2015 Ammann Awards: The Winners

2015 Ammann Awards: The Winners

Amy Squitieri wins Lifetime Achievement; Gallatin County, Montana gets top honors in two categories, another accolade for Michigan’s Historic Bridges

JENA, GERMANY-  Earth calling Amy Squitieri! Ms. Squitieri, there is a customer out in Montana, specifically in Gallatin County, who has been profiling historic bridges in the county. The majority of them cannot bear today’s loads anymore but have historic character to it that many people don’t want to see scrapped. This includes the Nixon Bridge. Can you help?

After all, with multiple years of experience, you deserve the Lifetime Achievement Award, so your help is needed. 🙂 And as a bonus, the man named Troy Carter won Best Photo for the Nixon Bridge! 😀

TROY CARTER/CHRONICLE A car drives over the Nixon Bridge above the East Gallatin River near Manhattan on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Gallatin County Commissioners approved Tuesday an engineering study for its replacement.
TROY CARTER/CHRONICLE
A car drives over the Nixon Bridge above the East Gallatin River near Manhattan on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Gallatin County Commissioners approved Tuesday an engineering study for its replacement.

Before getting to the rest of the results, the Chronicles would like to thank everyone for taking part in the voting. Thanks to Poll Daddy, people had no problems with the voting process, with the exception of the website being down once a day for five minutes, as that was the only complaint. Because of the high turnout, the plan is to keep the format as is for the 2016 Awards, which will run its original form with voting in December and the results to be presented in January 2017.

But going back to the results, Squitieri is the second person from Mead and Hunt in three years to win the Lifetime Achievement Award, Robert Frame III won it in 2014. And like Frame, she received 45.8% of the votes, far outpacing the second place winners from Ames, Iowa- consisting of Randy Faber, Judy McDonald, Hank Zalatel and Matt Donovan from the Iowa Department of Transportation- who received 22.4%. Julie Bowers from Workin Bridges recieved 14% of the votes, outgunning Nathan Holth by four percentage points.

And the rest of the results for LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT:

  1. Amy Squitieri- 45.8%
  2. Donovan, Faber, McDonald and Zalatel- 22.4%
  3. Julie Bowers- 14%
  4. Nathan Holth- 9.4%
  5. James Barker- 5.7%
  6. Todd Wilson and Lauren Winkler- 2.8%

 

TROY CARTER/CHRONICLE Anglers row on the Jefferson River just before the Williams Bridge near Willow Creek on Saturday, Oct. 24. Six one-lane truss bridges, including the Williams Bridge, have been designated structurally obsolete according to the Gallatin County Road and Bridge Department.
TROY CARTER/CHRONICLE
Anglers row on the Jefferson River just before the Williams Bridge near Willow Creek on Saturday, Oct. 24. Six one-lane truss bridges, including the Williams Bridge, have been designated structurally obsolete according to the Gallatin County Road and Bridge Department.

BEST PHOTO:

As mentioned at the beginning, Galatin County, Montana won in two categories, which include the category of best photo. Even more so, Troy Carter obtained not only the gold medal, but also the silver for the picture above, of the Williams Bridge. Bronze medalist goes to Roger Deschner for his photo of the Savana-Sabula Bridge over the Mississippi River.  And the rest of the votes:

  1. Nixon Bridge (Troy Carter)- 51.2%
  2. Williams Bridge (Troy Carter)- 38.1%
  3. Savana-Sabula Bridge (Roger Deschner)- 6%
  4. Tied:  Bentonsport Bridge, Firescald Bridge, Thompson Bridge, Chapel Curry Bridge (1%)

BEST KEPT SECRET:

Due to a lack of entries for individual bridges, that and the city guide tours were merged for this year’s awards. However, the two subcategories will be presented again for the 2016 awards. As always, the votes were broken down to US, International and All around. The top three in the US category happened to be the winners all around, while the bridges in Newcastle (UK) and Paris (France) shared top honors in the International Division. Furthermore, he second and third place winners came from New Jersey, while three out of the top five finishers originated from New Jersey.  Here are the results:

USA/ All Around:  

  1. The Bridges of Gallatin County, Montana- 41.1%
  2. The Bridges along the South Branch Raritan River in New Jersey- 17.9%
  3. The Bridges along the Delaware River at the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border- 10.7%
  4. The Bridges of New Ulm, Minnesota- 7.1%
  5. The Bridges of Hunterdon County, New Jersey- 5.4%
  6. Tied- Newcastle (UK) and Paris (France)- 5.4%

International:

  1. Newcastle/Paris
  2. Tied- York (UK)/ Zeitz (Germany)

 

BEST RESTORED HISTORIC BRIDGE(S):

For the second time since its inception, the Historic Bridge Park near Kalmazoo, Michigan has won an award by the Chronicles. In 2011, the Park won the Award for Best Kept Secret, while simultaneously, its engineer behind the creation of the park, Vern Mesler, won the Lifetime Achievement Award. As attractive as the park is and as big of a posterboy as this place has served, it is justified that the award is given, especially as 36.4% of the voters gave the people there the nod. 🙂 As for the other results….

