BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 121

This week’s Pic of the Week takes us back to 2016 and to the City of Jena in the German state of Thuringia. During a bike tour on St. Nicholas Day (December 6th), I took advantage of the cold and frosty morning to get some frosty shots of the Saaletal Viaduct, which spans two rivers and a wide valley. Normally it is impossible to get a shot for the grass area between is sometimes used for farming. It was not the case as I took a pair of shots of both the original viaduct as well as an additional one. As a bonus, there was a person who also took advantage of the cold weather and took his dog for a walk. When I arrived back home that day, my ghotee was all covered in frost. But looking back, it was one tour that was worth it.

And as for the Saaletal Viaduct:

The original viaduct was built in 1939, spanning the Saale River, the Roda River, and a valley that is over a kilometer wide and separates two of Jena’s southern suburbs: Lobeda to the east and Göschwitz to the west. The bridge is a masonary arch viaduct, which is the work of Friedrich Tamms and has 20 arch spans, totalling 800 meters long. It took two years to complete the viaduct (photos of the project can be seen by clicking here). The bridge sustained damage to the arch spans during World War II but was subsequentially repaired by the East German government to ensure it continues use.

After German Reunification, the motorway was assigned the A4 which connects Cologne and Dresden via Kassel. As part of the project to widen the motorway to six lanes, a supplemental span, consisting of a skeletal arch viaduct with as many spans as the original one, was built in 2002 and since then, serves eastbound traffic with the 1939 span serving westbound traffic. The new span can best be seen from the Roda River near Ruhla, whereas the original span can best be seen from the hills northwest of the bridge, as well as in parts of Göschwitz. 

Additional work included the rerouting of the motorway and the construction of two tunnels on each ends of the twin viaducts, which was completed the same year the photos were taken. One of which, the Jagdberg Tunnel, is one of the ten longest tunnels in Germany, at three kilometers long. It’s west of the twin viaducts.

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 102

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Our 102nd Pic of the Week tells a story of how a bridge became a tunnel and how no one but the biker could tell of the change.  This bridge-converted-to-tunnel is located in Jena, in the eastern German state of Thuringia and spans Ammerbach Creek, which runs through the southern suburbs of Ammerbach and Winzerla before it empties into the River Saale near the Ernst-Abbe-Sportsstadium.  It was constructed during the same time as the railroad that connected Weimar with Gera with a regional hub station at Jena-Göschwitz- namely 1876. The stone arch span is no longer than 20 meters and has a height of six meters.

So how was the bridge „converted“ into a tunnel?

This was in connection with the reconstruction of the rail line between Weimar and Jena-Göschwitz and it had to do with a nearby bridge that was built in 1935, spanning Kahlaische Strasse, which was a combination of car and tram services. Because of structural instability due to age and the low clearance on the street, workers built a new bridge off site that was a meter higher and twice as long as the main span of 30 meters over the street. This does not include a tunnel on the west side of the street.  The entire structure was then torn down, and the new span slid into place.

At the same time, this short-span crossing in the picture was rehabilitated and an additional one meter of railroad bedding was added in order to smooth the grading between the two bridges. A double-concrete railing was added on each side to allow for electrical wires to run through the top railing and to capture the falling rocks by the bottom railing.

This whole conversion and nearby bridge replacement happened from the fall of 2016 until the middle part of 2017 and resulted in detours of all kinds, from rail traffic all the way to the bike trail, which the now-converted tunnel crosses.  Living in Winzerla for 15 out of the 20 years I spent in Jena, one can find the detours rather annoying unless you know some short cuts and detours to the city center by car or bike. But this was one that was part of the mega-project on several routes through Jena that brought 70% of the city’s total  traffic to a  standstill and increased the blood pressure of every driver and biker by an average of 45%! It was a bit over the top and still to this day, management could have been better.

