So......the new bridge has been built, old memories , while still there, are fading
for those who lived in Hermann or enjoyed visiting this beautiful and quaint
German village over the years have grown to accept the inevitable. It is done.
BUT....to think that the town itself is nothing more than a bottleneck to thru
traffic because its' streets are too narrow and it does nothing more than
impede the flow of traffic to other destinations is a sad commentary and
a lack of understanding and knowledge of the history of this town. And
the hardships and industry of its' early German settlers to make it one of
the largest wine producing areas in the Untied States a century ago. The history
is still there as is the charm and friendliness of its' people. Next time don't
hurry thru. Stop a while and enjoy the friendship of its' people. These thoughts
from Hal Ballmann who was born there in 1931 and who can hardly wait
for his next visit to that magical place.
Even with the new bridge, Hermann is still a major bottleneck for traffic, especially trucks. The city streets aren't adequate to handle modern traffic.
That's why I don't buy the arguments about safety. If safety was the number one priority, then the bridge would have been built on a new alignment bypassing the town.
I have to disagree, only because the bridge could have been preserved and used as a pedestrian/bicycle/fishing bridge, or just open to restricted, light traffic. I agree that the bridge was not adequate to handle the large trucks and high traffic volumes that are generated on a U.S. or Interstate highway, but that does not justify the destruction of a historic bridge as far as I'm concerned. In most cases, a new bridge can easily be built alongside the historic bridge it's replacing, while at the same time, leaving the historic bridge intact for the cases I mentioned above.
I have to agreed with the comments about the Hermann Bridge. I too crossed it many times with some hair-raising close calls. I was not sad to see it go. At the risk of offending truss bridge fans, sometimes these old wonderful truss bridges have out lived their usefulness. Even if the Hermann bridge was well maintained, it still would have been a narrow bridge dangerous for modern traffic especially trucks. While these old bridges are wonderful examples of man's creativeness, these bridges have a vital transportation function. As cars and trucks have gotten bigger and more numerous many of these bridges are simply to limited to serve modern transportation needs. These limitations have caused many of these lovely old bridges to have a dark chapter of death and injury caused by their size limits or placement. The old truss bridge on Highway 60 over the Current River comes to mind as a good example. The Hermann bridge was simply too narrow for modern traffic and the river crossing at Hermann was too important to leave it intact even if properly cared for.
I am sorry for all of you that have fond memories of the bridge. My memory of it is seeing I was on a waaaay too dangerous for me bridge, too late to turn around. After a weekend floating the Huzzah (sp?) River, we actually drove 70 miles to avoid crossing that death trap again. Me being a person who travels to Europe often, fully understands not wanting to change the character of the town and its landmarks, but, had the bridge been so important to everyone, that it should be kept, then it should have been retrofitted and brought to code as time passed. It wasn't...when there in the mid 90s, there were potholes you could spy a bit of river through. I met a grain truck crossing it, feeling like I was going to have to lean my car into the pipe rails to not collide. Speaking of....2 inch pipe rails? I know this was a big span for its time, but the Eads River bridge in St Louis is virtually the same length, was built in 1874, and doesn't have flippin' 2 inch pipe as guardrail. It also in 1874, was built 45 feet wide.
Now, as I said, I'm very sorry for those with an emotional attachment to this bridge. I was wondering what they didn't leave the center span or something as remembrance? Ive seen that done in many cities, with old classic bridges. I, too have seen many structures of various kinds from my childhood disappear to the fog of time. I get sick of people saying, "it will cost more to refurbish it, than to build a new one" I think 90% of the time that is garbage, but in the case of the Hermann Bridge...sorry guys, someone was going to die if it remained, and it had been let go too long to be repairable, plus being just about wide enough for 5 men to walk abreast spelled the end of it's run...If nothing else, for me it has given me a wealth of Horror stories :) The new bridge looks very functional, but nowadays, that's about as good as you can say for construction. Its always bland, cookie cutter design these days, with no eye for aesthetic beauty. Maybe we can't afford that beauty anymore, but we should darn well try to keep what we have that's keepable, and always question those who say a treasured structure is cheaper to demolish.
If there's anything quicker than a vulture to a carcass or a personal injury attorney to a tragedy, it's the government to tear down an historic bridge the second a drab, boring new replacement is completed. Just another pathetic example. But this bridge like so many others gone will always exist in my memory, a site untouchable by every engineer, government official and crusty old bureaucrat out there.
Is there any truth about a body in one of the pillars? When they where being poured someone fell in?
The first implosion of the old Hermann bridge took place yesterday on the first span on the North end with additional charges to be set in the near future. Here is a picture from the local paper.
Webmaster's note: The photo that was here has been incorporated into the main site.
Came across this bridge yesterday returning from a trip. New bridge (approx 20ft west of this one) appears to be near completion. Signs indicated that the new one will be open yet this summer. Sad to see the old one go, it is an impressive piece of work.
I was born in Hermann in 1931 the year after the Hermann
bridge was built. Even though I left Hermann many years ago, visions of that bridge are still etched in my memory.
I truly hate to see it go. Progress is good for some but I
fear for our loss of our heritage and cultural signposts.
A wider bridge will be safer, of course. But will it bring more traffic (probably), and will Hermann start growing
(probably), will Hermann eventually lose its old German
quaintness and charm (probably). I hate to see it go, but my visions of my childhood in that wonderful town will be with me until my own end. What cost progress.