  1. Historic Bridge Park in Michigan- 36.4%
  2. Tied- Sandy River, Portland Waterworks Bridge in Oregon/ Thompson Bridge in St. Louis County, Minnesota- 15.2%
  3. McConnellsville Bridge in Morgan County, Ohio- 12.1%
  4. High Bridge in New York City- 9.1%
  5. Swing Bridge Park at Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota- 6.1%
  6. Two tied with 3%

 

MYSTERY BRIDGE:

The competition was fierce, especially in the international division, but the unusual covered bridge in New Hampshire received 25% of the vote, and therefore took the USA and All Around divisions. Only 7% behind was the Waddell truss bridge in Clearwater County, Minnesota with 18.8%, and the Howe Truss Bridges in Blue Earth County won third place with 3.1%. In the International Category, the Estate Bridge in Staffordshire in the UK won the competition, and third place in the All Around. In second place, we have a tie between The Bridge of Lions in Berlin and the Natural Bridge at Mallorca Island in Spain. Third place goes to Havenga Bridge in South Africa and the Moritzburg Pavillion Bridge in Zeitz, Germany.  Here are the complete results:

  1. Covered Bridge in New Hampshire- 25%
  2. Waddell Truss Bridge in Minnesota- 18.8%
  3. Estate Bridge in the UK- 15.6%
  4. Bridge of Lions (Germany) and Natural Bridge (Spain)- 12.5%
  5. Havenga Bridge (South Africa) and Moritzburg Bridge (Germany)- 6.3%
  6. Howe Truss Bridges in Minnesota- 3.1%

 

 

hayden bridge

BRIDGE OF THE YEAR:

And lastly, the 2015 Bridge of the Year. While the Cliffton Suspension Bridge ran away with the competition in the 2014 Awards, the competition was fierce among the candidates, as there were several ties before the Hayden Bridge in Oregon came away a winner with 27% of the votes. Second place finisher is the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Alabama, which was the site of the demonstrations in 1964. The 50th anniversary celebrations took place at this steel through arch bridge. It received 18.1% of the votes. The Savana-Sabula Bridge finished in third with 12.1%.  And as for the rest:

  1. Hayden Bridge in Oregon
  2. Edmund Pettis Bridge in Alabama
  3. Savana-Sabula Bridge
  4. Tied- Fehmarn Bridge in Germany/ Firth of Forth Bridge in Scotland/ Calhoun Street Bridge in New Jersey
  5. Chemnitz Viaduct in Germany
  6. Traffic Bridge in Saskatoon (Canada)

 

FAZIT:

And with that, we have closed shop for the belated 2015 Ammann Awards by the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles. For the delay because of the terrorist attacks in Paris, the author apologizes. For that, plus in light of the 5-year anniversary of the Ammann Awards, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles will be accepting nominations for the 2016 Ammann Awards between now and 1 December, 2016. If you have any candidates in any of the categories, please use the contact form and send them in this direction.

In addition, the Chronicles will have its own version of the Hall of Fame, where the top two candidates of each category of each year (from 2011 to 2016) will be voted upon, and the top three in each category will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. More information will come during the course of the year. It is clear that two different and sequential voting processes will commence during December 2016 and January 2017.

In the meantime, get your cameras and candidates out there, you have more than enough time between now and December 1st, 2016 to win your fame and fortune with your bridge and pontist. 🙂

bhc new logo jpeg

2014 Historic Bridge Weekend Highlights

Mackinac Bridge at night. One of the key bridges on the places to visit list for this year’s HB Weekend. Photo taken by Nathan Holth of HistoricBridges.org

From north to south, all of Michigan has been covered. Although this year’s historic bridge weekend may have produced fewer numbers than in the past (due to it taking place in the shoulder season- after summer break), it provided participants with a visit to Michigan’s finest bridges, whether it was the Mackinac Bridge (as seen above) or the bridges in Grand Rapids, or even the states concrete camelback arch bridges. In either case, Michigan has a wide variety of bridges that are worth visiting, as described by Rick McOmber. McOmber is one of the correspondents of HistoricBridges.org, a website founded by Nathan Holth, this year’s coordinator. He has agreed to provide you with some highlights of the events. Photos of the events were taken by Nathan Holth with some more available by clicking here.  Here are the highlights from McOmber:

On September 5-7, 2014 the historic bridge weekend was held in Michigan. Although not as many people attended as previous years it was still a very productive and exciting weekend. I know I could have done a better job of posting details about this gathering earlier but thanks to everyone for spreading the word on their respective websites. This year attendees include James Baughn and his mom from Missouri, Todd Wilson from Pittsburgh and locals Nathan Holth and I.
Friday Sept 5, 2014
Once the strong thunderstorms cleared our trip began as Todd, Nathan and I left East Lansing, MI and headed north on I-75. Before checking in at our hotel in St Ignace, a few night photos were in order for the Mackinac Bridge. Crossing this beautiful suspension bridge at night with the 552 ft. towers lit up is an amazing experience. James and his mother were also in Northern Michigan Friday visiting bridges on their way up.

