Almost ten years ago to the day, on the 11th of this month, the. November 2010, the realization competition for the untersteinach valley bridge over the schorgast and the gallery over the railroad tracks took place at the government of upper franconia. The jury at the time included district administrator klaus peter sollner () and former government department director marion resch-heckel, who was also 1. Vice president of the bavarian chamber of architects, an. The committee had the extremely difficult task of deciding on the right structure.
In the end, the design of the buros dr was chosen. Schaperton’s consult from munich and schneider& partners from kronach and architects schultz-brauns and reinhart from munich – and this despite the fact that some ministry representatives were skeptical about the costs involved.
Futuristic looking structure
A few days before the untersteinach bypass was opened to traffic, BR met with the two jury members underneath the huge structure to take a look back. “Without this competition there would not be this bridge. It is an outstanding architectural masterpiece”, klaus peter sollner, who drives past the futuristic-looking structure almost every day on his way from stadtsteinach to the district administration office, emphasized.
“Marion resch-heckel had already contacted me on the 4. February 2009 called and made a strong case for this realization competition. When i drive by here today, i have two thoughts. Firstly, that the bridge is already there, and secondly, that the state construction office, which is constantly engaged in defense battles, has performed a magnificent organizational feat.” the fact that this complicated and complex structure was even completed ahead of schedule was a brilliant achievement for him, said the district administrator. He had to pay particular respect to project manager fritz baumgartel.
In the competition, the current bridge with its six pylons was by far the most aesthetic, almost futuristic, said sollner. He also remembered a special feature of the jury meeting.
Not looking at the price
“Of course, there were bridges that were two or three million euros cheaper. When the representative of the supreme building authority made it clear that we also had to look at the price, i realized that no one would ask about the cost if the project had to be implemented in the rough.”
In 2015, the go-ahead was given “that the bridge can be built this way”. Sollner and marion resch-heckel agreed that the talbrucke had to be a visual landmark, given the huge impact on the landscape and the amount of land it would consume.
Novum in upper franconia
“For the first time in upper franconia, a competition of this kind was held for a bridge on a federal highway – for engineers in collaboration with architects. The decisive factor here was the charming landscape of the schorgast valley, into which the bridge was to enter into a contractual dialogue”, according to resch-heckel. Their motto was: “if such a bridge is inevitable, then it should at least be already, not a usual engineering structure”.”
It was a stroke of luck that all those involved pulled together: "federal and state ministries, the district administrator, the mayor. As the head of the building department at the time, i was very impressed by how the people in my department at the state building office at the government of upper franconia supported this path with their expertise."
While the planning approval process went surprisingly smoothly and without any complaints, the financing of the project has repeatedly thrown the project into disarray, according to resch-heckel. She often got the impression that some people thought that a simple, cheap slab construction would suffice in the province. "Fortunately there have always been allies who recognized the value of this planning and the creative power of the design and helped to overcome all hurdles."
Finally, the member of the bundestag, emmi zeulner (CSU), succeeded in getting the funds approved "which would not have been possible without the persistent support of the district administrator, sollner, and the constant technical support of the building administration".
Everyone had believed in the project and fought for it. And now it stands there: a masterpiece of engineering design. "Spectacular and elegant, the bridge swings over the valley – the new landmark of untersteinach and another signboard in the district of kulmbach."
Today, oldburg mayor heinz burges (SPD) is also more than satisfied when he looks at the untersteinach bridge: "today, i have to say that our efforts have finally paid off. "
"It simply fits well into the landscape"
He participated in the realization competition at the government of upper franconia with the municipal councilors hans-peter rohrlein and alfred viebmann. "We were presented a selection of five bridges, which were also very different in terms of cost. That went from twelve to nearly 20 million euros. We said at the time that if we were going to be listened to, we would choose the most beautiful bridge, and that was the pylon bridge, which will now be opened to traffic in a few weeks. It simply fits well into the landscape."
And heinz burges also remembers a remark by building director kurt schnabel from the state building authority, when he stated in a casual conversation after the decision: "you’ll never get the bridge!" as mayor, he countered: "let’s wait and see, maybe we can do it after all"!"