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Operation Bridge Rescue 1x53

Follow the race to rebuild the Old Blenheim Bridge in New York State, an icon of 19th century American engineering. Some 15,000 wooden covered bridges once spanned the rivers of forested regions of the U.S., linking communities and opening up land for pioneering farmers. Built in 1855, the Blenheim structure was the longest single span covered bridge in the world until Hurricane Irene destroyed it in 2011. Watch a team of elite bridge builders and engineers faithfully reproduce the intricate timber structure under grueling time pressure—they must rebuild and move it on to new foundations before spring floods destroy their worksite. In China, witness traditional craftsmen restoring thousand-year-old covered bridges based on ingenious frameworks of woven timber beams. These stunning ancient Chinese bridges are the heart of their communities, providing a focus for trade and worship as well as linking remote villages. But typhoons are destroying these bridges, too. Discover how Chinese artisans are keeping traditional skills alive to ensure their survival.