The land- and waterside infrastructure ensures smooth operations in the Port of Hamburg. By implementing extensive maintenance measures and innovative construction projects, we can operate a port which will be able to cope with an increasing flow of goods in the future.
Kattwyk Bridge is more than a central connection in the port area. The impressive lift bridge over the Southern Elbe has been in continuous use for almost 40 years. The planned new construction of a railway bridge will shift rail traffic and substantially reduce traffic on Kattwyk Bridge. The New Kattwyk Railway Bridge (NBK) project will therefore help to sustain the flow of traffic in the port, while at the same time contribute to the preservation of Kattwyk Bridge, built in 1973, as a landmark of the port of Hamburg for a long time to come.
As a central transport and strategic hub, Kattwyk Bridge serves the port railway as the most important connection between the western and eastern harbour areas. The road traffic uses the bridge as a convenient link to Wilhelmsburg and as a long-distance connection to the A7 motorway. Congestion on the Köhlbrand Bridge is partly relieved by diversions via Kattwyk Bridge. An integrated cycle route and footpath also allow you to cross the bridge without a car.
Kattwyk Bridge is one of the largest lift bridges in the world and has long become a landmark of the harbour with its highly visible structure and characteristic architecture. The tried and tested principle of operation has proved its worth for decades: when a ship passes, the bridge is temporarily closed to traffic and opens partially or fully, depending on the height of the passing vessel. This operation of Kattwyk Bridge meets the needs of all road users with ever-increasing traffic volumes.
The harbour is growing - but Kattwyk Bridge is unfortunately unable to grow. The volume of traffic is also rising steadily on the roads as a result of the growing cargo handling and port development. The rail and road network needs to be expanded to provide an efficient infrastructure and optimum flow of traffic. Kattwyk Bridge is part of this transport network: after more than four decades of operation, adapting to today's traffic conditions is essential.
Due to the current high volume of traffic, this important transport junction is becoming increasingly overburdoned. The bridge is closed by passing ships for trains and vehicles for around three hours a day. It is also closed for up to seven hours by rail traffic, which has priority over road traffic. As the bridge was not designed for today's traffic loads, load and speed limits also reduce the utilisation possibilities of the bridge.
For all of these reasons, the use of Kattwyk Bridge is becoming increasingly inefficient and therefore time-consuming and costly. The new bridge construction will enable rail traffic and road traffic to be separated, which will significantly reduce exclusion periods and other restrictions.
The bridge construction is of course also showing the first signs of fatigue caused by decades of high loads. As a long-standing landmark at the Port of Hamburg Kattwyk Bridge needs to be preserved for a long time to come, but this can only be achieved by constructing a new bridge and relieving the strain on the older one.
The project plans include the construction of a 287m-long lift bridge some 58m north of Kattwyk Bridge. With a clear height of NN + 53m when open, the passage height of the NBK is equivalent to that of Köhlbrand Bridge and the existing Kattwyk Bridge. As a triple bridge made of a steel lattice framework, each with an engine house for the bridge machinery on the bridge pylons, the new construction is architecturally based on the style of Kattwyk Bridge and creates a coherent overall picture. Together with Kattwyk Bridge, the NBK will form a distinctive bridge family - which is completely unique both architecturally and technologically, setting a new standard worldwide.
The construction of the bridge, including the track construction and overhead lines, will also involve extensive construction work on the entire surrounding traffic system. In addition to the basic reconstruction of the Kattwykstraße/Kattwykdamm interchange with road and railways, the Neue Altenwerder Hauptdeich, Polderwände Hohe Schaar and the Sandspülfelder Moorburg Ellerholz will need to be adapted to the NBK. At the same time, the electrical and control technology of Kattwyk Bridge will be comprehensively refurbished.
The implementation of the new construction in current traffic operation is a particular challenge. Due to the size and complexity of the project, technical and planning expertise and, above all, interdisciplinary skills are required to take the interests of all stakeholders into account.
The Elbe fairway is being dredged from Hamburg to the North Sea. This will enable ships to call at or leave our port with more cargo, as the Elbe will have an additional metre of draught. Additionally, the fairway is being widened in some areas and special passing areas are being set up to ease traffic in both directions and avoid waiting times.
The fairway adjustment in the Port of Hamburg, and up to the state’s border at Wedel, is being realised by Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). In addition to dredging work on the Elbe floor, HPA is building two new lighthouses, installing a culvert pipe deeper below the Elbe, and securing the eastern waterfront in Köhlbrand.
Here is where we explain the fairway adjustment and introduce the individual sub-projects.