Palermo was completed in December 2014, three months earlier than scheduled, only for it to collapse partially on January 5th, 10 days after its opening! While no one was hurt, the collapse sparked a political outcry as the multi-million Euro bridge was part of the 200 million Euro motorway project, and as a consequence, officials prompted an investigation into the cause of the bridge. The construction company, which claimed that the accident was caused by “substinence,” tried shooting down the accusations, claiming the accident was overexaggerated. Makes the reader wonder if they tried covering up a possible design flaw, combined with human error, which could have caused the collapse. If so, then they have the (now jailed) Captain of the capsized Costa Concordia to thank, for like the ship that has been towed away and scrapped, the bridge met the same fate. Lesson for the wise: More time means better results. Check your work before opening it to others.

 

 

Best Historic Bridge Find:

While the author stayed out of the US for all of 2015 and focused his interesting findings on European soil, other bridge colleagues have found some bridges that had been either considered gone or had never been heard of before. One of these colleagues from Minnesota happened to find one that is still standing! 🙂

 

USA:

Bridge L-1297 in Clearwater County, Minnesota-

According to records by the Minnesota Historical Society, the Schonemann Park Bridge, located south of Luverne in Rock County, is the only example of a Waddell kingpost truss bridge left standing in Minnesota. This 1912 bridge is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Bridge L-1297, which spans the Clearwater River near Gronvich in Clearwater, is the OTHER Waddell kingpost pony truss bridge that is still standing. Its markings matches exactly that of its Schonemann counterpart. Although there is no concrete evidence of when it was built and by whom, Pete Wilson, who found it by chance and addressed it to the Chronicles, mentioned that it was likely that it was built between 1905 and 1910 by the Hewett family, which built the bridge at Luverne. In either case, it is alive, standing albeit as a private crossing, and should be considered for the National Register. Does anybody else agree? 🙂

International:

The Bridges of Zeitz, Germany

It is rare to find a cluster of historic bridges that are seldomly mentioned in any history books or bridge inventory. During a bike tour through eastern Thuringia in March, I happened to find a treasure in the hills: A dozen historic bridges within a 10 km radius, half of which are in the city of 29,000 inhabitants, including the ornamental Moritzburg Pavillion Bridge located on the east end of town. Highly recommended the next time you pass through the area. These bridges will be profiled further in the coming year because of their aesthetic and historic value, which makes the town, resembling an East German bygone era, more attractive. Check them out! 🙂

 

Spectacular Disasters:

Flooding and Fires dominated the headlines as Mother Nature was not to kind to the areas affected, thus they were flooded, destroying historic bridges in the path. If there was no flooding, there were dry spells prompting fires that burned down everything touched. While there were several examples of historic bridges destroyed by nature, the author has chosen two that standout the most, namely because they were filmed, plus two runners-up in the international category. Fortunately for the bridge chosen in the US category, there is somewhat of a happy ending.

Photo by James MacCray

USA:

Full Throttle Saloon Fire-  Only a few weeks after celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Motorcycle Rally at the World’s largest saloon, the Full Throttle Saloon was destroyed by a massive fire on September 8th. Two of the historic bridges, relocated here to serve as overlook platforms and stages, were damaged by the blaze with the bridge decking being completely burned away. While the saloon was considered a total loss, bar owner Michael Ballard is planning on rebuilding the bar complex and has already lined up concert events including the upcoming Motorcycle Rally in August. More on how you can help rebuild here. Whether the bridges will be part of the plan is unclear, but given the effort to bring in the structure, it is likely that they will be kept and be part of the project as well. More on the project will follow, but things are really looking up for bikers and bridge lovers alike. 🙂

 

International:

300-year old arch bridge washed out by flooding-

While there was a three-way tie for spectacular natural disasters done to the historic bridges on the international front, this concrete arch bridge in Tadcaster in the UK stands out the most. The bridge collapsed on December 29th as floodwaters raged throughout much of the northern part of Great Britain. It was one of dozens of bridges that were either severely damaged or destroyed during the worst flooding on record. The saddest part was not the video on how the bridge fell apart bit by bit, but the bridge was over 300 years old. Demolition and replacement of the bridge is expected to commence at the earliest at the end of this year once the damages are assessed and the clean-up efforts are under way.

