How to build bridges

Updated: 01.02.2022 07:11

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  • Author Anika Hinz

The closure of the bridge on the A45 near Ludenscheid is keeping commuters on their toes these days. Now comes the next traffic hammer.

NRW – Since December 2021 the viaduct on the A45 near Ludenscheid is now fully closed. Then, in January of this year, the drumbeat: investigations revealed that the bridge may never again be used by cars*. It must be demolished. For commuters on the "Sauerlandlinie" a real shock. But it gets even thicker, reports RUHR24*.

Freeway A45
Route Dortmund to Bavaria (Aschaffenburg)
Alternative name Sauerland line

Bridges on the A45 must be completely replaced: Shock for commuters on the Sauerland Line

Like the WDR reported at the weekend, not only the bridge near Ludenscheid has to be demolished and rebuilt due to massive construction defects. A study has shown that every 60 (!) viaducts on the A45, which is popularly known as the Sauerland line, are so dilapidated that they need to be replaced.

The reason for the deterioration of the bridges is today’s traffic volume on the route: The bridges were built 50 to 60 years ago – when there were nowhere near as many vehicles on the road as there are today (moreabout accidents and traffic* at RUHR24).

Bridges on the A45 were not built for today’s traffic

The bridges do not withstand today’s traffic on the A45 for a long time. Due to the constant stress of moving cars, they become dilapidated more quickly. A problem that can only be solved by bringing the bridges up to today’s traffic standards.

At least: The 60 bridges are not all to be replaced immediately. And: their replacement should be done so that the A45 does not have to be closed. This was confirmed by Elfriede Sauerwein-Braksiek, head of the Westphalia branch of Autobahn GmbH, to the WDR.

Valley bridges on the A45 should not be closed despite new construction – advantage for commuters

"We are, of course, trying to build the bridges so that traffic can continue to flow," Sauerwein-Braksiek said. The bridges would be built next to the existing highway. "And then later we push in the finished superstructure."

It is still unclear when the 60 bridges on the A45 will be replaced. Long approval processes make it harder to implement plans quickly. A problem that also affects the new construction of the Rahmedetal Bridge near Ludenscheid.

Bridges on the A45 should be renewed as soon as possible

Currently you can only estimate how long the still passable bridges on the Sauerland line in NRW* will last. Their life span differs significantly: "There are some with a remaining life span until 2026, others until 2038. However, it is not possible to make a blanket statement", Sauerwein-Braksiek told the online portal

Currently, 15 viaducts along the Sauerland Line are under construction or will start construction in 2022. "This figure shows that we are working consistently to make the A45 a high-performance link again," Elfriede Sauerwein-Braksiek is quoted as saying in a recent announcement from Autobahn Westfalen.

It is also clear that it is not possible to work everywhere on the line at the same time. "We look closely at where bridges need to be renewed as soon as possible. Elsewhere, we save time by strengthening bridges to extend their lifespan."

A45 bridge near Ludenscheid closed since December 2021: Detour and traffic jam in the region

The first bridge to be rehabilitated on the A45 is the Rahmede viaduct near Ludenscheid. Since the 2. December 2021, the bridge is fully closed and can not be driven on since then. Detours lead around and through Ludenscheid and cause traffic problems and congestion there*.

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