One of the most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the port of Hamburg has been completed: Europe’s largest double-leaf bascule bridge. The HPA built the new Rethe bascule bridge to fully replace the old lifting bridge from 1934. The final completion of this project means that rail and road traffic users are now able to cross the river Rethe at the same time on their respective leaves of the double-leaf bridge. That is, the bridge will no longer need to be closed for road traffic to allow trains to cross, which formerly used to be necessary up to 40 times a day. This translates into uninterrupted travel for the nearly 7000 vehicles that cross the bridge every day and greater navigation channel width for ships.


Take a look for yourself for a better understanding of this milestone project in the port of Hamburg – the completion of the Rethe bascule bridge.


The new Rethe bascule bridge is located at the southern edge of the inner harbor and plays an important logistics role by linking by linking the two main roads to/from the south to Harburg and the BAB A1 motorway, and to the second bridge across the Southern Elbe, the Kattwyk Bridge, towards the BAB A7 motorway. Rethe bridge is also very significant in terms of offering an alternative route for harbor traffic wishing to avoid the heavily-used Köhlbrandbrücke.

The completion of the bridge benefits all road, rail and waterway users:

In the event the Köhlbrandbrücke has to be closed, the Kattwyk Bridge becomes the most important alternative for all East-West traffic in the port area. Being located halfway between these two important bridges over the Southern Elbe, the Rethe bridge offers an alternative route for road traffic users. The Rethe bridge is also of tremendous benefit to local port operations.

The railway line leading over the Rethe bascule bridge is currently predominantly used by and of benefit to the oil companies based on the northern bank of the river Rethe. The bridge also allows the Hamburg dock railway to seamlessly manage its transfer operations between the port railway stations Hamburg South and Hohe Schaar.

Data referring the project

start of construction: September 2010

open to traffic: mid 2016

opening: 15th December 2017

Technical data

span per bridge: 104.0 m         

width of the navigation channel: 64.0 m

road bridge: 14.0 m

railway bridge: 10.2 m

Total completion

end of 2018

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