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Famed bridge-builder Christian Menn dies

Menn at work: The Sunniberg Bridge near Klosters Keystone

Swiss engineer Christian Menn, a world-class bridge-builder who continued a long tradition of Swiss bridge construction, died on Monday at the age of 91. 

This content was published on July 19, 2018 - 21:14
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Christian Menn in 2001 Keystone

Menn, whose death was reported on Thursday, had a decisive influence on Swiss bridge-building and was involved in the construction of around 100 bridges worldwide. However, the focus of his work remained in canton Graubünden in eastern Switzerland. 

Menn was born in 1927 in Meiringen, canton Bern. He received his doctorate from federal technology institute ETH Zurich in 1956 and the following year opened his own engineering practiceExternal link in Chur with a focus on bridge construction. In 1960, he built his first bridges over the Avers Rhine. 

Many more bridges followed, including the Rhine Bridge at Reichenau-Tamins (1962), the Reuss Bridge at Wassen (1972), the Felsenau Bridge in Bern (1974), the Ganter Bridge along the Simplon Pass road (1980) and the Sunniberg Bridge near Klosters (1998). Menn also developed the concept for the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge over the Charles River in Boston, which was opened in 2003. 

Menn was elected full professor of structural design at ETH Zurich in 1971. He retired in 1992, but he continued to act as a consultant engineer in private practice. 

In November 2002, Menn told the Swiss News Agency that his great role model had always been the Swiss-born bridge builder Othmar Hermann Ammann (1879-1965), who helped design the George Washington Bridge in New York and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, among others.

The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge over the Charles River in Boston Keystone


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