In either case, with the water under the bridge, one can still enjoy this scenic view of the tunnel, now covered with vegetation after a a couple years of bare concrete and rock. Like the bridge, this tunnel comes up fast when you bike between the city center and the south of Jena, and one cannot see it right away- unless you make a stop, like I did with my family. This photo was taken last year, in 2019. And the weather was perfect for the pose. The original arch is still there, covered by bushes and trees. However, it is obvious that the structure has been converted into a tunnel.  😉  Nevertheless, one can enjoy the scenery with just the trains passing by. A real treat when you bike through Jena and along the River Saale.  🙂

 

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The Holzlandbahn provides direct connection between Dresden and Düsseldorf via Chemnitz, Glauchau, Gera, Jena, Erfurt and Kassel. While regional trains run on this route mostly, plans are in the making to electrify the railline completely so that InterCity trains can use them by 2030.  More information on the line’s history can be found here.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 97

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This week’s Pic of the Week takes us to the City of Jena in eastern Thuringia and to this bridge, the Carl Alexander Bridge, which is about seven kilometers to the north of the city. The three-span Parker through truss bridge, built in 1892, spans the River Saale and can be seen high in the air from Dornburg Castle. In either direction, one has a grandiose photographic view- towards the castle from the bridge or from the terrace of the castle. The bridge was imploded before the end of World War II but was subsequentially rebuilt afterwards. It had served traffic until a new bridge on a new alignment opened in the late 1990s and the truss bridge was converted to a bike crossing, serving the Saale Bike Trail. While living in Jena, my wife and I would always use this bridge to cross while biking along the Saale. It was a great treat even to spend a few minutes break at the bridge.

Since 2018 the bridge has undergone an extensive renovation where crews replaced the decking and some truss parts, as well as removed the pack rust on the trusses, repainted the whole structure and made repairs on the bridge’s abutments. We had an opportunity to visit the bridge during our most recent visit. Having moved away from Jena, we wanted to revisit some of the places that held lots of memories in the 19+ years we lived there. This was one of them, especially as the structure was being rehabbed.

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As you can see in the pics presented, the bridge looks like new and the rehab is almost finished. The new decking was added and paved. What is missing are the railings. Before the work began, fencing was placed on both sides of the trusses from  the inside to keep people from leaning on the railings, Much of the original railings was as rusty and corroded as the trusses themselves and therefore had to be removed for restoring.  As you can see in the tunnel shot, it looks done, but not just yet.

According to the website, the railings are not the only issue left. The bridge will be lit with LED, making it shine to its glory at night and replacing the yellow sodium lighting that had existed before but emitted an amber color of dystopia that was unwelcoming to visitors.  Furthermore, a bridge park with an info-board on the bridge’s history will be built near the parking lot on the east end. Fundraising is still being done to make this a reality. If you are interested, click here  to donate.

It is unknown when the bridge will reopen, let alone how long it will take for at least the structural work will be done before opening the bridge. Due to the Corona Virus and the restrictions that are in place, it is very unlikely that an opening ceremony will take place this year. This will buy workers more time to finish the work on their „To-Do“ List and have the bridge ready for use again. Although the bridge will re-open in silence, the celebration will most likely happen in 2021 or even 2022, when the bridge is 110 years old. In either case, like with the Corona, patience is the key. Give them time and you will be given time to use it again. Word to the wise.

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 67

It’s autumn and with that, the start of the time of year where the photos are at their best. With a combination of fall colors on trees, changing weather patterns between sun, storms and wind- ending up with snow and lastly long nights with long, bright color of the moon, one can come up with the best photos no matter where you go and what objects you are photographing.

This Pic of the Week is a prime example of it. This was taken in Jena in the German state of Thuringia three years ago. It was in September and it was a cold night. Yet with the super moon that happened during that time, it was irresistible to take the bike out there and get a few pics, including one of the bike itself with the lights on:

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And this covered bridge in the village of Kunitz, located a kilometer from the city limits:

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This bridge has a unique history along with the town of 400 inhabitants. The crossing over the River Saale is a replica of a covered bridge that was built in 1832. It survived over a century until the end of April 1945, when Nazi soldiers detonated the structure in an attempt to foil any attempts of the allies to encroach on Germany even further. Jena and Thuringia became part of the Soviet Zone after the war and instead of restoring the bridge, they constructed a concrete slab in 1947, which lasted 74 years. Still, locals worked together to preserve the memories of the bridge and took advantage of the expansion of the Saale Bike Trail by constructing the bridge’s replica in 2012. The bridge was erected on a new alignment, using the piers of a temporary bridge (Behelfsbrücke) used when the original crossing was being replaced. After the new bridge was opened, the covered bridge was built mimicking the original. The covered bridge today carries a branch of the Saale Bike Trail between Kunitz and the industrial area in Jena-Nord.

