Gigantic scenery in two sections
The bridge construction at the Kastel rail triangular junction in Amöneburg became a public attraction
On the Easter weekend 2014, we were part of one of the largest railway construction and infrastructure projects in the Rhine-Main area: The bridge construction at the Kastel rail triangular junction in Amöneburg.
For several years, Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) has invested in the renewal of bridge constructions across the entire national network. Old bridges from the beginning of the last century are being successively replaced by new ones. The construction work in Amöneburg was already commenced in autumn 2011. The bridge renewal was only one part of large-scale track renewal by Deutsche Bahn.
For us, it started in the week prior to Easter. Everything was prepared for the first lift, which was to take place the night before Easter Monday. The setup of two caterpillar cranes was executed as follows: LR 1600/2 with ballast trailer, 48 m main boom, 36 m derrick boom and a total ballast of 605 t. The SL 3800 was similarly set up with a 48 m main boom and 36 m derrick boom and provided with 515 t ballast for stability. The special feature of this operation was that a large proportion of the work had to take place at night in order not to hamper the S-Bahn (suburban train) and rail traffic if possible. The train track in the area of the construction site was blocked for each of the bridge lifts and the traversing of the track system was strictly controlled. Furthermore, the 80 square-metre large visitor platform generated enormous public interest and turned the work into a performance. The setup plan for this performance proceeded as follows without a hitch: The two single track, steel framework superstructures of around 80 and 85 m length and weight of approx. 480 t were positioned using SPMT modules and lifted in onto the abutments by the two caterpillar cranes in a tandem lift.
However, this was not a quick procedure: First, in the days prior to this, the two abutments and retaining wall prefabricated parts for the new bridge with a weight of approx. 530 t had to be lifted in, attached and subsequently filled with concrete. In the night before Easter Monday, we began lifting the first, substantially more than 80 m-long steel framework bridge. This first had to be finally adapted on-site in order to connect it to the abutments. Our LR 1600/2 and SL 3800 had difficulty hooking up this heavy weight of around 480 t and manoeuvring it across the tracks into position. Here the bridge was suspended in order to allow a team from the steel construction company Sarens to shorten the construction on a platform laterally attached from the ground. We dismantled the superfluous section with our auxiliary crane and removed it from the working area. After the welding edges on the bridge section were cleanly sanded down, the bridge was lifted into its final position with a great deal of precision and sensitivity. With a solid, metallic noise, the elements engaged. The first section was complete. The next day, lifting the east bridge element could be completed without any unforeseen incidents. In order to continue rail traffic during the entire work period as smoothly as possible, Uwe Langer developed a concept together with the client which was unique for lifting sections of this weight class and considered unique in Europe up until now. The foundations were concreted in advance beside the track bed and then lifted into the trench prepared for this purpose.
The operation once again showed the importance of precise planning for the smooth running of the project procedure.