Runners-up:

Coach takes a swim under a culvert in Brazil:

Two runners-up in this category also have to do with bridge washouts due to flooding. One of them is this culvert wash-out in Brazil. A video submitted to the French magazine LeMonde shows what can happen if engineers choose a culvert over a replacement bridge, as this coach sank into the raging creek, went through the culvert and swam away! :-O Fortunately all the passengers evacuated prior to the disaster, however, it serves as a warning to all who wish to cut cost by choosing a culvert over a new bridge- you better know what you are getting into, especially after watching the video below.

 

Massive Panic as Bridge is washed out in India-

The other runner-up takes us to the city of Chennai in India, where flash flooding wreaked havoc throughout the city. At this bridge, the pier of a concrete bridge gave way as a large wave cut up the crossing in seconds! Massive panic occurred, as seen in the video seen below:

 

 

Dumbest Reason to destroy a historic bridge:

The final category for this year’s Author’s Choice Award goes to the people whose irrational decision-making triggered the (planned) destruction of historic bridges. This year’s candidates features two familiar names that are on the chopping block unless measures on a private scale are undertaken to stop the wrecking ball. One of the bridges is an iconic landmark that is only 53 years old.

Overview of the slue, approach and main spans of the BB Comer Bridge. Photo taken by David Kennamer
Overview of the slue, approach and main spans of the BB Comer Bridge. Photo taken by David Kennamer

USA:

BB Comer Bridge in Alabama- Three years of efforts to raise awareness to a vintage cantilever bridge went up in smoke on November 14th, when county officials not only rejected the notion for a referendum on saving the BB Comer Bridge in Scotsboro, but also turned down any calls for the matter to be brought up for all time to come. While the organization promoting the preservation of the bridge claimed that the city and Jackson County would not need to pay for the maintenance of the bridge, officials were not sold on the idea of having the bridge become a theme park, which would have been a win-win situation as far as producing funds for the tourism industry is concerned. Instead, behind closed doors, the contract was signed off to convert the 1930 bridge into scrap metal, giving into the value of the commodity. Talk about short-sightedness and wrist slitting there!

 

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International:

Fehmarn Bridge to come down- In an effort to push through the Migratory Freeway through Fehmarn Island and down the throats of opposing residents, the German Railways condemned the world’s first basket weave tied arch bridge, built in 1963 to connect the island with the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The official reason was too much rust and any rehabilitation would prolong the bridge’s life by only 20 years- highly disputable among the preservationists and civil engineers given the number of concrete examples of rehabilitated bridges lasting 50+ years. Yet many locals believe that the German Railways is pushing for the bridge to be removed in favor of its own railroad crossing that would carry Fernzüge from Hamburg to Copenhagen, eliminating the ferry service between Puttgarten and Rodby in Denmark. The fight however is far from over as the campaign to save the island and its cherished architectural work is being taken to the national level, most likely going as far as Brussles if necessary. In addition, lack of funding and support on the Danish side is delaying the tunnel project, threatening the entire motorway-bridge-tunnel project to derail. If this happens, then the next step is what to do with the Fehmarn Bridge in terms of prolonging its life. The bridge is in the running for Bridge of the Year for the 2015 Ammann Awards for the second year in a row, after finishing a distant second last year.

 

AND NOW THE VOTING PROCESS AND RESULTS OF THE 2015 AMMANN AWARDS, WHICH WILL BEGIN STARTING JANUARY 11th, AS SOON AS THE DEADLINE FOR ALL ENTRIES PASSES. HURRY TO ENTER YOUR PHOTOS, BRIDGES, AND PERSONS DESERVING HONORS BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!!