International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan/Ontario. Photos taken by Nathan Holth
International Railroad Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie Michigan/Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Sept 6, 2014
We awoke to sunny skies Saturday so we returned to the Mackinac Bridge early to obtain some side views. Some painting/maintenance work was in progress but the on-site workers were kind enough to uncover some plastic covering on the Steinman plaque so we all could get photos. James captured some excellent pictures of the Mackinac Bridge later on in the day as he took a ferry tour. Once our morning photos were complete we drove to Sault St. Marie and crossed the border to Canada. This afforded us some spectacular vantage points of the International Bridge along with the Int. swing dam bridge; portal views of the 8 span pin-connected railroad bridge and Canadian locks. We ate lunch then drove back to Sault St. Marie USA where we drove a top the campus of Lake Superior St University so we could take aerial photos of the Int. Bridge. (Thanks for researching this location Nathan) We paid a quick visit to the Soo locks before departing to photo document the Ashmun St through arch bridge. This 1935 span was a favorite among all of us. We then headed west so we could visit the deck cantilever Cut River Bridge. Using the walkway we were able some get some adequate side photographs. We continued west on Route 2, stopped at a scenic byway to get distant views of the Mackinac bridge. Shortly after we met up with the Baughns at the Bridge View Park. After a brief visit we drove to Charlevoix to photo a double leaf bascule along with warren through rail bridge now a part of a rail trail. Although late in the day we began an adventuresome trek on the back roads of Michigan to a rehabbed pin connected pony truss (Iron Road) bridge. We headed south to Grayling, MI where there was enough daylight to photo the Au Sable River bridge which is a rigid frame with unique railings. After that we drove into town to eat at Dawson & Stevens which is a 1950’s theme restaurant to discuss the day’s events and relax.

Mottville Bridge, one of a handful of camelback concrete arch bridges left in Michigan

Sunday Sept 7, 2014
Weather cooperated again with sunny skies and once our lavish breakfast at Tim Horton’s was complete James joined Todd, Nathan and I for the Sunday tour. Our goal was to visit Grand Rapids area and bridges in southwest Michigan. Before stopping in Grand Rapids we visited a Pratt Through Railroad Bridge in Lowell and the Burroughs St Camelback pony truss. While In Grand Rapids we visited the 6th St, Blue Rail Bridge, North Park St, Indian Mounds,  a lattice girder bridge. Fortunately we were able to get nice pictures of the significant 1924 Pine Island drive concrete curved chord through girder before modern Armco railings were installed. We left the greater Kent county area and drove down to one of feature bridges of the trip, 1879 New Richmond swing pony truss bridge. The King Bridge Co Whipple was next in Allegan, MI, one of only 3 whipple examples in Michigan. We stopped for lunch and then it was on to the city of Plainwell for some of our states best ice cream, a good way to break up the day. We drove next to Mottville which was another key bridge of the trip to visit (270 Ft concrete curved chord through girder bridge) and an engineering landmark designated by MDOT. We continued on to St Joseph County, MI to visit several pin connected trusses Marantette, Haybridge Rd, and the ½ Mile road through truss. We drove to the M-86 Camelback pony truss before this span is moved at a later date. We had enough daylight to dip into Lagrange County, Indiana to see the IN-120 Bridge and glad it was still standing. This through truss has serious section loss at the lower chord connection points.
That concluded our trip as the group closed out the weekend dining in East Lansing, MI Sunday evening. From Sault St. Marie to LaGrange County, IN it was another fun time had by all and successful historic bridge weekend. Our long distance travel awards go to Todd and James, we thank you for visiting  “Pure Michigan”. I thank you Todd for arranging our efficient and fun to drive VW Passat rental car. Nathan we all appreciate your meticulous trip mapping each day. For additional questions on trip details or photos contact anyone of us. I look forward to seeing everyone at the 2015 Historic Bridge Weekend Event!
Thanks,
Rick McOmber –

A list of bridges visited can be found by clicking here. Planning is in the works to highlight the bridges to visit in Sault Ste. Marie and Grand Rapids to give you an idea which historic bridges to visit while in Michigan, in addition to the Historic Bridge Park near Kalmazoo.They will be posted here as soon as the tour guides are finished.

