BHC Newsflyer 9 July, 2019

Merill Road Bridge in George County, Mississippi. Photo taken by James Baughn in 2015

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Listen to the podcast with all the headlines and commentary on the UNESCO World Heritage being given to the Ore Mountain region here: https://anchor.fm/jason-smith-bhc19/episodes/BHC-Newsflyer-9-July–2019-e4is4a

 

Merill Road Bridge Restored: http://bridgehunter.com/ms/george/bh44065/

Historic Bridge Head/Gate restored at Alte Brücke in Heidelberg, Germany:

Article: https://www.rheinpfalz.de/lokal/artikel/heidelberg-tor-der-alten-bruecke-erstrahlt-in-neuem-glanz-eineinhalb-jahre-saniert/

Bridge facts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Bridge_(Heidelberg)

Bear Tavern Bridge in New Jersey Relocated- Reused as a decoration to a new crossing

Article: http://mercerme.com/old-jacobs-creek-bridge-at-new-home-on-valley-road/

Bridge facts: http://bridgehunter.com/nj/mercer/bear-tavern/

 

Two Erie Canal Bridges to be Rehabilitated

Article: https://www.wxxinews.org/post/renovation-project-begins-historic-erie-canal-lift-bridges

            Bridge facts (Spencerport): http://bridgehunter.com/ny/monroe/4443230/

            Bridge facts (Fairport): http://bridgehunter.com/ny/monroe/4443220/

 

Key Railroad Crossing in Lausanne to be Rehabilitated with Crawler Cranes: https://www.suedostschweiz.ch/aus-dem-leben/2019-07-05/bruecke-in-lausanne-wird-mit-groesstem-raupenkran-europas-saniert

 

Play depicting Kate Shelley now showing:

https://www.facebook.com/Kate-Shelleys-Bridge-202977743956361/

Information on Kate Shelley:  https://www.kateshelley.com/

 

Ore Mountains Receives World Heritage Award

  News article:https://www.dw.com/en/unesco-declares-erzgebirge-region-a-world-heritage-site/a-49497680

            Author’s comments can be found in the podcast.

 

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Something Old and Something New at the Historic Bridge Weekend

Cascade Bridge in Burlington, Iowa. One of many bridges visited on the tour.

Open-air presentations, reunion with old friends and colleagues, incredible bridge finds
There is a first time in everything. This old saying can be applied to this year’s Historic Bridge Weekend, which took place August 9-12 in eastern Iowa. While we had a total of 23 participants from all over the US and Germany at the four-day event, which in the face of the Iowa State Fair and the Knoxville Nationals that took place at the same time, was a sizable turnout, we did have some firsts that made the four-day event memorable for everyone. We had the youngest presenter talking about bridges- aged 15. We had the youngest participant, who was four years old and was also pictured in an article produced by the Iowa City Press Citizen crossing the Sutliff Bridge. We had our first open-air presentations on the night we dedicated to a special pontist who worked to save many bridges in Iowa. The bridgehunting tour featured a bridge-smorgasbord, meaning people can visit the bridges they wanted to go to- and got some great pics in addition to that. This first time event is despite the fact that we had a guided tour. And even though the four-day event was also a first (for the Weekend usually takes place Friday to Sunday), the fourth day featured a tour through the life of a girl who saved many lives from a train wreck, which downed one bridge, but not before having to cross a long bridge on her hands and knees in the face of a fierce storm with torrential flooding. While some points from the 2013 Weekend will be detailed in future articles and photos of the Weekend can be found on the Chronicles’ facebook site (click here to get to the site), here are some highlights of the events that made the fifth annual Weekend an interesting success story.

Stone City General Store and Restaurant: site of the open-air dedication ceremony on Friday

Open-air presentation:
In the fresh air with only the Wapsi-secadas chirping along the Wapsipinicon River, singing in the background, the Friday night dedication dinner honoring the late James Hippen took place at the Stone City General Store and Restaurant located three miles west of Anamosa. Elaine Hippen, widow of the late history professor at Luther College who died in February 2010, and Bill Moellering, former engineer for Fayette County who was close friends with Mr. Hippen, spoke at the event. Due to the missing conference room and lots of noise, the presentations took place on the front terrace of the restaurant where the secadas dominated the background noise mainly. This makeshift concept was well-received and gave some people an idea of how to have an open-air evening of the Weekend in the future, yet such an event would require a venue that is quiet and cut off from the usual crowd, which at the General Store was very noisy and full of Bachelors.

