Following what could be termed a record-breaking short construction time of only 100 days, the new Hammacher Strasse bridge in Hagen in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, spanning motorway A 46, was put into operation at the end of July after a construction time of only 100 days. The new structure is the first replacement bridge in North-Rhine-Westphalia to be fully constructed as a precast concrete system – the girders are made of steel, and all the remaining parts, including abutment, roadway slabs and bridge caps, are precast elements.
The new bridge replaces an in-situ concrete bridge, which had spanned the A 46 in the same place. The original bridge, 50 years old, showed shortcomings in its loadbearing capacity and had to be dismantled.
Construction time as short as possible
The concept for the new bridge originates from Sweco GmbH, based in Bremen, Germany, and was the winning entry of an idea competition in 2016, sponsored by Strassen.NRW, the state road building agency for planning, building and operating all motorways, interstate highways and country roads in North Rhine-Westphalia. Participants in the ideas competition had been asked to submit new concepts for bridge construction in prestressed-concrete, steel or composite construction, to include new materials and technologies. The concepts were in particular to be characterized by the minimum possible construction time at the site, and construction activities were to interfere as little as possible with traffic.
The jury members included representatives from the German federal and state ministry of transport, the Bau NRW chamber of construction engineers, the Strassen.NRW agency of roads as well as from the city of Hagen. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Josef Hegger of RWTH Aachen contributed to the selection process as expert advisor.
Around 180 precast elements
Precast parts as advantageous alternative
In the medium term, many bridges will have to be replaced by newbuilds. For this purpose, precast elements can be recommended as an advantageous alternative to conventional in-situ structures.
Text: Christian Jahn, M. A.