As far as the 2015 Historic Bridge Weekend are concerned, the venue is still open, although ideas of hosting one in Minnesota, Indiana and Iowa had been brought up prior to the event. Even though it is early to plan, if you have any suggestions for visiting historic bridges for next year’s event, please contact the author of the Chronicles, Nathan Holth at HistoricBridges.org, Todd Wilson at Bridgemapper or James Baughn at Bridgehunter.com to present your ideas. Who knows, your place may be on our agenda for visiting next year. The Chronicles will keep you in the loop regarding the Historic Bridge Weekend as well as other upcoming events pertaining to historic bridges and preservation.

The author would like to thank the organizers of the 2014 Historic Bridge Weekend for the write-up and photos, some of the latter of which were posted here as highlights.

2014 Historic Bridge Weekend in Michigan

Mackinac Bridge at night. One of the key bridges on the places to visit list for this year’s HB Weekend. Photo taken by Nathan Holth of HistoricBridges.org

Three-day Event to take place September 5-7, 2014.

Labor Day weekend usually marks the end of summer and the start of the school year throughout the US, unless you are living in some states that have already started school. Yet if you or your child is a bridge fan, like Nathan Holth, then you could consider this year’s Historic Bridge Weekend as the event to close out this summer vacation.

This year’s event, hosted by the author and columnist of HistoricBridges.org, will take place in Michigan, focusing on the creme dela creme of historic bridges. The three-day weekend will start with a tour of Historic Bridge Park on the evening of September 5th, beginning at 5:00pm. Located near Battle Creek, this park features six historic bridges that were brought in from places in southern Michigan, restored and erected as trails throughout the park. The complex received the Chronicles’ Ammann Awards for Best Kept Secret in 2011.

After touring southern Michigan and parts of northern Indiana on Saturday (including a Saturday night photo opportunity of the bridges in Grand Rapids), Sunday’s tour will feature a visit to the Big Mac. Built in 1957 under the direction of David Steinman, the five-mile long bridge, with the main span of 3,800 feet, still remains the longest single bridge in the western hemisphere. Also included in the Sunday tour are the bridges in the Sault Sainte Marie area, which will mark the first time that the HB Weekend will include some bridges outside the US. Sault Ste. Marie is located at the US-Canadian Border and features over a half dozen key structures straddling the St. Mary’s River and the international border, including the International Bridge, built by Steinman and Associates in 1962.

If you have any questions or are interested in participating in this rather informal event that will bring together pontists and bridge enthusiasts from all over the country, please contact Nathan Holth using the contact details enclosed here.    Highlights of the Historic Bridge Weekend will be provided in the Chronicles in case if it is impossible to make the event but would like to know which bridges to see while visiting Michigan. The author of the Chronicles already has a few bridges to visit on his agenda for his visit to the region in the future.

Author’s Note: A book on the Mackinac Bridge will be featured in the Chronicles’ Book of the Month soon.

Answers to the Park Complex Questions

Photo taken in August 2011

After a brief absence due to other column items to cover and to allow people to be curious about the park, here are the answers to the Quiz provided in a post a couple weeks ago on the FW Kent Park in Tiffin (west of Iowa City) and the rooftop truss bridge. Before mentioning about the bridges and F.W. Kent Park in the quiz, some interesting facts you need to know include the fact that the park was named after two well-known people. The first was Frederick Kent, a photographer who took pictures of life on and off the campus of the University of Iowa, located in Iowa City, for over 4 decades, including his role as the college’s professional photographer between 1915 and his retirement in 1962. He was an avid birdwatcher and published a book on this topic in 1975. Plus he was a walking encyclopedia on Johnson County, which earned him many local and state accolades. He died in 1984 at the age of 90.  The other person was Ron Dunlap, who was a member of the Johnson County Conservation Board from 1970 until his unexpected death in 2010, and spearheaded efforts to restore the bridge brought into FW Kent Park during the 1980s and 90s, with the last bridge being imported in 2003. The Dunlap trail, which crosses all seven restored historic bridges, was named in his honor.

Keeping these facts in mind, here are the answers to the bridge quiz, however, there are many questions that are left open which will be answered through interviews with people who worked with these two gentlemen and posted later in the Chronicles. But in the meantime, here are some facts that will make you curious to know more about the park and the bridges….. 🙂

 

1. The FW Kent Park is younger than the Historic Bridge Park near Kalmazoo, Michigan. True or False? 

False. The FW Kent Park has been in existence since the 1960s with the name being carried since 1967, honoring Frederick Kent, who was a locally renowned photographer for the Iowa City region. The bridges did not come until the 1990s, with the last one being installed in 2003. The bridges at the park in Michigan were in place between 1996 and 2006, with more scheduled to be imported. Note: The Historic Bridge Park in Michigan is located just southwest of Battle Creek, home of the Kellogg’s cereal company.

