Royal St. Cloud
Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

The New Bridge at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links

One of the many benefits of a new bridge from Links Bridges is how it helps improve the look of a golf course.  Because our bridges are made of 100% fiberglass, the benefit endures as these bridges don’t show their age in the same way as wood bridges.  A great example of ‘changing the look’ is a bridge recently installed at the popular Royal St. Cloud Golf Links in St. Cloud, Florida.

Links Bridges had a bridge – The Woody – on display at the recent Golf Industry Show in Orlando, FL.

The WoodyThe Woody

We wanted to find a buyer for the display bridge so we didn’t incur costs to ship it home. On the last day of Golf Industry Show 2017, at around 3pm, two gentlemen dropped by our booth. They were Bill Filson and Tom Butler. I did not know at that time that I was talking to Royal St. Clouds Golf Links owners. I told them about the bridge on display and I took them to see it.

The Woody

From left: Tom Butler, Don Ferrar, Bill Filson, Mike Gwaltnay, Regina Sosing

I was thrilled when Bill and Tom showed interest in the bridge. Bill wanted to be sure their Superintendent examined the bridge first.  So he went to look for Mike Gwaltnay.

 Mike arrived and checked the bridge. Bill, Tom and Mike had some discussion.  Their other concern was how to get the bridge from the trade show to their course that afternoon and there were other details.

These gentlemen are obviously ‘problem-solvers’.  By 4PM the transaction was done and sealed with a handshake.  By the next morning, the bridge was delivered to its new home at the Royal St. Cloud Golf Links.

I visited Royal St. Cloud the next day. Royal St. Cloud is a very impressive golf club.  You can see the care and attention to detail every where you look.    The place is immaculate.  The one notable exception was an old bridge on the 7th hole on the Blue nine that ‘had seen better days’.

 

The Old bridge at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links

A couple of weeks later, this is what that same spot looks like.  As you can see, they didn’t just install the new bridge, they really did some great finishing work to complement the bridge.

    

Photos by Mike Gwaltnay of Royal St. cloud Golf Links

Royal St. Cloud distinguishes itself in a very competitive market by, among other things, paying attention to detail and doing things like bridge replacements the right way.  Links Bridges is very proud to have the opportunity to deliver one of our bridges to the Royal St. Cloud. Visit Royal St. Clouds Golf Links in St. Cloud, Florida.

 

The Hogan bridge
Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

Bridge Transformation

While we believe that it is always better to be humble, sometimes you earn the right to ‘toot your horn’ as the saying goes.  This is a story that we are very proud about from a number of perspectives.

A very successful and reputable construction company out of Connecticut – O & G, Inc. – asked us to come and look at a bridge they wanted to replace on the Torrington Golf Club in Goshen, CT.  Torrington is a beautiful golf club with a rich history, including hosting several major regional and national competitions.

The bridge in question was 20’ X 12’ and was used for equipment weighing up to 14,000 lbs.  O & G was donating the bridge to Torrington as a memorial bridge in honor of 3 deceased brothers who were founding partners of O & G and had spent many enjoyable days at Torrington GC.

After supplying an initial quote, we went to examine the old bridge – wood planks on 3 steel beams.  Based on our analysis of the bridge, we determined that the steel beams were in great shape and that we could reduce the cost considerably by incorporating these into the new design.

old bridge

The original bridge

The particular challenge presented to us was that O & G wanted something very special as a memorial bridge.  Working with our Design Team, O & G decided on a ‘Hogan’ style bridge which has an arched deck and ‘rubble’ stone fascia on each side.  We had to design and engineer a solution that arched the deck, accommodated Vehicular Live Loads of 14,000 lbs. and had a fascia on each side.

The solution started with making structural deck panels with progressively deeper beams to create the arched deck.  We custom fabricated 5 – 4’ panels, each the full width of the bridge, and these were attached to the steel beams to make the ‘structural-arched deck’.

Deck panels being fitted over the steel beams.

