The over 40-year-old Kattwyk bridge is getting reinforcement in the near future. With the new Kattwyk rail bridge, one of the world’s largest lift bridges is being erected in the Port of Hamburg. The structure, which weighs 2,000 tons and is 287 metres in length in total, is a significant HPA infrastructure project. Above all, it serves to break up the traffic in the port: with the new Kattwyk rail bridge, road and rail transport is being separated, thus relieving the old Kattwyk bridge of traffic significantly after more than four decades.
The Kattwyk bridge, built in 1973, currently leads rail and road transport across the Süderelbe. When a ship needs to pass, the bridge is briefly closed to traffic and lifts up to the height of the passing ship. It has a lifting height of 46 metres, a clearance height of 53 metres and a passing width of 96 metres – making it Germany’s largest lift bridge to date. At the time of its construction, it was even the largest lift bridge in the world.
The Kattwyk bridge, with its striking architecture, is today considered an important Hamburg landmark. A main routeway and strategic junction, it serves as an important connection for the port railway between the western and eastern port areas. What’s more, the bridge is used by road traffic as a crossing to Wilhelmsburg or to reach the A7 motorway. The bridge is also used by cyclists and pedestrians.
The new Kattwyk rail bridge not only means a long-term improvement for the flow of traffic within the port, it also relieves the Kattwyk bridge so that it can continue to accommodate traffic for many years to come.
As the number of goods being handled in the port grows, so too does the amount of traffic. Which is why the rail and road network needs to be enlarged across the board. By separating rail and road transport with the new Kattwyk rail bridge, the traffic situation in the port will improve noticeably. Currently, the Kattwyk bridge is closed for about three hours every day to trucks and trains due to passing ships. The rail route above the Kattwyk bridge connects the Hohe Schaar port train station with the Alte Süderelbe station. The new Kattysk rail bridge is being erected 58 metres north of the existing bridge and shall further improve the connection to the Altenwerder container terminal.
In addition to the in-port rail transport, all trains coming from the Westhafen headed north-east will use the new port crossing. Furthermore, the new Kattwyk rail bridge will feature convenient bicycle and pedestrian paths, which offer a great view across the Elbe River and the port. The old Kattwyk bridge shall remain open to road travel, and drivers can look forward to saving up to seven hours of time in the near future due to the elimination of rail transport on the bridge.
The new Kattwyk rail bridge is yet another milestone in the pioneering development of the port and transport routes. The modern Dreifeld bridge featuring a steel framework is based on the existing Kattwyk bridge in terms of its architecture, thus creating a harmonious overall picture. The two fixed bridge components already exist, and the two pylons and the lift component are nearly finished. They are being manufactured in Cuxhaven, welded together there and then transported to Hamburg via ship to be installed. In the port itself, preparations for the new bridge are well underway. For instance, a culvert is being built which will later house the power and data lines for controlling the bridge.
In addition to the installation of tracks and overhead lines, extensive construction measures are required throughout the entire transport system. The project is not only so extensive as a result of its dimension – each bridge is absolutely one of a kind for which complex static, technical and, of course, transport requirements need to be considered. At the same time, many specialists work together. After more than ten years of planning and construction, the new Kattwyk rail bridge is nearly completed. Its opening is scheduled for 2020.