 

Ely Stret Bridge in Bertram

Saturday Morning Bridge Tour:

While this year’s bridgehunting tour featured a smorgasbord, which meant that participants can pick and choose which bridges to visit, several people took advantage of the Saturday morning bridge tour, which was given by Quinn Phelan and started at the Anamosa Bridge before going to a restored covered bridge, the Upper Paris Bridge, and three other bridges in and around the Bertram area, located east of Cedar Rapids. After ending the tour at the Ely Street Bridge, we went to the F.W. Kent Park west of Iowa City to look at several truss bridges that were relocated from parts of Johnson County to be used on the bike trail. The park features several miles of trails, a lake with swimming possibilities and some playgrounds. As for the bridges, here’s the Chronicles’ Guessing Quiz for you to ponder and answer:

How many truss bridges are located at F.W. Kent Park?

When was the park first conceived?

The answer will come when the article on this park is posted as part of the series on Iowa’s bridges and the Historic Bridge Weekend.

Sutliff Bridge near Mt. Vernon. Photo taken by Birgit Smith

 

Paying Homage to an Iowa Icon:

After allowing some time to see other bridges in the afternoon, Saturday night’s presentation and dinner took place at Baxa’s Sutliff Restaurant and Tavern, located across the road from the three-span Sutliff Bridge. Built in 1898 over the Cedar River, the bridge served traffic until being converted to a pedestrian crossing in the 1980s and had remained intact until floodwaters amputated the easternmost span and its west approaches on 13 June, 2008. Four years and a couple million dollars later, the bridge reopened with a replica span in place. Randy Owl, who owns the Restaurant and is Vice President of the Sutliff Bridge Authority took 30 minutes to talk about the bridge to approx. 21 people who attended the event. Nathan Holth and John Marvig also took some time to talk about their work. Mr. Holth’s Historic Bridges,org is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, while Mr. Marvig talked about railroad bridges in Iowa, focusing on the crossings in the Quad Cities and Dubuque areas.

A Tour Back into Time:

After a presentation on the bridges of Marion County and the Silent Auction on Sunday in Pella, the four-day event concluded with a trip back into time to honor a young girl who saved many lives. A dozen people took part in the tour of Kate Shelley and the bridges which bear her name in history and her honor. The tour, conducted by Pamela Schwarz, started at the Boone County Historical Museum in Boone and took us to the Kate Shelley Viaduct, the Wagon Wheel Bridge located north of the viaduct, the remains of the Honey Creek Bridge, the site of where the bridge collapsed in a storm on the night of July 6th, 1881. Ms. Shelley’s farm was located nearby and she heard the bridge collapse that night. And finally the tour ended at Moingona, the site of the train station where Kate informed the tenant of the accident and approaching train. Behind the station was the remants of the Des Moines River bridge where Kate crawled across the bridge to get help.  Misty McNally created a pop quiz on Kate Shelley and her heroic deeds and it will be posted in the next article.

Reunion with old friends and colleagues:

For one person, the Historic Bridge Weekend provided a special treat as it a chance to reunite with some old friends. Bill Moellering was the county engineer for Fayette County from 1964 until his retirement in 2001 and collaborated closely with James Hippen on saving the bridges in his county- namely by bypassing them and leaving them in place- as it was the most cost-effective measure at that time. An article on the bridges in the county is in the works and will come out soon. It also included some help from the Iowa DOT in identifying the most significant bridges and determining which ones should be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While meeting new people at the Weekend, he reunited with Jim’s widow Elaine at the Friday night event and shared some memories of his days working together with the historian. Judy McDonald, who was historian at the Iowa DOT before retiring in 2009, also had an opportunity to visit with him for the first time in many years, while on the Kate Shelley tour.  Despite all the travels he and his son Jack went through on the Weekend tour to visit some of the finest bridges in the state, Bill was the star of the show as he shared some interesting stories with others, many of which were unforgettable. It also garnered some media attention at home in West Union, as the county recently turned to him for some guidance on how to reuse the bridges that have been serving as objects for tourists and pontists to see. More on the latest developments can be found here.

 

What’s next?

Despite a successful turnout overall, combined with a successful silent auction in the face of a few participants at Bos Landen on Sunday, and lots of memories while on the bridgehunting tour, some lessons for the next Historic Bridge Weekend can and will be taken with for the next coordinators to organize. While it is highly unlikely that we will have a four-day event like this again (or if so, it’ll be a Thursday through Sunday ordeal), the next Historic Bridge Weekend in 2014, which appears to be going to Michigan will be more local as many regions have numerous bridges within a 150-mile radius. Less is more when it comes to travelling to see the historic bridges, especially because of gas prices but also one has a chance to see more and visit more. This will be key when planning for future Weekends, as some areas in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana will be targets for bridge enthusiasts to visit and photograph. Also interesting is to find out how to include children in the Historic Bridge Weekend, for as we see in this year’s event, the interest in historic bridges has increased with each generation. The question is how to make the event more interesting for children without having to bore them with travelling long distances just to see a bridge. As mentioned many times, a bridge is just an ordinary bridge unless it has historic and aesthetic value and/or unique design for people to see. It is more of a question of marketing this so that people can understand better how bridges play a role in the country’s infrastructure and America’s history, which seems to evolve around making things better for everyone to use and learn.