2. Which of the following truss bridge types can NOT be found at FW Kent Park?

a. Pratt        b. Warren        c. Whipple     d. Queenpost

Whipple truss bridges are nowhere to be seen at the park.

3. The origin of the Rooftop truss bridge was a building that was demolished in Iowa City. Can you name the building and when it existed?

The trusses came from a car dealership in Iowa City that had existed from the 1930s until the building was dismantled. Yet the name of the dealership is unknown.

4. How many bridges can be found at FW Kent Park?

a. 8   b. 10   c. 11  d. 13  e. 15

Eight bridges can be found in the park. Of which, seven are historic bridges that were restored, while the eighth one, a Warren pony truss, is a new bridge built of wood, connected with steel plates. In terms of truss designs, apart from the new Warren pony truss span, the park features two Pratts (one through and one half-hip pony), one V-shaped Pratt pony truss, two Queenpost pony trusses, one bowstring arch and the rooftop truss span.

5. At least one bridge was airlifted to the Park. True or False?

True. One bridge, a through truss span, was airlifted by helicopter to the park in 2003 and placed on new abutments, but not before retrofitting the bridge’s width.

Pratt through truss bridge after being retrofitted. Photo taken in August 2013

6. All of the bridges brought in were the ones that served traffic in Johnson County.  True or False?

True. All seven historic bridges were crossings over small creeks, including Old Man’s, Deer, Dirty Face and Eagle. Sadly no bridges came from the Iowa River, which slices the county into two, let alone the Cedar River, where the Sutliff Bridge east of Solon is located.

7. How was the Rooftop truss bridge assembled?

After finding the trusses in a road ditch outside Iowa City, workers tried successfully to refit the trusses so that they support the roadway as railings. Additional exterior truss bracings were added to keep the bridge intact. In other words, the roadway is a bridge supported by trusses.

8. What activities can you do at the park, apart from photographing bridges?

a. swimming   b. hiking   c. fishing   d. biking   e. all of the above

In addition, you can do some bird and insect watching as many species of birds as well as butterflies and dragonflies can be found in the park. Also one can find some turtles and other wild animals at the park, but beware! Hunting is not allowed.

Watching dragonflies is one of many things you can do at the park. Photo taken in August 2011

Here is the guide to the bridges you can see at the park (click onto the names to go to the website)

Maier Road Bridge (Through Truss Bridge)

Rooftop Truss Bridge

Otter Creek Queenpost

1920 Queenpost

Bowstring arch bridge

Bayertown Road V-shape Bridge

Buck Creek Pratt Half-hip bridge

Wooden Warren Truss Bridge

Don’t forget to read more about F.W. Kent and the park’s history to understand how the park came into being. You can click here for more details.

Ammann Award Results for 2011

After many entries and votes for the best historic bridges and the people who have made a difference, the Historic Bridge Month has come to a close, but not before announcing the winners of the Othmar H. Ammann Awards for Excellence in the following categories:

Example of the work done on a bridge- rewelding the pin-connections. Photo taken by Nathan Holth, used with permission

Lifetime Legacy Award:
Vern Mesler: It is rare that there are people in the world who are experts in welding or any profession dealing with the steel industry. It is even rarer if a particular welder is also a bridgelover. But Vern Mesler, who has been in the welding business for over 30 years is one that has gone the extra mile to use his expertise to save historic bridges. He has not only offered courses in these two areas to those interested in taking up the profession of welding and historic bridge preservation, but he went further by creating a historic bridge park in Calhoun County, featuring his finished works of historic bridges that he put his expertise into use and preserved. All of his examples can be found in his newsletters the VJM Craftsman Newsletter. The author of the Chronicles has sent him some interview questions which he will send back to be posted.  Mr. Mesler can take pride in his work as he has not only won the Lifetime Legacy Award but also the Best Kept Secret Award for his historic bridge park in Michigan. The Bridgehunter‘s Chronicles would like to congratulate him for his work.
Honorably Mentioned:
Julie Bowers: Inspired by a local bowstring arch bridge in Poweshiek County (The McIntyre Bridge), Ms. Bowers put her marketing strategy and expertise in historic bridge preservation into use with the founding of Workin‘ Bridges, an organization devoted to consulting, marketing and doing estimates on historic bridges to be preserved for reuse. Already she has been successful with many bridges in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, just to name a few. The Chronicles has done an interview with her via e-mail and will post the success story in the next posting.

