The Liepāja Karosta Canal Bridge (Kalpaka Bridge) was built at the beginning of the last century - in 1906. The bridge itself was designed by German engineer Harald Hall. After the bridge was built, in 1908, a publication entitled "Drehbrücke über den großen Hafenkanal in Libau" was published in the German technical literature magazine "Zeitschrift des vereines deutscher Ingenieure", which is the only authentic source on the construction of the bridge, the design loads and the operation of the cutting mechanisms.
In its more than 100 years of existence, the bridge has survived two wars and different owners, which logically influenced its operation. In 2001, "Ceļuprojekts" developed and in 2005 re-approved a renovation project. Due to lack of funding, the project was not scheduled for completion until 2006. Shortly before the project was due to start, on 12ty of July, 2006, the Georgian-registered ship "Anna", passing through the Karosta Canal, crashed into the structure of the bridge's North side spans, resulting in destruction of half of the bridge spans.
The bridge consists of two parts (North and South sides) made of two identical cantilevers. The carriageway of the bridge is 7.3 m wide and the deck is made of wooden planks. The length of the bank cantilever is 27.55 m and the length of the canal is 38.95 m. The total length of the bridge is 133 m with a span of 27.55 m + 77.9 m + 27.55 m.
As the Kalpaka Bridge is a heritage structure, the client (Liepaja Special Economic Zone Authority) wanted to preserve the structure exactly as it has been inherited. The client did not deviate from these requirements throughout the design and construction process. Although the design was complicated for this reason, the bridge can serve as a source of pride for Liepāja and a major attraction.
"It was not only an important duty, but also a great honour to carry out the reconstruction project for this unique monument.
The structure, which has not had an easy life, having endured the ravages of two wars, ships and careless people, had to be given special attention. Not only the interesting architecture and technical solutions had to be preserved, but also the bridge's distinctive soul, for which the eminent engineer Alexander Gustav Eiffel is said to have laid the foundations by drawing up the technical sketches.”/Juris Mārtiņš Leikarts - Head of Bridge Department, JSC "Celuprojekts", 1991-2012/