Construction works uncover remains of a 19th-cent. bridge

Recent construction works at the Peace of Thorn Roundabout (Rondo Pokoju Toruńskiego) in Toruń, North Poland, led to a discovery of remains of a 19th century bridge that was covered and overbuilt by road during 1920s.

Remains of the tunnel (by Szymon Spandowski)

It is believed that the remains were covered by construction crews which demolished the area near the Lubicka Gate and fortifications surrounding it in the 1920s. The metal elements of the bridge were located within the internal ring of fortifications belonging to Festung Thorn – Toruń Fortress, one of the largest fortresses in Central Europe built in Toruń between 1872–1894 by the Kingdom of Prussia. After nearly 100 years it was discovered by a present-day construction crew building a sewage collector at the site. The bridge is believed to have led to the mentioned and non-existent Lubicka Gate.

Site of the discovery (by Szymon Spandowski)

Historians and history enthusiasts investigated the finding which resulted in comparison of the recent discoveries with archive plans and maps. It turned out that beside the bridge remains another interesting site might be located – that of a railroad gate leading to the interior of the fortress. The entrance to the underground space has been secured by the construction workers. The space under the 19th century bridge is filled with modern utilities, including a gas pipe, waterworks, and remains of an electric cable line, once probably supporting nearby lamp posts and the gate.

Reconstruction of the tunnel (by Szymon Spandowski)

The reason why this part of the bridge was left is unclear, It is suspected that it was too hard to demolish so a decision was made to bury it with dirt from dismantled ramparts. The construction company which is responsible for the works suspects that remains of a nearby caponier might also be buried – and located on the course of the planned sewage line.

Reporters entering the bridge by a sewage shaft (by Grzegorz Olkowski)

The fate of the underground bridge is uncertain. The are voices being raised about preserving the structure and converting the area into the first underground tourist line and attraction. The site is attractive for potential tourism as it is located near a busy roundabout. The bridge might be accessible through a nearby moat and the underground route might include the presumably preserved remains of the fortifications – the caponier and the railroad gate. It is even more valuable as there are only a few military objects remaining from the internal fortification ring on the Toruń Fortress.

View from below the bridge (by Szymon Spandowski)
Interior of the uncovered space (by Szymon Spandowski)

(after Szymon Spandowski, Grzegorz Olkowski, Moje Miasto Toruń & Nowości Dziennik Toruński)

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