I took a lot of pics of the bridge with the Pentax but to do a bit of clean-up with the lighting, I doctored this one via Instagram: an oblique view with the moon rising from the eastern hills of the Saaletal and the weeds growing in the front of the bridge’s portal entrance. The brightness of the wood and vegetation was in part because of the lighting installed to provide safe passage at night. One could not imagine walking around Kunitz at night 15 years ago. Today, with a company of friends and/or family, it is safe to say that an evening walk is solely OK, photo opps with a good camera and graphic program is even better.

And as for the finished product like what is seen here, they speak for themselves. Happy Bridgehunting and happy Photoshooting! 🙂

 

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Information on the Kunitzer Hausbrücke, the official name of the covered bridge, can be found by clicking here. There is a restaurant between the two bridges on the banks of the River Saale which bears the bridge’s name and provides a great view of the River Saale and the town’s two bridges.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 64

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As we say good-bye to one of Erfurt’s prized treasures, I would like to show you an earlier pic of the Riethbrücke in Erfurt, when there were no barriers restricting its crossing. This pic was taken in 2004, when I was a Master’s student at the University of Jena, which is east of the capital of Thuringia. Studying political science, I would spend a day at the library at the University of Erfurt as it had a wider selection of books available to my liking (as a note: I my primary focus was on domestic policies- especially pertaining to public health). On the way to the University Library, I would stop at this bridge for some  pictures, especially as the Gera Bike Trail was the only safest way to my destination from the Central Railway Station.  The pic was taken with a Konica-Minolta mirror-reflex, 35mm camera with film; something that was still in before digital cameras would take over completely.  The markings of film-camera pics is noticable in this picture, taken during the early afternoon.

Even though I graduated in 2007, I returned to Erfurt in 2010 to teach at the University of Applied Sciences for two years. I would regularly pass this bridge while commuting to work from my home in Gispersleben (to the north). They had already placed the barriers on the bridge and been planning to replace the structure then. That the bridge lasted as longer as it did had nothing to do with the other crossings that needed to be replaced prior to that, but more with what to do with a bridge that has had a history of serving Erfurt for over a century and henceforth having been listed as a technical historical site by the State of Thuringia. It was one of us; one of the two dozen historic bridges that makes Erfurt a great place for bridgehunters, photographers and historians alike.

With the bridge now at the Highway Depot awaiting a much-needed makeover, the question is where the bridge’s new home will be. That will take some time to determine ist destiny.

For more on the bridge’s move, click here to read the article.

 

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Riethbrücke in Erfurt Dismantled

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130-year old historic bridge relocated to highway depot. Relocation to new place to be determined.

ERFURT (GERMANY)- The days of one historic bridge have been numbered- at least at its now former location. The question is where to find a new home for it. The Riethbrücke used to span the River Gera at Riethstrasse, near the sports complex in the northern suburb of Rieth. Built in 1890, the curved Parker pony truss span was first placed over the Flutgraben Diversion Canal just south of Erfurt Central Station before it was relocated to its present site in 1912. For 107 years, it had served car and bike traffic with no problems.

Sadly though, the bridge is no more at this location. As recently as today, crews transported the truss structure to its new home, which is the highway depot near Bindersleben, west of Erfurt. Crew had cut the 25 meter (75 foot) long and six meter (18 foot) wide bridge into two parts the day before, so that it can be transported easily along the main highways leading to its destination. The bridge had to make way for a new steel structure, whose features will be similar to the truss span. That bridge will be opened in time for the German Garden and Horticulture Show (Bundesgartenschau) in 2021. The old truss bridge had become functionally obsolete as weight, width and height restrictions were imposed on the structure for close to a decade.