From there, we attached the ‘stone’ fascia to the deck beams and capped it with a curb.  The curbs on each side of the bridge deck have inscriptions denoting the memorial tribute that was the inspiration for the bridge.

 The finish product look like this Hogan Bridge. (We are waiting for a picture of the installed bridge at O & G Inc.)The Hogan Bridge

To anyone looking at this bridge, it appears to have a concrete deck, granite curbs and ‘rubble’ stone with mortar as a structural arch on the sides.  In reality, all of the components added to the steel beams that were retained were made of 100% fiberglass.

We started this story by telling you that our team was particularly proud about this project.  Let us close by telling you why:

  • Our association with the O & G and Torrington GC Teams – a more professional group of people would be hard to find. Their thoroughness and attention to detail made them a pleasure to work with.

  • Our efforts to help our client save money by retaining and re-using steel beams that have another 25+ years of useful life left in them. We credit our Design Team with engineering a method to create an arched deck on flat steel.

  • The final product is really a ‘work of art’ that will serve the members of the Torrington GC for many generations to come and provide a lasting tribute to the 3 deceased brothers who are honored with inscriptions on the bridge.

 

residentials bridge
Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

Bridge Stories

There is a story behind every bridge we have ever made. We like to share these bridge stories because we hope that you will find them interesting and will want to work with us to make your own ‘bridge story’.

There is no shortage of material for the Bridge Stories.  Every project involves some combination of people, places and challenges.  We have been fortunate to meet and deal with some outstanding people as we have taken on more and more bridge projects.

It has also given our team the opportunity to do business in many interesting places in North America.  This is its own learning experience and it has a value that is hard to measure.

On the technical side, our business is committed to innovation.  This means our engineers and technicians are always be dealing with new ‘first-time’ challenges.  That’s a good thing.  It pushes all of us to constantly learn and improve and it makes us all better for it.

These ‘bridge stories’ sometimes intentionally omit names of people and their organizations.  This is out of respect for the privacy interests of our valued customers.

bridge
Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

Links Bridges & The Fighting Irish

This bridge story is about another milestone in the Links Bridges legacy.  We want our bridges to be widely available to all that would benefit from their unique properties – regardless of budgets and applications.  At the same time, we like seeing our bridges on TV and to achieve that we need to work with buyers – particularly golf courses – that attract TV coverage.

Our bridges really are world-class in looks and performance.  No other golf course bridge will look as good and retain those good looks for many decades without any kind of maintenance.  In addition, the ease of installation and choice of finishes really makes it an ideal bridge for any golf course setting.  (The writer apologizes for that shameless plug.)

The Warren Golf Course is on the campus of the world-famous University of Notre Dame.  It was recently announced that The Warren Golf Course has been selected as the host for the 2019 U.S. Senior Open Championship.  This is obviously a major, prestigious event that will attract major crowds and a world-wide TV audience.

The team at The Warren Golf Course determined that they needed a couple of bridges to provide some more crossings of the water ways on the course to accommodate the expected crowds.  They chose 2 ‘Timber’ model bridges in the ‘weathered wood’ finish we offer.  We are not habitual ‘name-droppers’ but we were told that this finish was selected Ben Crenshaw, who along with Bill Coore are the architects of The Warren GC.

Warrenbridge

2 Bridges sitting in our factory while waiting shipment to The Warren GC

Don’t be fooled by the appearance – these bridges are made of 100% fiberglass – structural beams and deck.  The curbs are made of re-cycled material that has the same long-lasting properties as fiberglass.

Installation of these bridges has been delayed while the course team deals with the impact of some flooding damage.  We will be back to update this bridge story with some new pictures once the bridges are installed.

 

Sirocco Golf Club in Calgary, Alberta
Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

Bridge Renewal

This bridge story is about what we consider to be one of the most important innovations that will impact on what we can offer for golf courses, municipalities and other organizations with bridges over the next few years.  It is about how we have developed a method to manufacture a simple fiberglass ‘skin’ (in a wood or other finish) to make old bridges ‘new’ and extend their lives by decades in some cases.