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Amman Awards Entry Deadline Extended to January 2016

Hartley Drive Bridge in Allamakee County, Iowa. Photo taken in August 2011

Deadline for Submissions of Photos and Entries extended to January 6th 2016. Voting to Commence in January.

2016 will be the year that the Othmar H. Ammann Awards will be voted on twice. In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, to show solidarity for the people affected by these attacks (including the refugees), to allow for more time for people to submit their entries for the Ammann Awards, and finally to allow time for the author to prepare for the awards, the 2015 Ammann Awards will entend well into 2016. That means between now and January 6th, entries will be taken for voting purposes in the categories of best photo, best example of a preserved historic bridge, lifetime achievement, region with a high concentration of historic bridges, and mystery bridges. More information can be found via link here. Voting will commencence on January 8th and last through January 29th. The winners of the Awards will be given out on February 1st.  The Author’s Choice Awards will be given at the same time.

This decision is unusual, but given the situation at hand, it not appropriate at this time to keep to the December 1st deadline, while in the midst of events that occurred on 13 November 2015, which killed 130 and injured scores of others in Paris alone. In addition, the Chronicles also welcomes any entries of bridges in France and Lebanon to be posted in the online column, and entered in the Ammann Awards. The author visited Paris in 1999 and will present a tour guide of the city’s bridges before the deadline in January, in addition to the bridges in Brussels, where he visited in 2010. That city has also been a focus on the purge of neighborhoods to arrest more suspects involved in the bombings.  It is strongly encouraged that other bridges in France and Lebabon are entered by others to show solidarity and pride towards the infrastructure of both countries.  This in addition to bridges submitted originating from the US and other places.

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, together with sisiter column The Flensburg Files are showing solidarity in times of trouble. A pair of articles about the events and the war on terrorism can be found here and here. As mentioned in previous articles, the logos representing France, Lebanon and peace will be presented in every article for the rest of 2015, to show support towards families and friends of people affected by the bombing attacks, with the goal of finding a peaceful way to end the bloodshed and find some sort of co-existence that all sides can benefit from. Some say war cannot be won. That is true, but on both sides. Yet there is always a way to find peace and love. It’s a matter of time before the sides come to a table and find a solution that will satisfy everyone.

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2014 Ammann Awards: Results Part Two

Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, UK. Photo taken by Laura Hilton

Picking up after leaving off Part I and the Author’s Choice Awards, we now move onto the next category of Bridge of the Year 2014.  Several bridges nominated for this award because of their golden anniversary celebrated this past year became disappointments in the voting stats. Among them include the Tower Bridge (which turned 120 years old), the Forth Bridges (the suspension bridge turned 50 years old) and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge (which also turned 50). Yet none of the bridges stood a match against the winner of the Bridge of the Year Award- the Clifton Suspension Bridge over the River Avon in Bristol (the UK). It turned 150 years old in December and was the masterpiece of Ishambard Kingdom Brunel, who started this bridge (and his career) 30+ years earlier but died shortly before its completion. The bridge was mentioned even in the comment section when the ballot was finished and ready to vote in December. How did it do with second place Fehmarn Bridge in Germany and third place Firth of Forth Bridges? Look at the results below and see how much loving this chain suspension bridge spanning the high gorge got in the voting process:

FINAL RESULTS.

1. Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol (UK):  67 votes  (77%)

2. Fehmarn Bridge in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany): 8 votes (9%)

3. Firth of Forth Bridges in Scotland (UK): 5  votes (6%)

Raven Rock Bridge in New Jersey. Photo taken by Nathan Holth

Best Example of a Restored Historic Bridge

In the category of Best Preservation example, there was a tight race among seven candidates battling for first and second places. However in the end, the Raven Rock Bridge in Huntderton County, New Jersey edged out the Red Bridge in Kansas City and the Freedom Prime Bridge in Indiana for the award. The bridge is one of the oldest in the state and was dismantled, sandblasted and repainted before being reassembled on a new concrete decking, all during the summer. The bridge looks just like new with the railing and decking being the only differences. Impressive enough for the award. 🙂

