When we spoke at the Leipzig Stake RS Women's conference, we drove under this bridge. It is amazing and HUGE.
The Göltzsch Viaduct (German: Göltzschtalbrücke) is a railway bridge in Germany. It is the largest brick-built bridge in the world, and for a time it was the tallest railway bridge in the world. It spans the valley of the Göltzsch River between Mylau and Netzschkau, around 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of Reichenbach im Vogtland in the German Free State of Saxony. It was built between 1846 and 1851 as part of the railway between Saxony (Leipzig, Zwickau, and Plauen) and Bavaria (Hof and Nuremberg). It is currently part of the Leipzig–Hof line, near the Netzschkau station
History and construction
One of the greatest challenges in constructing a railway between Saxony and Bavaria was how to bridge the Göltzsch valley. Hoping to find a financially feasible construction plan, the Saxon-Bavarian Railway Companyannounced a contest on 27 January 1845 in all major German magazines with prize money of 1000 Thalers. However, none of the 81 submissions could prove by means of structural analysis that it would be able to withstand the stresses of rail traffic on the bridge. The prize money was eventually divided among four contestants, but none of their designs were actually realized.
The chairman of the jury, professor Johann Andreas Schubert subsequently designed a bridge himself, making use of his recently attained knowledge of structural analysis, and letting himself be inspired by the submitted designs and the viaduct in Leubnitz (Werdau), which was finished in the summer of 1845, making it the first bridge in the world to be subjected to a full structural analysis. It was planned to build the bridge mainly out of bricks, at the time a highly unusual choice, because of the abundance of loam in the vicinity, which allowed for rapid and cost-efficient production of bricks. Granite was to be used only for certain crucial segments.
The first stone was laid on 31 May 1846. The plans were revised just once after construction began, when certain technical difficulties arose. For instance, the foundation on which the bridge was to be built turned out to be less firm than previously assumed. Chief engineer Robert Wilke solved this by replacing the arches in the middle with one great central arch, which only added to the impressiveness of this edifice.
The Göltzsch Viaduct was an extraordinarily large endeavor for its time. Each day, the nearly 20 brickyards along the railway line would produce 50,000 bricks with the unusual dimensions of 28×14×6.5 centimetres (11.0×5.5×2.6 in). The scaffolding was custom-made for each arch, totalling 23,000 tree trunks, although other sources even speak of 230,000 trunks. In total, 1,736 construction workers built the bridge, with 31 on-site fatalities. When the bridge was completed and inaugurated on 15 July 1851, it was world's tallest railway bridge. Today, it still holds the record for largest brick bridge in the world.
- Professor Johann Andreas Schubert (1808–1870) – Chairman of the jury, architect, structural analyst
- Chief engineer Robert Wilke (1804–1889) – Construction planner and chief superintendent
- Engineer Ferdinand Dost (1810–1888) – Superintendent
- Pharmacist and chemist Heinrich Carl – Mortar composition
|Total length||574 metres (1,883 ft)|
|Width||23 metres (75 ft) at the foot|
9 metres (30 ft) at the top
|Height||78 metres (256 ft)|
|No. of spans||98 vaults in total divided over 4 levels; the top level is composed of 29 arches, the widest arch spanning 30.9 metres (101 ft)|
|Designer||Johann Andreas Schubert|
|Construction start||31 May 1846|
|Construction cost||2.2 million Thalers|
|Opened||15 July 1851|
|World's largest brick bridge, sporting a total of 26,021,000 bricks and a volume of 135,676 cubic metres (4,791,400 cu ft).|