In a desperate condition: popular «Gwagglibrugg» needs to be renovated

Wettingen/Neuenhof

In a desperate condition: popular «Gwagglibrugg» needs to be renovated

The condition of the Paul Fischer Bridge, which belongs to Wettingen and Neuenhof, is questionable. That is why the oldest existing wire rope bridge in Switzerland will be refurbished this year – and is also to be placed under monument protection.

Built in 1863, renovated for the last time in the 1980s: the Paul Fischer Bridge between the Wettinger monastery peninsula and Neuenhofs Klosterrüti.

Barbara Scherer (2017)

The Paul Fischer Bridge, which connects the Wettinger monastery peninsula with the Damsau on Neuenhofer Boden, is in a “desolate state”. This is what the Wettinger municipal council writes in its latest statement of accounts.

The engineering office Bänziger und Partner was therefore commissioned with the condition assessment and assessment and came to the conclusion that the condition of the bridge, popularly known as “Gwagglibrugg”, is questionable. Various damage is present and therefore measures are necessary. The wood and rope construction have to be renovated, says mayor Roland Kuster (Die Mitte CVP Wettingen) on request. The credit for this is already included in the 2021 budget. The costs are shared with Neuenhof.

The necessary work is being carried out by the cantonal monument preservation department and the specialist office for historical traffic routes in Switzerland. In the same context, the bridge is also to be placed under cantonal monument protection.

“Historically very valuable”

The “Gwagglibrugg” is very likely to be the oldest still existing wire rope bridge in Switzerland, as can be read in the online inventory of the Aargau Cantonal Preservation of Monuments. “The construction of the earth-anchored, unstiffened suspension bridge is a late example of the first generation of wire bridges and can therefore be classified as historically very valuable.”

Today all the larger Swiss suspension bridges have disappeared, only the Neuenhof-Wettinger Steg, 45 meters long, and the “Passerelle des Neigles” in Friborg, built in 1878, still has the original supporting structure.

The construction of the bridge was initiated in 1863 by Johann Wild, founder of the Wettinger spinning mill, in order to spare the workers of his textile company, who lived in the Kosthaus in Klosterrüti or in the neighboring communities, the detour over the wooden bridge further upstream.

In the early 1980s the bridge was in such poor condition that it was about to be demolished. But Paul Fischer, long-time Neuenhofer mayor, had pulled out all the stops to preserve the bridge. The communities of Wettingen and Neuenhof took over and renovated it.

“Thanks to his persistent and convincing advertising both in Wettingen and Neuenhof, the continued existence of the popular footbridge is to be thanked”,

The BT reported in 2005 when the Gwagglibrugg was renamed the Paul Fischer Bridge in his honor. Fischer had died two years earlier.

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