The Othmar H. Ammann Awards

Panoramic view of the Lindaunis Drawbridge in Germany- Photo taken in April 2011

Each website and group has its own way of recognizing successes and failures. The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles has its own award named after an internationally known bridge engineer, who immigrated to the US from Switzerland and left his legacy for the next generations to awe in wonder. It’s the Othmar H. Ammann Awards.

Each year in November, nominations are collected for the following categories:

Lifetime Legacy Award-  given to a person who has dedicated his time and efforts into preserving historic bridges and bridge engineers who have designed bridges with very unique value for many years.

Best Snapshot Award- given to the person who created the best photo of a bridge.

Best Kept Secret Award- given to a bridge or a series of bridges in one area where little attention is given by mainstream media but deserves attention because of their historic value, unique design, and its poster boy example of how other bridges can be preserved and maintained. The category is divided up into two subcategories: the Tour Guide section, which feature cities and regions with a high concentration of historic bridges ranging from a city with many historic bridges, like Lübeck (Germany), to those along a bike trail, such as the Delphi Bike Trail in Indiana, to counties like Caroll County, Indiana. Then there is the individual subcategory which features historic bridges  whose history was not known to man until now, like the Danville Bowstring Arch Bridge in Arkansas or the West Auburn Bridge in Iowa.

Mystery Bridge Award- given to the bridge with little or no information about it, but its design and aesthetic value makes it worth a nomination, serving as an incentive to encourage people to do more research on the bridge.

Best Bridge Preservation Practice Award- given to a group who successfully saved and restored a historic bridge that is now being reused for future purposes. This applies to a bridge that has been restored as well as one that is currently being restored.

Bridge of the Year Award- given to the bridge which has received national and international attention over the course of the year.

With the exception of the Lifetime Legacy and Best Snapshot Awards, the candidates are selected and voted upon in their respected regions (USA and International) as well as All Around.

The candidates are voted by the public in December with the winners announced in January in the Chronicles as well as the Historic and Notable Bridges of the US website. The Awards are in connection with November being National Historic Bridge Month.

Furthermore, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles offers the Author’s Choice Awards where the author chooses his picks based on the collection of news articles and photos throughout the year. They include the categories of:

Best and Worst Examples of Historic Bridge Reuse

The Salvageable Mentioned

Spectacular Bridge Disaster

The Best Find of a Historic Bridge

and The Biggest Bonehead Story– a story of how a person destroys a historic bridge through carelessness, ignorance and stupidity

The nominations are given in two categories: the historic bridges in the USA and the historic bridges on an international scale. The winners of the previous Ammann Awards can be found here:






2016  plus a tribute to Eric Delony

Nominations for the 2018 Ammann Awards will start on 1 October and end on 3 December. Voting will proceed right after the closing of the nominations, ending on January 8th, 2019.  Winners will be announced on January 12th.  If you have a bridge or person that deserves to be recognized for either the Ammann Awards or Author’s Choice, please contact Jason D. Smith at the Chronicles, using the following contact form below:


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21 Responses

  1. Bridge of the Year Award: Wells Street Bridge, Chicago IL. Rehabilitation of historic bascule bridge still underway. Two 10-day closures of the Chicago Transit Authority tracks on its upper deck, to replace the outer sections of each leaf, were a major news story this year. The impact of the closures was very disruptive to the entire city of Chicago, both for 77,000 daily transit riders and those affected by heavier traffic when transit riders took shuttle buses or got in their cars and drove. This historic bridge’s absolute necessity became clear to the entire city.

    Biggest Bonehead Story: I-5 Skagit River Bridge, Skagit County, WA. Destroyed by collision with overheight truck.

    Best Bridge Preservation Practice Award: West Span, Oakland Bay Bridge, where rivets replaced during seismic retrofit were replaced with round-head bolts to match the appearance of the original rivets. (OTOH, East Span could be a bonehead candidate.)

    1. Thanks for the entries. Do you have the pics of the Wells Street Bridge? If so, please send it via e-mail. As for the other entries, they do make sense, especially the East side of the Bay Bridge because of all the problems involving the materials made in China. In fact, I’ll just go ahead and add that in the category of Bonehead Story with the I-5 Skagit Bridge. I’ll go ahead and nominate them. Looking forward to your pic (if you have it). JS

  2. Joshua Allegretti

    The bridge of the year for me is the Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur, California. An absolutely gorgeous bridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean in one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the country. I finally got to see it in August and honestly, I’m glad I saw this bridge instead of the Golden Gate Bridge. As majestic of a bridge as the Golden Gate is, this bridge is vastly underrated.

    1. I’ll add this bridge to the category. Thank you for the nomination. The Golden Gate Bridge has received its share of international recognition over the years. Ironically, it was up in the running for last year’s Bridge of the Year Award but finished second behind Eggner’s Mill Bridge in Kentucky. I guess many of us have our different tastes for bridges. 😉

    1. Photos should be sent using JPEG via e-mail only. Use the address shown in the Ammann Awards Info. You just need to provide the name and location of the bridge and when you took the picture. Voting on the best photo will commence in December. Looking forward to your entry.

  3. Marc


    It looks like you have some deserving candidates for this year’s contest. With all the hype on the bridge sites, the winners of some of the categories may be foregone conclusions. That said, here are some nearby bridges that meet the criteria as you have written them, but never got the publicity:

    Lifetime: Jim Stewart

    Secret: Franklin Square. (Office park with 5 restored truss bridges used to get from the parking lots to the buildings.)

    Preservation Group: friends Of The Aldrich Change Bridge. (Took an 1858 version of an earlier Squire Whipple Bow String that was destroyed by ice floes and completely restored it)

    New Find: Nat’l Bridge bow string. (Only a few others recorder.).

  4. fmiser

    The ballot is difficult to navigate. The PDF has URLs – but those URLs are not clickable. And the text isn’t selectable. It appears to be a document with an image for each character!! It contains 17,158 images. And no text.

    So I hereby give up. To have to type in every URL for every link on every nomination is more than I’m willing to do.


      1. AMMANN AWARD VOTING: Your attention please! For those who need more time to fill out the ballot, you have until 6th January to do that. Since there has been some technical issues regarding downloading the ballot as well as clicking on the URL, if you need a ballot from me, please send a short request via e-mail and I’ll send you one directly. Thanks!

  5. Roger Deschner

    Nomination for Best Kept Secret – Individual: Fort Morgan Rainbow Arch Bridge, a beautiful 11-span classic Marsh Arch, in the middle of nowhere on the eastern Colorado plains, though not far off I-76. Few other bridges around, notable or not. Photos in

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