Bodie Creek Bridge

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Bodie Creek Bridge
Falkland Islands
240px
Bodie Creek Bridge during construction, 1925
Location
Type: Suspension bridge
Crossing: Bodie Creek, East Falkland
Location
Location: 51°51’14"S, 59°1’4"W
Structure
Length: 400 feet
Type: Suspension bridge
History
Built 1925
Information

The Bodie Creek Suspension Bridge in the Falkland Islands is said to be the southernmost suspension bridge in the world. It was built in 1925, from a kit fabricated in Britain by David Rowell & Co., in order to shorten the distance sheep needed to be driven from southern Lafonia to the shearing sheds in Goose Green. The bridge thus connected Lafonia with the bulk of East Falkland.

The bridge has a span of 400 feet carrying a roadway 8 feet wide roadway. It is suspended by four 2-inch diameter steel cables carried over two 40-foot towers.

The Falklands' weather is however relentless and the steel structure, left largely unmaintained as it stood, was finally closed in 1997, having decayed to a dangerous extent.[1]

History

The Falkland Islands Company, which owned much of the colony and practically all of Lafonia, maintained shearing sheds at Goose Green, on the Darwin Isthmus, having centralized operations previously run at Darwin and Walker Creek. Lafonia is a flat landscape and cut with creaks, making it a long diversion around Bodie Creek to drive sheep from Walker Creek to Goose Green. At a meeting on 31 March 1924, the Board of Directors approved the final construction proposals for a suspension bridge over the creek, and work began soon afterwards.

The bridge was manufactured in London by David Rowell & Co. at a cost of £2,281 and shipped to the Falklands on the SS Ballena. It was built on site over a period of nine months between October 1924 and July 1925.

On site, the Engineer in Charge was C P Peters and the foreman was the mason E S Crawford. The navvy gang engaged on the project numbered fourteen on average. After the construction of the bridge itself, remaining ancillary work on the approach roads was completed by the end of October 1925, enabling the first sheep to be brought over the bridge in time for the beginning of the new shearing season.

Conservation

The weather has taken a cruel toll on the bridge, such that it had to be closed in 1997. It is now is a poor condition. The brdge is currently in the care of the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust; the Trust hopes that, at some time in the future, funds may become available to carry out work on the bridge in an effort to slow deterioration, but hope is limited, given the size and cost of the task that would be required.

Outside links

References