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The bridge is still protected by the heritage laws in Thuringia and crews are currently figuring out where to relocate the bridge and how to repurpose it for recreational use. It is clear that the bridge will need to be completely rehabilitated due to years of rust and wear, especially on the lower chord. The bridge had not seen any major rehabilitation jobs done during its time at its first two locations. As it will be at the highway depot, crews will have a chance to examine the bridge to determine what needs to be done to improve it. At the same time, the search for a new home will commence so that the bridge can be reinstalled and reused again.

The question is where to find its next home, which will be its fourth (counting its stay at the depot), so that it can live on for another century?

A video of the move can be seen via link below.

Video:

https://www.otz.de/video/erfurter-riethbruecke-zieht-um-id227055379.html

 

 

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The Gera Bike Trail, which used to form an intersection with the Riethbrücke- forcing people to walk their bikes across the street, will run under the new bridge when it is built. The bike trail starts at Schmücke near Ilmenau and after passing through Erfurt, joins the Unstrut Bike Trail at Gebesee, a length of 75 kilometers.

This is the fourth bridge built in Erfurt since 2018. Three more structures are replacing old and obsolete ones, all of them in the north of Erfurt: one at Strasse der Nationen spanning the highway (in construction- overpass to be torn down in 2020), one at Gispersleben (through arch bridge completed in June 2019), and one at Warschauer Strasse near the Riethbrücke (span to be replaced in 2020).

History of the Riethbrücke can be found in the Tour Guide on the Bridges of Erfurt, under the part on the city’s outer skirts. Click here to view and enjoy the other five parts of the tour. Please note that updates will be made on the city’s bridges in the future.

 

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The Bridges of Hof (Saale)

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Luftsteg at Hof Central Railway Station. Photo taken in 2017

Hof, in the far northeastern corner of Bavaria, is one of the most historically strategic cities in modern German history. The city, with a population of over 48,000 inhabitants, is located at two Dreiecken, with a history that dates back to the Cold War. To the southeast, there’s the Bayerische Dreieck near the town of Prex, where Bavaria, Saxony and the Czech Republic meet. To the northeast, there’s the Dreiländereck near Mödlareuth, where Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia meet. Until 1990, Hof was an isthmus surrounded by the Iron Curtain and with that, the German Democratic Republic (or East Germany), with the borders barb-wired, walled and patrolled by soldiers to ensure that no escaped to the west. Hof was in the line of a possible invasion by Warsaw Pact Forces as they would’ve marched into West Germany via Fulda Gap, had the conflict reached the point where the first missiles had fired.

In 1989, when East Germans fled to the west via Prague in what was Czechoslovakia, Hof was the meeting point where trains loaded with refugees passed through before heading to West Germany. Gutenfürst, located 10 kilometers to the northeast, was its main transit station into Saxony. When the Wall fell on 9 November, 1989, tens of thousands passed through Hof to get their Welcome Money (Begrüßungsgeld) and buy western goods for the first time ever. Traffic jams of up to 50 kilometers at the Rudolphstein Viaduct were common until the Koditz Viaduct and the Motorway 72 opened to traffic for the first time in almost three decades.

Since the Fall of the Wall and its subsequent Reunification, Hof has transformed itself. It used to be a Cold War modern city with Americans stationed there. Businesses catered to the needs of the soldiers and those who successfully escaped. Nowadays, they have gone out of business, but life goes on in the now quiet small city which is situated between the Vogtland, the Fichtel Mountains and the Franconian Forest. It’s the third largest city in the regional district of Upper Franconia Franconia behind Bayreuth and Bamberg and like the two, it houses not only its own city government but also that of its district. Hof belongs to the Beer Mile where one can try over a thousand different sorts of beer in places like Bayreuth, Kulmbach and Bamberg. Hof is famous for its Schlappenbier, one of the strongest beers ever brewed. And while the Galleria Kaufhof has shut down since 2018, the historic city center, with classical houses lining up along the streets leading to the St. Michaeliskirche, is still bustling with activities with weekly markets and especially its Christmas Market (for more on that, click here.) The city is home to the University of Sciences, where over 5,600 students attend for classes.