FINAL RESULTS:

1. Raven Rock Bridge in New Jersey 5 (26%)

2. Red Bridge in Kansas City 4 (21%)

3. Freedom Prime Bridge in Indiana 3 (16%)

Monk’s Bridge at Ballasalla, Isle of Man, UK Photo submitted by Liz Boakes

Best Kept Secret Individual Bridge

There were many really good bridge candidates in this category, regardless of whether it was in the US category or the International one. That was the primary reason for the rather low voter turnout because of the difficulty in deciding which ones deserved the awards. But in the end, the winner has to be determined, right? In the US category, we have the Independence Bowstring Arch Bridge, an abandoned King Bridge Company structure that has been abandoned for many years, but after winning the award, will most likely receive some attention regarding its reuse. It edged the Fort Morgan Rainbow Arch Bridge in Colorado by three votes and two bridges by four votes to win the title.

FINAL RESULTS USA CATEGORY:

1. Independence Bowstring Arch Bridge 6 votes (43%)

2. Ft. Morgan Rainbow Arch Bridge in Colorado 3 votes (21%)

T 3. Backyard Bridge in Packwood, Washington and Powwow Polygonal Truss Bridge in Amesbury, Massachusetts  2 votes (14%)

In the international subcategory, the results of this award were really tight, for each candidate received at least one vote. In the end, the Monks Bridge on the British Isle of Man won the award, followed by the Pont de Langlois in France and the Swimming Bridge in Wuppertal in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Here are the results:

INTERNATIONAL:

1. Monks Bridge on the Isle of Man in the UK- 4 votes (33%)

2. Pont de Langlois in France- 3 votes (25%)

3. Swimming Bridge in Wuppertal, Germany- 2 votes (17%)

In the all around category, the Monks Bridge finishes second behind the winner, the Independence Bowstring Arch Bridge, with the Pont de Langlois and Ft. Morgan Bridge finishing tied for third.

Ely Stret Bridge in Bertram

 

Best Kept Secret- City Tour Guide

The final category for the 2014 Ammann Awards is the City Tour Guide, awarded to the city and/or region with a high number of unique (historic) bridges worth visiting. Some of them have been mentioned in the Chronicles, yet other places to visit have been recommended by other websites, including some city websites. This year’s category featured a big upset in the USA category, as the historic bridges located in Bertram, Iowa (east of Cedar Rapids) upended Chicago and Pittsburgh for the title, whereas in the international category, Manchester (the UK) won the award, beating out Budapest and Sault Sainte Marie. Despite losing the Ely Street Bridge to flooding, Bertram has a wide selection of pre-1910 truss bridges located within a 10-mile radius, many of whom were built by local bridge contractors. Manchester has a wider selection of historic and modern bridges, whose designs are very appealing to the tourists. Both communities also share the title in the all around division as well, beating Chicago and third place Pittsburgh and Budapest.

FINAL RESULTS:

USA

1. Bertram, Iowa- 5 votes  (33%)

2. Chicago- 4 votes (27%)

3. Pittsburgh- 3 votes (20%)

 

INTERNATIONAL

1. Manchester- 5 votes  (42%)

2. Budapest- 3 votes (25%)

3. Sault Ste. Marie- 2 votes  (17%)

 

ALL AROUND:

T1. Bertram and Manchester

2. Chicago

T3. Pittsburgh and Budapest

This sums up the 2014 Ammann Awards. The next time we start nominating and voting will be at the beginning of November. Please check the page on the Chronicles to find out when nominations are being accepted. In case you want to provide feedback on this voting process, please do so either in the comment section or by sending an e-mail directly to the author. Otherwise, get the cameras going and start finding some bridges worthy of this year’s results. Happy Bridgehunting and thanks for voting. 🙂

Padlocked Bridges: The Incident at Pont des Arts in Paris and the issue of padlocks on bridges

Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris. Photos taken in 1999

Lovelocks. Love locks the two together for eternity to come. And how to provide that but to attach a lock on a historic bridge and throw the key away into the river. The origin of lovelocks was from Serbia, where a school misstress fell in love with a World War I soldier and met often at the Most Liubavi in the Serbian town of Vrnjacka Banja. However, the couple broke up after he went off to war and the woman died a broken heart. In response, locals showed their solidifying love by putting their padlocks on the Most Liubavi and it became part of a work by Serbian poet and writer,  Desanka Maksimovi?. The bridge of love, where lovelocks are attached to bridge railings and other parts, later spread to other bridges in Europe, and today, lovelocks can be found in the hundreds of thousands on popular bridges, such as the  Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin, the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, and even the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne.

Love locks on the Hollernzollern Bridge in Cologne, Germany

Yet these lovelocks are starting to pose a major problem, as can be seen with the latest incident with the Pont des Arts Bridge, spanning the Sienne River in Paris. According to reports by the BBC, parts of the parapet of the 1804 iron deck arch bridge collapsed on Sunday because of the weight of these love padlocks. This has raised a debate on whether the padlocks should be removed in its entirety due to concerns of the historic integrity and aesthetics of the bridge being compromised, as well as the hazard that is being imposed on boat traffic passing underneath the bridge. The Pont des Arts is one of three of the dozens of Parisian bridges that are laden with padlocks. The other two are the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor and the Pont de l’Archevêché. Consideration is being taken to remove the padlocks in its entirety, as it has been done to several bridges in Europe and North America that have been the magnet for these lovelocks, such as the Humber Bridge in Toronto, as well as the aforementioned bridges in Dublin and Florence. Yet if any action is taken, it will run into stiff opposition by those wishing to keep the tradition alive, as this was seen by action taken with the Kettenbrücke in Bamberg and the Hollernzollern Bridge in Cologne last year. At both places, protests forced the proprietors of the two bridges (the City of Bamberg and the German Railways (Deutsche Bahn)) to retract their decision to remove the locks.

Close-up of the arches, the parapet and the lamppost.

While lovelocks are a symbol of eternal love and the tradition should be alive. The question is why choose certain bridges, such as the Ponts des Arts in Paris. Upon my visit in 1999, before the bridge became a magnet for this sensational ritual, the bridge was clean of all its padlocks, including the parapets and the lampposts dating back to the 1800s, when the bridge was not affected by the years of conflict it would sustain through the French wars with Germany lasting up until the end of World War II. It was restored in 1984 after parts of the span collapsed in the 1970s and was the hub for artwork, mainly from the students of the school of art École des Beaux-Arts. This included a series on cowboys and indians from the American wild west, which was on display during my visit:

 

 

And while art exhibits have changed from time to time on the bridge, nobody has expected the lovelocks to decorate the bridge, making it look colorful and more beautiful on the one hand, but ugly and one that can ruin the structural beauty of the bridge. But then again, love does have its good and bad sides as well, and conflicts can be solved through compromise, which will need to be made before too many lovelocks do indeed cause damage to historic bridges, causing damage and costing more money to repair and restore them than necessary.

It does not mean that lovelocks should not be allowed on the bridges and other places of interest. It should be encouraged, however in moderation. This means that only a limited amount of lovelocks should be allowed on a bridge or at or near a place of interest to ensure that the aesthetic and structural integrity are not harmed in anyway. This means that there are more places to show your love with lovelocks than just this one particular place, as long as it is allowed.

After this incident at the Pont des Arts, questions will arise as to what will become of the lovelocks on that bridge as well as the other two in question. Yet as lovers have done when being in love, when there is a will, there is a way to show the love and keep the tradition alive; if not at this bridge, then another one.

Question:

Apart from the aforementioned bridges in this article, which other bridges in the US, Europe and other places have this lovelock tradition? And if there is a bridge where you would love to see lovelocks on there, apart from the Lover’s Leap Bridge in Columbus Junction, Iowa and New Milford, Connecticut, which ones would you place your lovelock on and why?  Put your comments here as well as in the Chronicles’ facebook pages.