We have to give credit where it is due and acknowledge that this innovation was developed to respond to needs identified by some wonderful people at the Sirocco Golf Club in Calgary, Alberta.  They were the first to push us in this direction.  We first heard from Dean Clarke the Superintendent at Sirocco and later from Tom Ellison the General Manager at Sirocco.

They identified that they had 9 bridges that were still OK but going relatively fast.  The substructures were fine but the decks were on the verge of needing replacement.  Working together, we came up with the idea of smoothing the decks to the point where we could bond and seal a thin, custom-manufactured fiberglass skin (in a wood finish) to the existing decks.  The process also involves sealing the joints of the ‘skins’ – which were made in sections to custom-fit over the entire deck.

This achieves a number of really important things:

  • The bridge looks ‘new’. Everything you can see is in fact new and the remainder is hidden.

  • The deck is now a low-maintenance, long-lasting fiberglass surface.

  • The deck and substructure are now sealed from any further moisture or UV exposure or penetration. The deterioration of the substructure will now virtually stop.

RenewalSirocco Golf Club in Calgary, Alberta

Pre & post coating shows the dramatic difference between the ‘before’ and ‘after’.

We are now working with the Sirocco team to complete the process on their remaining bridges.   At the same time, we are extended the offer for this product and service to the broader market as our research tells us that there is substantial potential for this to be a huge benefit to many of our customers to allow them to save a lot of money.

 

Brenner Builder
Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

“Make me one of these, please”

At times we drive our factory technicians ‘around the bend’ by taking on “replica” of some pretty non-standard bridge projects.  The factory team loves the challenge, but at the same time, they take great pride in the volume of their output and some projects really do slow them down.

A very reputable construction company, Brenner Builders from Bedford, NY approached us with a challenge.  They had a client who had a bridge that they really liked but it was ‘finished’.  They wanted to replace it with another one just like it – but in FRP so they would never have to replace it again.

Brenner Builders sent us these 2 pictures.

Old bridgeold wood bridge

This was obviously a very unique bridge and did not match any of the models that we have tooled up to supply.  However, we love a challenge.

Our factory technicians take a lot of pride in producing bridges that are architecturally accurate and, in the case of a ‘replica’ like this one, in attention to all of the details.  It took a little longer than we would have hoped but the picture below – which shows the bridge in the factory crated for shipment – shows an incredibly accurate reproduction.

fiberglass bridgereplica

Brenner Builder’s client was apparently very privacy-conscious so we never did get a picture of the final installation.  We did however hear that they were ‘in awe’ of the result – so true to the original.

Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

Why Bridges are Vital to Municipalities

According to Indigenous and Municipal Relations, the Province of Manitoba recently contributed $1.0 million to the Municipal Bridge Program to support communities in revitalizing their local pedestrian, commuter and public bridges and structures. The program requires a detailed project/bridge design, including each phase of the construction and its associated costs. It also requires that all this information is prepared and approved by a professional engineer who has ample experience in municipal bridge design and bridge engineering for municipalities.

 

Meanwhile, in Alberta, the AAMC’s agrees that “rural roads and bridges are not only vital to local communities, but serve as important arteries to help Alberta’s economy grow”.

 

Finally, in April 2016, right here in Ontario, the Government of Ontario delivered $20 million dollars to municipalities across the province to make road and bridges safer. This project, which runs through until 2017, was designed to “make roads and bridges safer, create economic growth and create or sustain jobs”.

 

The value of high quality, high performing and long-lasting municipal bridges is priceless. In fact, the majority of rural municipality expenses is spent on managing transportation infrastructure, like bridge revitalization and road construction. Why is it that  bridges so important to the economy of Canada’s municipalities?

 

  • Bridges serve the oil and gas, forestry and agricultural industries by providing access points to our countries’ most prized natural resources
  • As bridges age, some municipalities are forced to close roads and primary access points through communities due to the weight restrictions or cost of maintaining bridges.
  • Bridges in municipalities provide rural communities a gateway to major highways, tourism centres and primary health, education and recreation facilities.