While they play a very small role during the Cold War and thereafter, the bridges of Hof have undergone a transition of their own, just like with some of the architecture in the city. No longer known for their modern Cold War architecture, many structures have been replaced with post-Cold War modern architectures, where slabs of concrete built in the 50s and 60s are being replaced with fancier designs made of steel, wood or even a combination of the two plus concrete decking. This includes the likes of the Theresiensteg near the City Park and the Luftsteg at the railway station. Only a few historic structures remain in Hof, whether they are the truss bridges near Filzwerk, or the arch bridges at Obere Steinbrücke or the railway viaduct at Unterkotzau, the oldest bridge still standing. And while most of these structures can be found along the railway and the River Saale, each one has a history of its own that have yet to be discovered. Although the city has its own website and a page devoted on bridges, there is only information on the bridge projects that are either planned or completed, but next to none on the structure’s history in comparison with the one we know about; some of which are located at the former East-West German border.

Henceforth, a tour guide has been created with the focus on the bridges of Hof. Based on the author’s visit this year, they will feature pictures of every bridge photographed in Hof with the information that is known about the bridge, with some gaps that need to be filled with regards to the bridges’ history. They include the structures along the River Saale from Oberkotzau to Unterkotzau, as well as those along the railline, including one at the railway station. Click onto the pictures and if you know of the history of one or more bridges, contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles, using the contact information by clicking here. The information will then be added in the tour guide that is powered by GoogleMaps. Old photos of the bridges (including the spans that are long since been replaced or removed) are more than welcome.

Hof has a wide selection of bridges in terms of style, materials and different eras. The question is what were the stories behind them? What were they like before World War II? This is where the podium is now open.

Click onto the tour guide, click onto the bridges marked and Good Luck! 🙂

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Newsflyer: 23 June, 2019

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Route 66 Gasconade Bridge in Missouri. Photo taken by Roamin Rich

 

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Link to the podcast: https://anchor.fm/jason-smith-bhc19/episodes/Newsflyer-23-June–2019-e4eb8a

 

Call for help to save a historic bridge in Missouri; A city in Saxony to receive three new bridges; Man pees off of bridge onto ship; A historic bridge gets a new home at a park in Indiana and at a church in Massachusetts; Changes to take place for the Chronicles.

 

Calls to Halt MoDOT’s plan to demolish Gasconade Bridge

Hazlegreen, MO: The future of the Gasconade Bridge near Hazlegreen is in the balance. Between now and July 5th, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is collecting information from residents concerning the multiple-span through truss bridge that was built 95 years ago but has been closed to traffic since 2015. A replacement span is being constructed on a new alignment to carry a frontage road which used to be Route 66. Should the majority favor keeping the bridge, then it will be up to MoDOT, who had built the structure, to find a way to keep it out of the hands of the wrecker. Information on how you can help can be found by clicking here.

 

Flöha to Receive Three New Bridges

Flöha (Saxony), Germany- Eight months after a fire destroyed the Apfelsinebrücke (Orange Bridge) near the city center, the city council approved a deal to construct a new bridge that spans the River Zschopau near the City Park Baumwolle. Unlike the previous structure, which was built in the early 1980s, this one will be lower and without steps thus allowing for cyclists to cross. The cost will be 800,000 Euros. It is one of three bridges that the city is looking to replace. The others include replacing the Kirschenbrücke (Cherry Bridge) at Augustusstrasse, which spans the same river. The 120-year old two span arch bridge will be replaced with a beam structure with no center pier in the river. Originally, the arch bridge was supposed to be rehabilitated, yet floodwaters in 2013 caused extensive damage that made even rebuilding the bridge to its original form impossible due to costs deemed exorbitant. The 2.3 million Euro project includes rebuilding the street approaching the bridge. The third bridge to be replaced is a wooden through arch bridge located near Niederwiesa. Built in 2006, the bridge is deemed unsafe due to deterioration in the wood. Its replacement structure will be a steel through arch bridge with truss features. It will still carry the Zschopau Bike trail connecting Flöha and Frankenberg. All three projects are scheduled to start this fall and is expected to last a year.

