Mystery Bridge 21: Bahnhofsbruecke

Overview of the bridge, taken from the platform at Flensburg Railway Station. Photos taken in May 2010

While traveling through a small city, like Flensburg, Germany, it is very important to not only find the bridges that are well known by the majority of the population, but also those that are unknown by many, but have information on its history and significance to the area it serves that is to be discovered.  The Bahnhofsbruecke, located just north of Flensburg’s railway station is one of these structures that belong to the latter category.

Oblique view

The arch bridge that carries Schleswiger Strasse over the rail lines connecting the city with Denmark, Hamburg and Kiel, is one of the first structures you will see when getting off the train but before entering the underground corridor leading to the train station building.  It is unknown when the bridge was constructed, but judging by its physical appearance, combined with its wear and tear (with black marks underneath the arches and some erosion on the outside), it appeared that the bridge was constructed in the early 1920s, shortly after the construction of the train station building (that was built in 1919).  With the exception of the addition of railings and the street being widened to accommodate an increasing load of traffic, its historic integrity has remained unaltered.

Close-up of the inner part of the spandrel underneath the arch bridge.

Yet from an engineer’s point of view, the deck arch design on this bridge is deceiving. From the outside, the bridge has a closed-spandrel arch design, meaning the vertical columns supporting the arch and roadway are filled with either concrete or brick, making it the sturdiest of the deck arch designs. Yet after taking a closer look at the bridge, one can see that in all reality, it is an open-spandrel arch bridge, consisting of an arch bridge supported by just the vertical columns. The outer arch portion of the bridge is used as a facade to further support the road deck of the bridge. It is unknown whether it was added during rehabilitation of if it was originally part of the entire structure.

But independent of the engineering design, the Bahnhofsbruecke, the third longest bridge in Flensburg behind the Peelewat Viaduct (located southeast of the train station) and the viaduct along the Ostangente, lacks information on its history- namely, when it was actually built, who built it and whether any modifications were made on it in order for the bridge to be functional for traffic. And this is where your help is needed.

Any information on this bridge? You can comment on it at the end of the article, post it on the facebook page under the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles or contact the author directly at flensburg.bridgehunter.av@googlemail.com.  Once the information is collected, the bridge will be profiled as the Chronicles will tour the bridges of the rum capital of the world, the city by the bay known as Flensburg.

You can also view the film with the author’s commentary, which can be found here.

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