The Vik Bridge is 133 meters long and one of the longest and oldest surviving wooden bridges in the country. Both the foundation and superstructure are built of wood. The bridge is a remarkable landmark in the scenic agricultural landscape that characterizes the Ljungan Valley.
History Along the Ljungan River in Torp Parish lie the neighboring villages of Viken, Byn, and Gullgård. The Vik Bridge is said to be the result of a dispute between these villages during the latter part of the 19th century. For a long time, it was the farmers in Vik who were responsible for ensuring that there was a bridge or ferry downstream from Byforsen. But in 1827, it was decided that the old bridge should be replaced with a new one. Before the new bridge was built, the villagers of the three villages made an agreement that Byn and Gullgård would receive toll fees. The requirement was that they would finance the maintenance of the bridge and ensure that it was open to the public.
Threats to close the bridge to the public The bridge deteriorated during the 1880s, and the villagers of Gullgård, Byn, and Övergård therefore built a new bridge just upstream from the existing one. They also demanded that the villages of Viken and Finsta should participate in the bridge construction in proportion to their tax assessment. Otherwise, they threatened to close the bridge to the public and make it private property. The farmers in Viken and Finsta became angry and decided to take matters into their own hands. They also believed that it was too far to travel to the bridge over Byforsen for further transport to Fränsta village. So they simply decided to repair Viken’s old toll bridge.
Despite conflicts with opponents of the bridge, which resulted in an appeal to the county administrative board, the new Vik Bridge was built in 1887-88. The result was the bridge that exists today.
Vik Bridge construction The bridge has a technological historical value as a precursor to the steel bridges that began to be built during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The 133.27-meter long beam bridge is a so-called overflow structure. It has a clear span over the King’s channel of 23.3 meters, executed with a suspension system in a lattice structure. Its impressive length, in addition to the abutments built with hewn natural stone, required 19 abutment piles to stabilize the structure. In addition, there were significant requirements to keep the King’s channel clear for timber floating and to prevent damage during high water levels, ice, and more.
The latest restoration also involved the reconstruction of the original joint arms, which shows what the facility looked like when it was built in 1888.