 

Man Pees off Historic Bridge onto Tour Ship in Berlin- 4 injured

Link to the articlehttps://www.tz.de/welt/berlin-jannowitzbruecke-mann-pinkelt-auf-schiff-vier-verletzte-neue-details-gibt-es-fotos-zr-12586580.html

Information on the Janowitzbrücke, the site of the incident can be found here.

 

30th Anniversary Reunification Celebrations at Vacha Bridge

Link to article: https://www.hersfelder-zeitung.de/lokales/philippsthal-heringen/philippsthal-ort473874/jahre-grenzoeffnung-zwischen-philippsthal-vacha-12638774.html

Information on the Vacha Bridge can be found here.

Information on the history of Philippsthal, Vacha and the inner-German border can be found here and here.

 

Historic Bridge erected in park in Indiana

Link available here.

 

Historic Bridge reused as a ramp to church in Massachusetts

Link available here.

 

And lastly, some changes are coming to the Chronicles. After two years in Schneeberg, its main office is being moved to Glauchau, located 10 kilometers north of Zwickau in western Saxony. The city of 24,000 is the center point between the cities of Jena and Erfurt to the west and Chemnitz and Dresden to the east. The move is ongoing and is expected to last through August. The Chronicles will have some pauses in between due to the move.  Furthermore, the Chronicles no longer is available on Skrive, for the platform was shut down on June 15th. However, it is pursuing other social media platforms to provide coverage, which will include the use of Spotify and other podcast apps, as well as some local platforms for better coverage in the US and Europe. The project is expected to last until the end of August. To give you an idea of the move, check out the Chronicles’ on Instagram, which has a series on Moving Art.

 

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What to do with a HB: The Case of the “Marode” Selbitz Bridge at Blankenstein

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As the state of Bavaria is striving for the world record with the construction of the longest pedestrian suspension bridge over the Selbitz Valley near the Thuringian-Bavarian border, one wonders if the project is too ambitious, given the fact that we have too many “marode” bridges in the region. Apart from the problems with the Sparnberg Bridge near the Motorway Crossing at Rudolphstein, we have another crossing that needs attention very badly. And for a good reason too: the bridge is located right at the junction of seven different hiking trails going in each direction!

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Source: brueckenweb.de

The Selbitz Bridge is located in the small town of Blankenstein, located on the Thuringian side of the former East-West German border. The bridge spans the river Selbitz and is the last crossing before it empties into the River Saale. For four kilometers between the confluence with the Saale and the junction with Muschwitz Creek, the Selbitz separates the two states  and had once been a military border that kept Blankenstein behind the Iron Curtain and people from fleeing over the river.  In fact, only a kilometer northeast of the confluence between the Selbitz and the Saale, there was a site of an attempted escape to the western half of Germany, which occurred on 6 January, 1989, nine months before the Fall of the Wall. There, three men and a lady tried escaping over the wall erected on the Thuringian side during the night. After going over the first wall and approaching the second inside the “Death Zone,” they were spotted by East German and Russian guards who shot at them. Eventually, one of the men succeeded in swimming across the icy cold Saale into Bavaria; the other three were arrested.  Blankenstein was one of the key escape routes used by many wanting to try and escape to the West until the borders were opened on 9 November, 1989. Some succeeded by breaking through the barriers. Others were arrested and imprisoned. One fatality was recorded in 1964.