Best Snapshot Award:

Photo taken by the winner: John Goold

High Level Arch Bridge in Akron (Ohio)- 32 votes: This oblique photo, taken by John Goold from the bottom of the structure shows a detailed look at the 1953 cantilever truss structure and the way it graces across the river and parking lot. This bridge should be considered a poster boy for all of these types that are coming down in vast numbers; especially in response to the I-35W Bridge collapse in August, 2007. This structure is not spared from this massive slaughter as it is slated for replacement as soon as the funding is approved (which could be either 2012 or 2013), unless attempts are made to rehabilitate it to prolong its functional life.
Link: http://www.bridgehunter.com/oh/summit/bh49749/

Honorably Mentioned:

Dotson Bridge. Photo taken by John Marvig

Dotson Bridge near Sanborn (Minnesota)- 29 votes: John Marvig had to fight through a half a mile of bushes, tall green grass and trees to discover and photograph this railroad bridge, a 1920s lattice through truss bridge that was once part of the Chicago and Northwestern railroad  route going from Sanborn to Sherburn and Fairmont, but was abandoned in the 1980s because of flood damage to the structure and the lack of service on the route. The bridge was named after a village that had once existed in the age of the Great Expansion (1870s) but all that is left of its memory is this piece of natural artwork. It is owned by the state department of natural resources but one has to get permission from nearby residents to get to the bridge.
Link with info:  http://pegnsean.net/~johnm/CNWCottonwoodRiverBridge.html
Other participants (with number of votes): Snowmobile Whipple Truss Bridge in northern New York state- taken by Marc Scotti (21); Riverside Bridge in Ozark (Missouri), taken by Daniel Shortt (13); Railroad/Pedestrian Bridge in New York state- taken by Marc Scotti (7); Sylvan Island Railroad Bridge-abandoned, in Rock Island (Illinois), taken by John Weeks III (6)

Note: The author would like to thank the students of the Departments of Civil Engineering, City Planning, and Building and Energy Technology at the University of Applied Science in Erfurt, Germany for voting on the historic bridge photos.

Best Kept Secret Award:

Charlotte Road Bridge at Historic Bridge Park. Photo taken by Nathan Holth, used by permission

Historic Bridge Park in Calhoun County (Michigan): This park, located not far from I-94 in south central Michigan, features a half-dozen vintage truss bridges, dating as far back as 1880; all of which were dismantled at their original sites, sandblasted, rewelded, and reassembled at their new location in the park.  This includes the Charlotte Highway Bridge, a 1886 Whipple through truss bridge, and the Bauer Road Bridge, a pin-connected Pratt through truss bridge with very ornamental and rare portal bracings. The mastermind behind the park is Vern Mesler as he has received many awards for his park and has inspired other groups to form parks similar to his. One of which was discovered in Iowa this past summer at F.W. Kent Park near Iowa City, which houses eight truss bridges. Mesler can add one more award to his collection with the Lifetime Legacy Award for his work.
Links:   http://historicbridges.org/truss/bauer/index.htm
http://historicbridges.org/truss/charlotte/index.htm
http://historicbridges.org/info/bridgepark/index.htm

Photo taken by the author in April 2011

Rendsburg High Bridge in Rendsburg (Germany): The first time that I crossed or even heard of this bridge was in May 2010 while on a train trip from Hamburg to Flensburg. Since that time information has been collected and it is sufficient enough to justify its prize on the international scale; especially given the fact that despite its rare design- a cantilever truss bridge with a transporter span over the Baltic-North Sea Canal combined with a loop approach supported by steel trestles and brick arch spans- and the fact that it was one of many bridges built in Germany by Friedrich Voss (this one was built in 1913), the bridge is under-recognized by the international bridge community. Even some pontists in the US had never heard about this bridge until it was presented at the Historic Bridge Conferences in Pittsburgh (2010) and St. Louis (2011).  Perhaps this recognition combined with an article to come in the Chronicles will help this bridge find its place on the international scale.
Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendsburg_High_Bridge

 

In addition to that, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles also has its own pics for historic bridges both in the US as well on the international scale that deserve to be recognized. Without further ado, here are the pics for 2011:

BRIDGEHUNTER CHRONICLES‘ BRIDGE PICS:
Best Example of Historic Bridge Reuse:
USA:
Full Throttle Saloon and Bridges in Sturgis (South Dakota): What was Michael Ballard thinking when he purchased a two-span through truss bridge (a Pennsylvania petit and a Pratt) and moved them to the world‘s largest and most popular motorcycle restaurant, bar and grandstand at Sturgis to be used as decoration and a grandstand for concerts? Well, nobody knows the answer to that question but Mr. Ballard himself. Yet maybe when he receives word of the award he is about to receive for his creativity in saving a historic bridge from becoming a pile of scrap metal and making it a popular tourist attraction, perhaps he will provide readers with a secret to his successful push to making his two bridges and his venue the place to visit while on a road trip through the country. The Bridgehunter‘s Chronicles has sent him a couple questions about this and as soon as an answer arrives, you will have an opportunity to read it for yourself.
Links:
http://www.bridgehunter.com/sd/meade/bh47904/
http://www.bridgehunter.com/sd/meade/bh47905/
http://www.fullthrottlesaloon.com/

