27.06.2013, 16:12 Uhr

Saale-Elster-Viaduct

Germany's longest bridge just finished

On Friday, 26 June 2013, workers added the last welding for the tied arch bridge as part of the Saale-Elster-Viaduct. The total length of the bridge in the main section of the new railway line Erfurt – Leipzig is 6,5 km plus a 2,1 km long diversion track to Halle. Besides the extraordinary length of the bridge further technical challenges had to be solved.

It is the first time that a tied-arch bridge with an arch span of 110 m has been realized on a 300 km/h high-speed railway line. To get the required approval by the federal Railway Authority  extensive static and dynamic calculations were necessary and reviewed by multiple expertise reports. For test runs an additional detailed monitoring program on the behavior of the bridge is planned.

Another extraordinary detail is the switch with a radius of 6.000 placed directly on the bridge. In the so-called expanded areas up to 4 tracks run parallel. The 3-cell prestressed box girder reaches a width of approx. 30 m in this area.

To minimize the impact on the ecologically sensitive area of the Saale-Elster floodplains most of the bridge was built using a top-down construction technique. Access to areas classified under the European Habitats Directive and Birds Directive was not allowed neither for construction vehicles nor for construction works. All construction works had to pause during breeding season. 

The joint venture of Leonhardt, Andrä und Partner and Kinkel und Partner was responsible for the tender documents for parts of the superstructure and substructure and for the detailed design and construction engineering for the whole bridge, the overhead contact line system, the calculation of the rail tension including adjusting plates, electrical design as well as environmental engineering. 

In August 2013 the bridge will be furnished with a fixed track, the overhead contact line system and the signaling equipment. Start of operation for the Leipzig – Erfurt section is scheduled for 2015.