18.12.2017

HPA opens Rethebrücke – Europe’s largest rail bascule bridge goes into operation in the Port of Hamburg

Hamburg, 15 December 2017 – Today, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) has officially opened the new Rethe rail bascule bridge for traffic with a symbolic first train ride. Europe’s largest rail bascule bridge connects the port train station Hohe Schaar with the port operations in Neuhof as well as the container terminal Tollerort. The construction work of the bridge is now officially completed. As one of the most significant infrastructure projects in the Port of Hamburg, the new construction is replacing the Rethe lift bridge from 1934.

The new bridge connection benefits all users in the port. The systematic separation of rail and road traffic eliminates long waiting periods for cars and trucks. Up until now, the street had to be closed up to 40 times a day to allow trains to cross the bridge. The bascule bridge, which was already partially opened for cars in July 2016, fulfils an important function as the main road connection to and from the South towards the Autobahn 1 and as the second crossing of the Southern Elbe towards the Autobahn 7 for approximately 7,000 vehicles daily.

More room for large vessels

In addition to landside traffic, the dismantling of the old lift bridge will also significantly relieve shipping traffic: the fairway in the area of the bridge is now 64 metres in width instead of 44 metres as before. At the same time, the fact that the bridge was constructed as a bascule bridge means no more height restrictions for vessels.

“This bascule bridge is a masterpiece of engineering,” says Frank Horch, Senator of Economy, Transport and Innovation. “The demanding construction underlines the Senate’s intention to continuously develop the Port of Hamburg and make it viable for the future. The new bridge is a significant release and improvement for port traffic operations.”

“I am pleased that we have reached another milestone with regard to the modernisation and renewal of our infrastructure today,” says Jens Meier, CEO of the HPA. “The new bascule bridge benefits all users. As a result of the separation of road and rail, the two will no longer interfere with each other, which will result in fewer traffic jams in the port.”