One of the most important transport projects of in Germany is progressing: the 120 m-long centerpiece is to place new Schierstein bridge across the Rhine between Mainz and Wiesbaden. Eight cranes moved the 2000 ton steel behemoth on the pontoon in the height.
This is even a visible construction progress: on Tuesday morning, still a huge gap over the Rhine which here divides Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate, Wiesbaden and Mainz gapes. Early at dawn, a pontoon, water is pumped from the begins to lift. As long as he wears the new bridge piece. And finally this giant raft drawn wire ropes with his 2000 ton load very slowly moves in the middle of the river.
Welding work weeks
It took a couple of hours longer than planned, and yet everything worked apparently clean. Approximately four hours took only the provisional Assembly of the 120-metre section of the new Schiersteiner motorway bridge.
Eight cranes lifted the monster in the height of the existing, main side sections. It was dark again, could sign the responsible of the Hessen land transportation mobile enforcement. Now the combination of the Hessian Bank of a river is completely towards “Rettbergsaue” called Rhine island.
Now, it will take about two weeks, until the centerpiece is fully welded. Later three of a total of six lanes are paved it. The in side of the Rhine is to be achieved by end of 2016; the complete completion of the bridge is scheduled for 2019.
In contrast to many other projects of this magnitude, this construction rests largely in the plan. And it is also an urgent need: the dating back to the 1960s, only four-lane highway bridge of the A 643 was originally designed for daily 20,000 vehicles – today here more than four times as many go in. And even 100,000 vehicles per day are predicted for the year 2030.
Chaos due to lockout a year ago
Alone the Federal Government financed the entire project. €216 million are planned for this. “Money well spent”, says Rainer Bomba, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of transport. Yet at the end of the 1990s the State had invested more than 20 million marks in the reconstruction of the old bridge. A few years later but, that she no longer maintain became apparent.
If necessary by 2015 the bridge can be used yet, so the technical forecasts. Until then, a new building was impossible to implement. Therefore, the bridge is now checked at short intervals. It has become as unstable, proved year an ago when a piece fell off: A pillar had inclined to 20 cm, cracks emerged in the bridge. Apparently, that was the result of work on the new bridge, which took place in the vicinity.
For two months the bridge had to be closed completely. Up to 3300 cars per hour at peak times, this meant: daily chaos. With its capacity of 100 vehicles per hour, a special ferry could hardly provide relief.
Nice would be if the new Schiersteiner bridge then would equipped with diagnostic techniques which measure the load on the bridge around the clock. Using an algorithm developed by researchers in Bochum, the building could beat then itself alarm when a limit is reached.