 

Wherever your municipality is located, the construction of solid, durable, sustainable and environmental friendly bridges is essential. Municipal bridges do not need to cost an arm and a leg to your municipality either. The team at Links Bridges has decades of experience engineering the highest quality of municipal bridges.

 

We offer golf course bridges, residential bridges, park and trail bridges and enclosed bridges or building connectors. Our specialties include stone bridges, wood bridges, composite bridges, limestone bridges, steel bridges, metal bridges, HyBridge bridges, FRP bridges and aluminum bridges. We are also known as custom bridge builders who design, produce and maintain custom golf course bridges, custom park and trail bridges as well as custom residential bridges.

Our design capabilities include arched bridges, flat bridges, Geodesic frame bridges, foot bridges and tunnel style or enclosed bridges.

 

Due to the quality of our work and our unsurpassed customer service, Links Bridges is known as a top builder for golf course bridges, residential bridges or park & trail bridges in the USA and  Canada. We are 100% committed to any project we are involved in and stand behind all our designs and products. If you and your municipality are ready to invest back into the community with highest quality bridges, contact our team today at info@linksbridges.com or by phone at 1.888.444.0277. We would be honoured to serve all your bridge needs.

Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

Ottawa Bridge Focus: Plaza Bridge

The city of Ottawa has gone through many changes over the years as buildings, streets, and bridges have been constructed, demolished, and rebuilt. The current shape and layout of the city is very different from what it was even a hundred years ago.  The Plaza Bridge, a pedestrian and automotive bridge which crosses the Rideau Canal just south of the Ottawa locks, is one such landmark that has changed drastically over time.

In the place where the Plaza Bridge now stands there originally stood two bridges — the Sappers Bridge and the Dufferin Bridge. The Sappers Bridge was built in 1827, one of Ottawa’s first bridges, and was named so because it was constructed by the 15th Company of the Royal Sappers and Miners. It was joined by the Dufferin Bridge in the early 1870s, forming a triangle across the Rideau Canal.

At the start of the 20th century, a hole was created in Sappers Bridge in order to allow rail traffic to pass through and head onto a new station that was being built just east of the Rideau Canal. The entire area underwent extensive renovation during the early 1900s, which saw the construction of the Union Station as well as the Chateau Laurier hotel. As a result, rail traffic was re-routed under the bridge along the canal’s eastern side and onto the Royal Alexandra Interprovincial Bridge and towards Gatineau.

In 1912, both the Dufferin Bridge and the Sappers Bridge were demolished. The newly-created bridge was named Plaza Bridge because, in bringing together Wellington Street and Elgin Street on its west side to merge with Rideau Street on the east side, it created an interesting ‘Y’ shape, designed to be used as an open public space. The resulting triangular plaza was named Connaught Park, after Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, who held the post of Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916. Today, the location is known as Confederation Square and is the site of the National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Plaza Bridge is constructed of three masonry spans: the western span goes over a roadway along the western bank of the Canal; the central span lies over the Canal; and the eastern span runs over the former railway tunnel along the east bank of the Canal. The Plaza Bridge lies just north of the Mackenzie King Bridge, making it the northernmost bridge over the canal and giving anyone crossing it a stunning view of the Parliament buildings, the Ottawa Canal, and the Chateau Laurier.

 

The newly-built Plaza Bridge in 1921. Source: The Contract Record, Vol. 26, No. 17, April 24, 1912.

The newly-built Plaza Bridge in 1921. Source: The Contract Record, Vol. 26, No. 17, April 24, 1912.

Links Bridges
Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

Restore Your Bridge Back to Life

We live in a disposable era, where the moment things break we either leave them that way (and promise we will fix them next weekend) or we replace them entirely, scrapping otherwise functional materials in exchange for a quick fix. Our mission at Links Bridges is to save our customers their time, their money, and their sanity. We have created a line of sustainable, eco-friendly bridges for municipalities, golf courses, and residences that don’t need to be fixed or replaced every few years. Additionally, we strive to replace the wastefulness in the landscaping industry by encouraging and providing services to accommodate bridge restoration and renewal.

