Spanning across the northern and southern arms of the mighty Danube River, the Stone Bridge is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city of Regensburg along with the Regensburg Cathedral. The Stone Bridge remained the river’s only crossing for more than 800 years, acting as a vital traffic artery between the great centers of Ulm and Vienna, as well as central junction between northern France and much of the rest of Europe. As the oldest stone bridge in Germany to remain relatively unchanged, the continual preservation of this masterpiece of medieval architecture is of the utmost importance.
The Stone Bridge of Regensburg was planned and built in approximately eleven years, from 1136 to 1147. It was largely funded by the merchants of Regensburg. It connected the imperial and Bavarian parts of Regensburg. During its construction, royal patronage transferred from the Duke of Bavaria to the emperors of Germany; King Konrad III was the most notable of these patrons and greatly influenced the completion of the Stone Bridge. The merchants, however, had the largest stake in the bridge's completion as it would greatly facilitate the ease of transferring goods and services across the Danube. In 1245, the Free Imperial City of Regensburg was registered as the owner of the bridge.
The laser scanning of the Stone Bridge took place in May 2008. The survey team of Christofori und Partner started scanning the Bridge with a Leica HDS 3000 and a Leica HDS 6000 Scanner. The team scanned the whole bridge with a point distance of 4mm. Additional panoramic photographs were taken and mapped onto the point clouds. In August 2008, all the data was registered together into a complete site dataset. With this dataset, detailed plans of the Stone Bridge were created for the restoration purposes. Also, the team of Christofori und Partner created a 3D Model for future structural calculations.
Due to heavy strain on the bridge in recent decades, the durability of the bridge has strongly eroded from overuse and is no longer fit for traffic. The bridge has been closed to non-commercial traffic since 1997, and a ban on buses and taxis followed on August 1st, 2008, following the release of a structural report demonstrating that the bridge railing would not withstand a bus collision. Additionally, high water levels, acid rain and heavy rainfall have infiltrated the bridge and severely damaged the mortar of the walls through the accumulation of salts, dirt, and lime. Now that vehicular traffic has been banned from the bridge, additional refurbishment and consolidation work can be planned - aided by the highly accurate results of HD laser documentation.