Iron suspension bridge over the Mała Panew River, Ozimek
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Iron suspension bridge over the Mała Panew River

Ozimek

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The bridge in Ozimek is an outstanding civil engineering monument and also the oldest surviving iron suspension bridge on the continent. It is one of the two existing bridges made in the Malapane ironworks (the other one is in Charlottenburg) and preserved right at the historic industrial ironworks complex.

History

The construction of the bridge began in 1825 and was completed in 1827. The bridge was made by employees of the Royal Prussian Malapanew Ironworks in Ozimek, using technical solutions by metallurgical craftsman Carl Schottelius. The bridge connecting the banks of the Mała Panew River near the ironworks site was the main crossing for many kilometres and the pride of the area.

In 1938, a new main gate of the ironworks was commissioned, and a road to Opole running through the area of the ironworks was replaced with a new one, bypassing the plant site and the bridge. The structure which had been used for many years was impaired by floods and in 1945 it was seriously damaged by tanks moving across the bridge. After that incident, the bridge was pedestrianized, and in 2008, due to its deteriorating technical condition it was completely closed.

In 2009, after ownership of the structure was transferred to the Ozimek commune, actions were initiated aimed at the preservation of the historical monument. All components of the bridge disassembled into individual parts underwent comprehensive renovations. The bridge was announced the winner of the "Well-Preserved Monument" competition in 2012 and "Footbridge 2014" competition in the category of restored structures. The procedure for examining the application for awarding the status of the Monument of the History of the Republic of Poland is underway.

Description

The bridge is located near the entrance to the "Mała Panew" ironworks, by the river of the same name. It is a single-span suspension bridge, with a tension tie-beam at the level of the road, set almost perpendicularly to the axis of the river.

The bridge was made as a steel and cast iron suspension structure, with pylons anchored in abutments. A single pylon consists of two pillars in the form of truncated openwork pyramids (each pillar is made up of cast openwork panels) joined together by a decorative transverse openwork beam at the level of the capitals. The beams feature reliefs with the date of construction of the bridge "1827" and the name of the ironworks "MALAPANE". On the pylons, there are four suspended pairs of steel tie rods, joined together using caps and bolts into chain inks, anchored in foundation niches located below the ground level. On the tie rods there are suspended hangers made up of single rods, and on them there are crossbars of the carriageway covered with square-sawn timber. Tie rods, hangers and bolts are caste or forged; the design of the structure also involved using rolled components.

The bridge abutments are made of brick and faced with granite stone.

The distance between the pylons is 31.40 m (100 feet); the bridge measures 6.5 m in width, and the pylons are 5.92 m high.

Open to the public, illuminated.

compiled by Ewa Kalbarczyk-Klak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 03-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Juros J.T., Most wiszący z Pruskiej Królewskiej Huty Malapane w Ozimku, in: "Wiadomości Konserwatorskie", 22/2007, pp. 106-108.
  • Record Sheet of Monuments of Architecture "Suspension Bridge in Ozimek", prepared by L. Budych 1996, Archives of the Voivodeship Monuments Protection Office in Opole
  • Schultz, Die älteste Hängebrücke Europas, in: "Die Bautechnik", 1927, pp. 143-145.
  • Śledziewski E., Most na Małej Panwi, in: "Inżynieria i Budownictwo", 3/1970, pp. 120-122.

General information

  • Type: bridge
  • Chronology: 1827
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ozimek
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district opolski, commune Ozimek - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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