With Links Bridges bridge restoration, our clients get to experience both an aesthetic and functional ‘new’ bridge at a fraction of the cost. Here is how:

First, consider that any bridge has 3 main components:

  1. Foundations/Abutments
  2. Beams
  3. Deck/Rails

It is often the case that the foundations and beams are still in great shape long after the deck has deteriorated.  This is particularly true for steel beam/wood deck bridges.

Our team of expert bridge designers and installers have perfected the art of bridge restoration, whereby, rather than replace the entire bridge when the deck needs replacement, Links Bridges can custom fabricate a new FRP deck.  Done properly, it can provide all of the benefits – including the look – of an entirely ‘new’ bridge. The best part is that this can all happen at a fraction of the cost of a new bridge.

The Links Bridges crew recently worked with the Sirocco Golf Club in Alberta on a successful restoration project.  The pictures below show the result.

Before:

links1

 

After:

links2

 

If your municipality, residence, or golf course has an older bridge that could use some tender love and care, contact our bridge experts at Links Bridges today for a free consultation on how to restore and revitalize your bridge. Whether your bridge runs through a golf course, a park, a trail, your backyard or otherwise, we can help bring it back to life. Contact us at info@linksbridges.com or call us at 888-444-0277.

Written by The Bridge Lady (Regina)

Bridge Focus: Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is, undeniably, one of the best known bridges in the world. Spanning the Golden Gate Strait, a channel that connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean, it has been named one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. This is really no surprise, as the Golden Gate Bridge has now become a globally recognized symbol for San Francisco and the state of California and is a must-see for tourists.

Prior to the bridge being built, the shortest and most practical way to cross the Golden Gate Strait was by boat. As a result, a ferry service was started, which ran from as early as 1820. However, many wanted to build a bridge to connect San Francisco to Marin County. As the city of San Francisco was still largely serviced by boats and ferries, its connection to other cities around the bay was hampered and, as such, its growth was slower than other large American cities of the time.

A bridge proposal was put forth in 1916 by James Wilkins, a former engineering student. However, the city’s chief engineer valued the design at $100 million, which was drastically impractical at the time. A call was put out to bridge engineers to see if it could be done in a more cost-effective manner. Joseph Strauss, an ambitious structural engineer, responded and drew up an initial design, which he said could be completed at the more moderate cost of $17 million. The project was approved by local authorities, provided that the inexperienced Strauss would accept advice from several consulting project experts. A suspension bridge design was chosen as the most practical, due to recent advances in metallurgy.

The project faced opposition from many angles; there were concerns the bridge would interfere with ship traffic, or that it would provide major competition to the existing ferry service. However, there were also allies, such as the ever-growing automobile industry, which encouraged the construction of roads and bridges to increase the need for cars. Despite opposition and funding issues, construction eventually began in 1933 and was completed in 1937, ahead of time and $1.3 million under budget. At 4200 feet long, the Golden Gate Bridge remained the longest suspension bridge in the world for almost thirty years, until 1964 when the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City was completed.

Though Strauss was the chief engineer of the project and was in charge of the overall design and construction, his lack of experience in cable-suspension designs meant that other experts in engineering and architecture were called in. The final structural suspension design can be attributed to Leon Moisseiff, the architect of the Manhattan Bridge, who introduced his “deflection theory” to reduce stress on the bridge towers by allowing the roadway to flex in the wind. An unknown residential architect called Irving Morrow designed the the shape of the bridge towers, the lighting, and other elements, while the principal engineer was Charles Alton Ellis, who did much of the technical and theoretical work that built the bridge, but received none of the credit in his lifetime. Strauss, wanting to take all of the credit, greatly downplayed the contributions of his collaborators and it wasn’t until much later that the contributions of the others on the design team were properly recognized.

Keep checking back to our blog for many more bridge features! Do you have a favourite bridge in the world? Please post your thoughts or photos in the comments below. If you are looking for help to design and install a bridge on your property, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced team today.

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