The Principality of Liechtenstein and its neighbour Switzerland are joined by several bridges over the Rhine, the border river. In the second part of the "Bridges bring together" series Philately Liechtenstein turns its attention to the "Foot and Cycle Bridge" (face value CHF 0.85) "Buchs-Schaan" (CHF 1.00) and also the "Rhine Bridge" (CHF 1.40) "Bendern-Haag" (face value CHF 1.90). For each of the two bridges two commemoratives differing in face value and format have been printed together on the sheetlet. The photographs are by Bruno Kopfli.
Until well into the 19th century the Rhine could be crossed only on ferries. These crossings were not without danger: in 1587 85 people from Werdenberg drowned in a ferry accident on the way home after a pilgrimage to the Church of St. Mary in Bendern. In 1868 the first bridge was built at the Rhine crossing between Bendern (Liechtenstein) and Haag (Switzerland). It was burned down in 1894, whereupon a new wooden bridge was erected in 1896. This one collapsed in 1974 after another fire.
Fortunately, the concrete bridge of today depicted on the commemoratives was built in 1965, so that the transport link between the two countries operated without interruption at the time of the disaster.
Since the spring of 2009 pedestrians and cyclists in the Rhine local recreation area have enjoyed an attractive link between Schaan (Liechtenstein) and Buchs (Switzerland). The 132-metres long bridge weighing 120 tonnes is suspended over the water on two transversely positioned steel pylons. The bridge itself is, so to speak, a welcome spinoff from a much larger construction project, for it represents the visible heart of an otherwise underground steam pipeline. This just six kilometers long pipeline supplies three industrial undertakings in Liechtenstein with process steam from the refuse incineration plant in Buchs. The annual supply of some 100 tonnes of steam is equivalent to about 12 million liters of heating oil and contributes every year to the avoidance of 20,000 tonnes of CO2.