German Unity Transport Project 8

 Nuremberg – Erfurt – Halle/Leipzig – Berlin

The construction method of the Saale-Elster Viaduct

The construction project requires unusual technologies and processes. Two tasks must be combined: building the structure, which is a demanding engineering challenge, and meeting extensive environmental requirements at every stage of construction. These tasks are successfully completed thanks to a complex approach taking into account both engineering and environmental considerations. Besides the usual technical construction supervision measures, Deutsche Bahn also put in place supervision based on environmental factors. In addition, an independent hydrological monitoring system was installed, which is monitored and controlled by an official public working group.

Concreting of a support from a launch girder (Photo: DB AG)

Selected construction methods

Launch girder construction method: in which the foundations, supports and superstructure are built using an overhanging platform from sections of the bridge that have already been completed.


(Graphic: DB AG)

The overhanging platform has a moveable steel framework that extends across three bridge spans. It is 132 metres long. The foundations of the bridge supports at intervals of 44 metres are created and concreted from this platform. A cable-operated excavator removes the material from the excavation pit. In this method there are no further interventions in the landscape. The work is carried out in two sections of 1.2 kilometres each.

Launch girder construction method:  in which the bridge is concreted section by section. A launch girder is moved across the supports from one bridge span to the next. The procedure is repeated until the bridge reaches the abutment on the other side. The foundations and supports are built in advance using conventional shuttering.

Construction method using conventional scaffolding: on the wider part of the bridge and where it crosses the B 91 road (from Halle to Schkopau) and the Saale. The bridge is built using conventional scaffolding that is set up between the supports. The foundations for the supports are created in watertight sheet-pile boxes. This protects the drinking water installations at the Beesen waterworks, for example. Where construction roads and areas for construction site facilities are required on wet ground, construction road bridges are used to protect the soil and amphibians.

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