The Göltzsch Viaduct | The largest brick bridge in the world

The Göltzsch Viaduct bridge was built in 1846-1851 as part of the construction of the Saxon-Bavarian railway of  Netzschkau, Saxony, Germany. This railway bridge was built between 1846 and 1851, more than 26 million bricks were used in its construction! We look at the amazing structure.

The Göltzsch Viaduct, The largest brick bridge in the world


During the construction of this highway, which leads from Leipzig via Plauen and Hof to Nuremberg, it was necessary to overcome one of the biggest obstacles - the Gölcz River Valley. Since the Saxon-Bavarian railway company did not have much money, it tried on January 27, 1845, using a competition with a prize pool of 1000 thalers, announced in all German newspapers, to find a profitable architectural solution for the construction of the bridge. 81 proposals were submitted to the competition, but none of the applicants was able, on the basis of static calculations, to prove their ability to estimate the load of the planned railway connection. Therefore, the money was divided between the four best offers, of which not one was realized.

Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct


Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

The chairman of the commission, Professor Johann Andreas Schubert, based on his own experience of static calculations, created a draft of a possible solution, using individual proposals from competitive projects. Thus, this bridge became the first bridge calculated on the basis of static data in the world. As the main material of construction, the architect chose brick, a very unusual material for those times. In this area there were large deposits of clay, and thus, the brick was cheap and convenient for delivery. Only in a few areas of greatest doubt, did Schubert plan to use granite.
Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

The bridge was laid on May 31, 1846. Every day, 50,000 bricks of unusual size were used in the construction: 28 × 14x6.5 cm, about 20 brick mills worked along the construction line. In total, 1736 workers were employed in the construction, of which 31 people died during the work. After the construction was completed and the bridge opened on July 15, 1851, Gölchtalbrücke became the tallest railway bridge in the world, and it remains the largest brick bridge to this day. Gölchtalbrücke is also the name of the main railway station in the Gölcz River Valley, which flows under the bridge.
Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

Currently, the bridge is part of the so-called Saxon-Franconian Highway, which underwent reconstruction in 1997–2000 and allows trains to cross winding sections at speeds up to 160 km / h.
Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

Along the bridge there are picturesque roads, from which an impressive panorama of the bridge opens, the achievements of engineering and technical thought.
Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

The height of the bridge is 78 meters, length - 574 meters, width at the base - 23 meters. The four-story bridge has 29 spans.
Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

The bridge is famous and surrounded by legends also because during its 150-year history it was repeatedly jumped from and ended with suicide. After 8 suicides during the eight months of 2002, the bridge was heavily guarded by a detachment of the Federal Police.
Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

In 2009, the viaduct became the second building on the list of historical monuments of engineering and architectural art in Germany.
Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

Gölchtalbrücke - The world's largest brick viaduct

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