Engineering performance at its best!

Bar arch bridge for the western regional bypass in Frankfurt lifted into place with great precision.

Darmstadt, 03.06.2024. In a spectacular operation, the 1300-tonne tied-arch bridge with a span of 113 metres was installed in its final position over the railway tracks of the Frankfurt-Mannheim line at the Waldstadion in Frankfurt am Main on Friday. This makes the future route of the Regional Tangent West (RTW) clearly visible for the first time: its light rail vehicles are scheduled to run over the bridge from 2028.

The Donges SteelTec assembly team began preparations for the final assembly of the bridge on Wednesday. In order to hoist the steel colossus into position, it was first stored on two huge mobile platforms (SPMT) in the days leading up to its installation. The self-propelled modular transporters with their 288 individually steerable wheels were set in motion late on Corpus Christi evening and manoeuvred the bridge as close as possible to the tracks. A lattice boom crawler crane then took over on the opposite side of the tracks and gently lifted the steel giant over the tracks.

A total of 500 tonnes of counterweights were needed so that the crane monster could hold half the bridge load of 680 tonnes. These were brought in by 20 articulated lorries, while 70 lorry transports were needed to erect the crane. For hours on Friday morning, the bridge was suspended from the crane on one side while it was attached to the eastern abutment. At midday, the crane then lowered the striking tied-arch bridge onto the western abutment, accompanied by applause from the numerous spectators. The work seemed slow, but the time pressure was great. Deutsche Bahn had only closed the railway line between Niederrad and the airport for 24 hours.

The Donges team on site was visibly satisfied and proud of the smooth installation process. ‘On a lift like this, it’s important that everyone knows what their job is and that everyone communicates well with each other. We are an experienced and well-rehearsed team and recognise our responsibility for the safety of those involved and the structure. A big thank you to everyone who made this great engineering achievement possible,’ says the responsible Donges project manager, Aaron von der Heyden.