International:

Photo taken by the author in December 2010

Krämerbrücke in Erfurt (Germany): The Kramer Bridge in the state capital of Thuringia in central Germany is perhaps the only bridge left in Europe whose arch design supports housing. The London Bridge was the other bridge, before its relocation to Lake Havasu City, Arizona in 1969. The bridge is part of the historic district considered a World Heritage Site and still houses small shops today ranging from local specialties to unique gifts for people to have. Further information on the bridge will come in a later column on the bridges in Erfurt. In the meantime….
Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krämerbrücke

Worst Example of Historic Bridge Reuse:

Oblique view of the Rock Island Bridge- Photo taken by John Weeks III, used with permission
Close-up of the swing span at the time of its demolition. Photo taken by John Weeks III, used with permission
The finished product- a pier using the last two spans of the Rock Island Bridge. Photo taken by the author in August, 2011

Rock Island Railroad Bridge at Inver Grove Heights (Minnesota)
This story is rather a tragic one for bridge lovers and locals interested in history. We have one of the most unique bridges in the country that spanned the Mississippi River bordering Dakota and Washington Counties south of St. Paul, built in 1894 by a bridge company in Pittsburgh. It was a double-decker bridge (with the lower deck carrying vehicular traffic and the upper deck carrying rail traffic) with seven Pratt truss spans, a Baltimore petit swing span and four Vierendeel truss spans (in the row from the Dakota side to the Washington side). It was closed to traffic in 1999 and was left abandoned until it was reduced down to a quarter of the entire structure in 2010- namely two Pratt spans on the Dakota side. It was then converted into a pier with welded trusses constructed as approach spans. In the eyes of many pontists and those knowing the bridge, while two spans were salvaged, the bridge is still considered a total loss, as cutting the spans up into blocks without finding other alternatives to using it for pedestrian use, combined with Washington County’s unwillingness to cooperate in the mitigation efforts resulted in a bridge altered to a point of no acknowledgement of its historic value.
Links: http://www.johnweeks.com/bridges/pages/ms02.html
http://www.bridgehunter.com/mn/washington/rock-island/

The Salvageable Mentioned:

The east spans of the Horn’s Ferry Bridge. Photo taken by the author in August 2011

Horn’s Ferry Bridge in Marion County (Iowa)
Located just below the Red Rock Dam over the Des Moines River 30 km south of Pella, the bridge was one of the longest vehicular bridges over the Des Moines River, let alone the state of Iowa. The bridge was built in 1882 and consisted of (from west to east) seven pony truss spans, one Camelback through truss span, one riveted Pratt through truss span and one riveted Warren pony truss span. While it was closed in 1982 when the new bridge, located upstream from the old one was open, it was open to pedestrians and cyclists for another 10 years until August 1992, when half the bridge fell into the river because one of the piers failed. After removing the wreckage and additional trusses, the remaining spans were salvaged and are now piers overlooking each other’s banks and adjacent campground. While the major superstructure, the first built over the Des Moines River in Marion County was a major loss, the county did an excellent job of saving what is left of the historic structure and is still a major attraction for tourists and campers.
Note: The author is looking for additional information and photos of the bridge before its collapse in 1992 for an article in the Chronicles as well as a book on Iowa’s truss bridges.
Links to photos: http://www.bridgehunter.com/ia/marion/bh49471/

The Worst Reason to Destroy a Bridge:
United States:
Fort Keogh Bridge near Miles City (Montana): This bridge is the rarest over the Yellowstone River as it consists of two Pennsylvania Petit through truss main spans and a pony truss approach span, built in 1902 by the Hewett Bridge Company in Minneapolis (the same builder responsible for the Salisbury Bridge in Minnesota). Yet floodwaters caused the pony truss bridge to partially collapse and one of the main spans to tilt by 10°. Natural solution: tear the whole structure down even though it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge cannot be saved says the state historical society, yet one has to look at examples of bridges in similar shape like this that were dismantled (with bridge parts fixed) and reassembled, as is the case with the State Street Bridge in Saginaw County (Michigan) If the bridge still stands at the time of the awards, one should contact Nathan Holth, Vern Mesler and Julie Bowers for options and an estimate.
Links: http://www.bridgehunter.com/mt/custer/fort-keogh/
http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_0a0be72c-60a0-57ff-8605-9712b4c0df5d.html

http://www.historicbridges.org/truss/state/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_mcmt/5947278628/in/set-72157624985190546/  (Collection of photos of the Ft. Keogh Bridge after the flood damage)

