The Solkan Bridge

The Solkan Bridge is one of the most beautiful and well-known structures along the entire line. Its central span was built by the Reidlich & Berger company, and the end viaducts were built by Gorizia-based Sard & Lenassi. Initially a steel arched bridge was planned at this location, but later they decided to build a stone bridge instead. Construction caused numerous problems for the builders. The ground where the foundations of the bearing arch were to be built was not firm enough to bear such load, so the line of the bridge was slightly shifted. As a result, the span of the arch increased to 85 meters.

A wooden structure first had to be built on the spot where the bridge was planned. To ensure its strength and sufficient bearing capacity, a concrete foundation was built in the middle of the Soča River for an auxiliary pier. 1,161 m3 of wood and 25 tons of iron were used for the wooden part alone. For the central stone section, 1,960 m3 of stone blocks from the Nabrežina Quarry were used. Construction of the entire bridge was estimated at 1,100,000 Austrian crowns. Its fame spread across the entire monarchy, but was overshadowed in a few years by the outbreak of the First World War. In 1917, during the sixth Isonzo Offensive, the bridge was blown up and badly damaged. Italy started renovating it in 1925 and, during renovation, railroad traffic used a makeshift iron structure. During the Second World War, the bridge was blown up again, but fortunately it did not suffer great damage and was finally renovated in 1954. One hundred years later, it remains the world’s largest arched stone bridge. It is an outstanding product of Austrian bridge construction and the last of the large iron bridges built on Austro-Hungarian railroad lines at the beginning of the twentieth century.