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Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd)

Franz Joseph Bridge (Ferenc József híd), Fővám téri híd

Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd)

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 2, 2017
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Kelenhegyi út and Vámház körút Over Danube River (Duna)
Budapest: Pest County, Central Hungary (Pest megye, Magyarország): Hungary (Magyarország)
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1896 By Builder/Contractor: Hungarian Royal State Iron, Steel and Machine Factory of Budapest, Hungary and Engineer/Design: János Feketeházy and Szántó Albert

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
560.2 Feet (170.75 Meters)
Structure Length
1094.5 Feet (333.6 Meters)
Roadway Width
66 Feet (20.12 Meters)
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

Above: Liberty Bridge in 1901.

The Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd) is a cantilever through truss bridge that was built in 1896 and has extensive ornamentation. In fact, it may be one of the most highly ornamented metal truss bridges in the world!

 World War II, during the Siege of Budapest, destroyed the cantilever arms and suspended span of the bridge, but the main post towers and the anchor arms remained intact, despite one of the anchor arms dropping into the water at the abutment end. In this state, the bridge may have been one of the least damaged of the bridges in the city. Soon after the destruction, a makeshift temporary structure was erected that connected the surviving portions of the bridge. In 1946, this bridge became the first bridge to be rebuilt after the war. Portions of the surviving bridge that could be salvaged were repaired and reused, including the ornamentation on the towers. Portions needed to be rebuilt from scratch were made following the original design. The replication of this bridge’s destroyed parts was very accurate, and even when inspected closely, it is not clear where the original and new parts are.

The architect for the bridge was named as János Feketeházy. Gállik István and József Beke were named as having a role in the design of the bridge. Franz Joseph I ceremonially drove the final rivet into the bridge. The bridge was fabricated by a company located in Budapest and named Magyar Királyi Állami Vas-, Acél- és Gépgyárak (Hungarian Royal State Iron, Steel and Machine Factory). Szántó Albert was an engineer who served as a technical advisor for the construction of the bridge.

Reconstruction of the bridge after the war was under the engineering direction of Sávoly Pál. More recent rehabilitations included a 1984 deck replacement and repainting and a 2007-2009 rehabilitation project.

The bridge is unusual for its lack of overhead bracing for a bridge of this size. The only portal or sway bracing is at the main post towers.

Some sources describe this bridge as a "rácsos Gerber-híd" in Hungarian, which translates to "Lattice Gerber Bridge" in English, this is a reference to the German engineer Heinrich Gottfried Gerber who invented the modern cantilever truss bridge in 1867. His cantilevered trusses were originally known as "Gerber beams."

Above: Liberty Bridge under construction.

Above: Liberty Bridge before the war.

Above: Liberty Bridge after destruction, showing the center section totally destroyed, the far anchor arm tipped into the water, and the near anchor arm largely intact.

Above: Liberty Bridge after destruction showing the temporary structure erected by the Soviets shortly after the destruction. Note the near anchor arm is largely intact despite having tipped over into the water at the abutment end.



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