Honorably Mentioned: Drayton Bridge in Oslo (North Dakota): This story was rather tragic. One wants to see the 1950s style Turner truss bridge with an unusual design (endposts not supported by piers), only to be denied the chance twice- once by inclimate weather and the second time because it was removed right after the spring floods in May. Todd Wilson of Bridgemapper once commented “Why are some of the unique bridges gone before one wants to see it?” Ask the Minnesota and North Dakota Departments of Transportation, as I do not have a clue either; especially as the bridge would have been a centerpiece for a bike trail for the people of Oslo and along the Red River…..
Link: http://www.bridgehunter.com/mn/kittson/6690/

International:
The Bridges in Saalfeld (Germany): On an international scale, here is a stupid reason for demolishing a bridge: because of the lack of money to maintain it. The southern Thuringian city of 25,000 inhabitants received this award because of the plan to remove not one, but EIGHT bridges! Even more insane is the fact that they are all pedestrian bridges built in the 1970s and 80s- two over the main highways going through the city and six along the two tributaries feeding the Saale River, the main river passing through the community. While this solution may be a short-term fix to save money, in the long term, it will create headaches for many pedestrians and cyclists for they will have to bike to the nearest vehicular bridge to cross and many of these structures are not suitable for this type of traffic. Smooth move on the part of the city government who plans on executing this plan beginning in 2012. Sad part is the fact that other cities are thinking that same idea, including Zittau, located on the Neisse River at the German-Polish border, which plans on removing two of its bridges beginning next year for similar reasons.
Link (German): http://www.otz.de/web/zgt/suche/detail/-/specific/Rueckbau-der-Bruecken-minderer-Qualitaet-in-Saalfeld-beschlossen-556950036
http://www.mdr.de/sachsen/neissebruecken100.html

The Best Find of a Historic Bridge:

Approaching the bridge from the south hill side. Photo taken by the author in August 2011

Spring Hill Bridge in Warren County (Iowa)
Iowa has a number of truss bridges that have been sitting out of use for many years, but manage to find its place in the nature. Some of them, like the Bellefont and Evelyn Bridges along the Des Moines River and the Hardin City Bridge near Steamboat Rock have been documented and are awaiting reuse for recreation purposes. Perhaps this 1909 Clinton Bridge and Iron Company Parker through truss structure should belong to the ranks of the “diamonds in the rough needing attention and recognition.” The structure was found by the author by accident coming back from the Historic Bridge Conference in St. Louis in August of this year. Even though the bridge has been closed for at least 10 years, it appears that the structure spanning the South River is in good shape and is being used for recreational purposes by local residents living up the hill from the structure. The only caveat to this bridge is accessing it, as the south approach has eroded to a point where the road ends a half a mile from the bridge. Access from the north end is possible, albeit it is privately owned.
Link: http://www.bridgehunter.com/ia/warren/334580/

Photo taken by the author in April 2011.

Kluvensiek Draw Bridge near Rendsburg (Germany): This is one of a few places that still exists along the Old Eider Canal, the predecessor to the Baltic-North Sea Canal which connects Kiel (the capital of Schleswig-Holstein) and Heide (where the North Sea is located). The drawbridge, built in 1850 by a company in Rendsburg, only received minimal attention through magazines and local newspaper articles. However, given the fact that the iron ornamental towers- which was part of a double-leaf bascule bridge which was in service for 40 years until the canal was decommissioned- is still intact despite the canal being partially filled in and can be seen from the nearby highway, the bridge is definitely worth a stop for a photo opportunity. (Please see link where the bridge is mentioned:http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2011/07/28/touring-the-bridges-along-the-grand-canal-part-i/)

The Biggest Bonehead Story:
Thieves stealing an entire bridge in New Castle (Pennsylvania) for the price of metal:

With prices of metal flying sky high within the last five years and the economic conditions being unstable, one would actually show some restraint and not steal one’s personal belongings just to sell it for the price of a commodity, like scrap metal, right? Not with these thieves as a group of four people dismantled an entire 50 foot stringer bridge, sitting abandoned over a small creek, with blow torches, loaded them up onto trucks and took it to the steel yards for money. While they were eventually arrested for grand theft, the total loss for the bridge was over $100,000 and they set the precedent for others to follow, as reports of missing bridge parts were reported in Mississippi and at least six other states. Stupidity and desperation does have its rewards, but at the expense of others (including their lives), as this incredible act is on par with a story of an electrician’s attempts to steal copper from a live 200 volt transformer on an power line pole in Texas! I will not go into detail as to what happened there….. This story far outguns one’s attempts of crossing the Fryer’s Ford Bridge in Arkansas in May of this year- and dropping it into the river in the process- by over a mile and therefore receives the award outright.
Links:

Thieves Steal An Entire Metal Bridge in Pennsylvania
http://www.minyanville.com/dailyfeed/2011/10/10/thieves-steal-entire-bridge-for/
http://www.bridgehunter.com/story/1160/#Comments