Author’s note: Some of the bridges highlighted on the tour will be featured in separate articles, including the Cascade Bridge in Burlington, the Bridges of Marion, Winneshiek and Fayette Counties and Bunker Mill Bridge near Kalona- the last of which has its future hanging in the balance because of a fire that destroyed the bridge’s flooring on the morning of the 12th. Stay tuned for more articles to come.

But first……

 

Newsflyer 27 May 2013

 

 

 

 

 

Update on the Historic Bridge Weekend in Iowa,  (Modern) Bridge Collapse in Missouri

In light of the Washington Bridge Collapse last Monday, one would point their fingers on bridge types as a way of pushing for them to be erased from the highway system. Yet Saturday’s collapse of another bridge in Missouri, built only 30 years ago, raises questions about how bridges are built and maintained and what changes should be made in that department. That plus an update on the upcoming Historic Bridge Weekend are found in this Newsflyer:

Photo taken by James Baughn

Railroad Overpass Collapses after Train Derailment/ Collision

Rockville, MO. Built in 1988, this combination steel and concrete girder, spanning two railroads just outside the town of Rockville (30 miles west of the Mississippi River in Scott County) and carrying Missouri Route M would not have expected a bridge disaster to happen, like it did on Saturday.  The 25-year old structure, expected to last at least 50 years carrying main traffic, had its life span cut short during that afternoon, when two trains collided, causing a derailment, and resulting in the bridge being destroyed. 21 people were injured in the wreck.  This disaster is one of the worst in bridge engineering, ranking it up there with the train wreck in Entschede, Germany on 3 June, 1998, destroying a railroad overpass and killing as many as 101 passengers. While the ICE Train, which was travelling at 80 mph before it derailed and folded together like an accordion, the trains at Rockville were going half the speed when the mishap happened.  While investigators will be looking at the behavior of the trains before it happens, the bridge collapse will raise questions about how bridges are being built and many will find ways to build structures that are able to withstand the abuse caused by all forms of transportation, especially given the light of an earlier bridge disaster in Washington.

 

Portal view of the rebuilt span. Photo taken by Quinn Phelan

HB Weekend Travel Itinerary available online; Registration form available upon request.

In the past week, work has been undertaken on the travel itinerary for this year’s Historic Bridge Weekend in eastern Iowa, Des Moines and Boone County. Thanks to the app, Popplet, the itinerary is now available online for you to download. Please click onto the following links, zoom in and out and scroll down to see which bridges will be targeted for photo opportunities by many people expected to attend the 4-day event. The bridgehunting event will be a smorgasbord-style event, meaning even though there will be one or two primary tours to the most important bridges, pontists and bridge enthusiasts can elect to choose the bridges they want to see, while not missing out on the meetings and dinner/entertainment that will take place during that weekend.

Please note: The itinerary does NOT include the bridges of Linn and Marion Counties, for each party responsible for organizing the guided tour will have maps available for you in person. The Linn County tour will start on 10 August at 8:30am, whereas the Marion County tour will take place 11 August at 2:30pm. More information available here.

Itinerary Links:

Day 1

Day 2

Days 3 & 4

Author’s tip: While we will start on August 9 at Old Barn Resort in Preston, MN, the bridges that are highly recommended to visit during the weekend include:

The Bridges in Winneshiek and Fayette Counties, The Bridges of Lanesboro, MN, Motor Mill Bridge in Clayton Bridge, Elkader Arch Bridge, Bergfeld Pond Bridge in Dubuque, The Bridges of Jones, Linn and Johnson Counties (including the ones at F.W. Kent Park west of Iowa City), Cascade Bridge in Burlington, Ft. Madison Swing Bridge, The Des Moines River Bridges between Keokuk and Des Moines and of course the Kate Shelley and Wagon Wheel Bridges.

It may be possible that the last span of the CGW Railroad Bridge in Des Moines is still up when visiting it, but don’t hold your breath….

ALSO: Registration forms for the dinner and entertainment portion is available directly through the author. Please inquire by e-mail at either flensburg.bridgehunter.av@googlemail.com or JDSmith77@gmx.net and you will receive a form to fill out and return by no later than 15 July.  This is to determine how many people are expected at the venues. Payments will be collected at the event.

Bridge memorabilia is being sought for the silent auction taking place on 11 August at Bos Landen Golf Course in Pella. If you have bridge photos and items you want to part ways with, please bring them to the event or contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles.

REMINDER: Bridge information, etc. is still being sought for the Bridge Book Project, the Truss Bridges of Iowa, which the author is working on. An Information Box will be made available for you to contribute to the project. You can also talk with the author of the book at the evening events or while on the bridgehunting tour.  Or just send it via e-mail, which will get there quickly and directly.