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After the Fall of the Wall came the demolition of the borders that had separated the two Germanys for 28 years. And with that, the construction of several bridges over the rivers and streams that had been fenced off. The Selbitz Bridge was one of the bridges that was built crossing the former border. Originally a Waddell through truss bridge, the 29-meter long wooden crossing was completed in 1991. With that came an opportunity to reunite Thuringia and Bavaria by foot, providing hikers with an opportunity to explore the Thuringian Forest, the Fichtel Mountains and the Schiefgebirge using seven hiking trails- six here plus another one in the making that runs along the former border that had separated Germany prior to November 1989.  After the construction of the bridge, two monuments, built on each side of the Selbitz, as well as parking areas and a combination tourist information and first aid station were built, where the six current (and one planned) routes meet. The bridge practically served as the key meeting point between two points of junction, one for each state.

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The Bavarian monument where seven hiking trails meet, containing information, photos and maps of each trail. This was constructed a couple years ago and can be found off the county road opposite the river from Blankenstein.

Despite the bridge connecting the two states, problems arose in 2015 with the truss structure itself. Due to a combination of weather extremities, wear and tear and the damages caused by the two floods that ravaged Germany- 2002 and 2013, the Selbitz Bridge was considered structurally unsound, getting a grade of 3.4 out of 5 during an annual inspection in 2016. Bridges with a grade of 3 or worse are required to be rehabilitated to make it safer or be completely replaced.  The end result was an unusual move designed to keep the structure’s integrity but also give the bridge a new look. Hence the gabled tower and the top half of the Waddell truss were taken down, new bracings were added in its place, thus creating a Parker through truss design that is supported with X-framed portal bracings.  Furthermore, the decking was supported with leaning beams with x-bracings, anchored into the abutment, as seen in the picture below:

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Inspite this, this may not be enough to save the bridge, for a lot of wood rot and cracks are appearing in the lower half of the trusses. Most glaring are the end posts, one of which looks so shredded that it could potentially cause the bridge to collapse under ist weight or even flip over into the water. The least it could happen is that the trusses would tilt, putting more tension on the wooden truss parts. While some work has been done on the bridge already, with the truss conversion, it only represents a dressing to the problems the bridge has and the inevitable that the City of Blankenstein as well as the states of Thurngia and Bavaria will have to face- namely that the bridge will need to be replaced. Whether there is funding available remains unclear, especially in light of the recent approval of the construction of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in the world at Lohbachtal and Höllental at the cost of 23 Million Euros.

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While this controversial project remains ambitious and will surely bring in hundreds of thousands of tourists to the region, one wonders if this project is being carried out at the expense of several bridges in the region that are in dire need of attention. And the numbers are growing as more people come to the region for vacationing. By making the necessary repairs to the crossings, like in Sparnberg and here in Blankenstein, it will do more than provide safety for drivers, cyclists and hikers.

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A Map of the Bridges at the Thuringian-Bavarian border can be found here. The Selbitz Bridge is on the far left.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 52

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As we approach our second year of Pic of the Week, here’s our 52nd pic which is located in Thuringia in the city of Jena. This bridge spans the River Saale in the southern suburb of Burgau. The nine-span stone arch structure was first built in 1534 and connected Burgau and Lobeda; at that time they were separate villages that were not part of Jena. The merger with the city happened after World War II. Half of the bridge was destroyed in 1945 by the Nazis in an attempt to stop the approaching soldiers. For over half century, the bridge remained a ruin and there had been discussions about removing the historic structure during the time of the East German era. Fortunately it did not happen, but the creation of the group to rebuild the bridge in 2001 began the sequence where funding and expertise resulted in the successful reconstruction of the stone arch bridge, which was completed in 2004. Today, the bridge still serves bike and ped traffic and connects the eastern and western parts of Jena, whose border is the River Saale. The bridge can be photographed both in the daytime as well as at night, but this one definitely deserves recognition as it was taken from the dam, 200 meters away. The cross-sectional shot shows the original bridge with the middle spans having been rebuilt. Although the bridge appears to be the original, that difference can still be seen, even after it was reopened to traffic 15 years ago.  Still, the bridge’s a beauty and a book on how it was built and rebuilt can be bought through the City of Jena’s tourist information center.

When passing through, take a half hour and visit this place. You will not regret having done it. 🙂

 

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