'NOVA: Operation Bridge Rescue'
(DVD / PG / 2019 / PBS)
Overview: Follow the race to rebuild the Blenheim Covered Bridge in New York State, an icon of 19th century American engineering, destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
DVD Verdict: For nearly 160 years, the historic Blenheim Bridge, spanning the Schoharie Creek, stood proudly as the world's longest covered bridge. People came from miles around to view and photograph, this incredible engineering achievement.
At 210 feet in length, it withstood floods, hard-bitten winters and even a few horse and buggy accidents to remain one of Schoharie County's everlasting landmarks. It opened in 1855 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
On August 28th, 2011, however, the sturdy old bridge was no match for Tropical Storm Irene. The storm wreaked havoc throughout Upstate New York, bringing record flood levels and leaving death and destruction in its wake.
On that very same night, and with the raging Schoharie Creek roaring along underneath the bridge at a historic level, the old covered bridge succumbed to Mother Nature's fury.
The bridge collapsed into the torrent below and pieces of it were scattered in the fields, farmlands and woods for more than 30 miles down river.
The little hamlet of Blenheim, population of about 200 people, rallied to get their bridge back. After several years of wrangling and consulting with state and federal agencies, the rebirth of the Blenheim Bridge began early in 2017.
When completed, the new bridge was built 15 feet higher than the original one. Some pieces of the old bridge that were discovered along the river bank were also used in construction of the new bridge.
In 'NOVA: Operation Bridge Rescue,' we watch a team of craftsmen reproduce the massive, intricate wooden structure under grueling time pressure as flooding threatens their work site.
We also discover how Chinese artisans ensure the survival of these stunning ancient structures, which in and unto itself was rather fascinating, if truth be told. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.