 

Newsflyer: 15 May 2013

Wagon Wheel Bridge in Boone. Photo taken in September 2010 when the bridge was closed to all traffic. Recently it was rehabilitated and reopened to pedestrians only.

 

So far this year, it has been Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde when it comes to historic bridges being preserved in comparison to those that are on the way to the scrap heap. For the latter in this Newsflyer, it has more to do with stupidity than with natural disasters and structural deficiencies that are justified in their replacement. Yet there are some bright stories with regards to bridges being rehabilitated and reopened. Here are some of the headlines:
 

Bascule Bridge in Michigan Damaged by Drunken Bridge Operator.

Spanning the Rouge River in Detroit, the Jefferson Avenue Bridge features a double-leaf bascule design, whose truss type is similar to the ones found in Chicago, like the Clark Street Bridge. Unfortunately, the future of this bridge, built in 1922 by a Chicago bridge builder is everything but certain for it sustained extensive damage to the bridge deck. More peculiar is the fact that the damage was caused by the bridge operator who closed the bascule bridge as a barge was about to cross underneath it. The operator was taken into custody on suspicion that he was operating while intoxicated. The bridge is now closed and is in an open position to allow for marine traffic to pass underneath it. It will remain closed until further notice while inspectors will look to see whether the bridge can be repaired or if replacement is necessary. More information on the bridge disaster can be found here, along with information on this bridge. This is the second bridge to fall victim to carelessness this past weekend, for another bridge located in Iowa is on its way to the dumpster after a tree landed on it. The Chronicles has an article that you can see here.

 

Photo taken by James Baughn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quincy Memorial Bridge to be demolished and replaced?

“The bridge is more than 80 years old and has been on a priority list for replacement,” stated Roger Driskell, Deputy Director at the Illinois Department of Transportation.  It is ironic to say something about a bridge that has spanned the Mississippi River for over 80 years and appears to be in tip top shape, given its recent rehabilitation. But that is not enough for the Illinois DOT to proceed with plans to demolish the 1930 Warren through truss bridge built by a company based in New York. So far, $1 billion has been put aside for the planning and it is expected that an additional $3 billion will be needed to actually do the work, which is scheduled to begin in 2018. Since 1986 the bridge has served eastbound traffic of US Hwy. 24, while the Bayview Bridge, a cable-stayed suspension bridge carries westbound traffic. However, a long fight to save the Quincy Memorial Bridge is in the making, for the historic bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which means before construction begins on the bridge, Section 106 will be required, meaning alternatives to demolition will be brought onto the table and locals associated with the bridge will fight to ensure the bridge remains standing in use for another 80 years. The Chronicles will be keeping you informed on the latest in that story.

 

Worley Bridge Being Altered?

Located over the San Gabriel River west of Rockdale  in Milam County, Texas, this 1911 Pratt through truss bridge, eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was closed to traffic and was to be rehabilitated this summer. Yet, unlike some of the bridges that were rehabilitated using hot rivets, as was done with another county truss bridge the Sugarloaf Mountain Camelback Truss Bridge, Worley will be rehabilitated using field rivets and gusset plates. The difference can be seen in the pictures by clicking on the links above. How this will alter the truss bridge remains unclear, but it is expected that the project will take three years to complete, for the bridge will be taken apart, renovated in parts and built on new abutments to be reopened to traffic. More information and comments on the renovation plans can be found here.

 

The spans with the railroad viaduct in the background

Boone Bridge now open to pedestrians- part of Kate Shelley Tour on 12 August

There is some good news for another Iowa historic bridge that will be part of the tour during the Historic Bridge Weekend in August: The Wagon Wheel, the longest surviving pre-1920 vehicular truss bridge along the Des Moines River west of Boone is now open to pedestrians. Built in 1909 by the Iowa Bridge Company, the five-span through truss bridge, featuring one Pennsylvania, three tall Pratt and one smaller Pratt, sustained extensive damage during the 2008 Floods, as the east approach span was partially washed out.  Debate on the future of the bridge lingered on for the next two and a half years until a decision was made to convert the bridge into a pedestrian crossing.  Thanks to the opening of the bridge for pedestrian use, people can now walk across the bridge and see the Kate Shelley Viaducts again, without having to take several rather painful detours.

The Wagon Wheel and Kate Shelley Viaducts, together with the Madrid and Bass Creek Viaducts will be part of the 2-3 hour tour fn the bridges of Boone County and the life of Kate Shelley on the last day of the Historic Bridge Weekend, August 12, beginning at 10:00am. The venue will be the Boone County Historical Center in Boone (info on location here.) and after touring the exhibits devoted to Kate Shelley, a trip to the railroad and bridge remains at Moingona and the bridges will follow. If interested in participating in the Kate Shelley and Bridge Tours on 12 August, please contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles before 15 July, using the contact details provided here.