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Liebherr mobile cranes go big on major infrastructure project

Thomen deploys four Liebherr mobile cranes.

Four Liebherr mobile cranes have been deployed to replace two old railway overpasses in Hamburg, Germany.

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Mobilised by German heavy haulage and crane hire company, Thömen, an LTM 1650-8.1 and an LTM 1350-6.1 are currently working to help excavate the existing bridges before installing new rail bridges, needing to overcome significant difficulties pertaining to cramped working conditions. On the other hand, an LTM 1160-5.2 and a 130-tonne crane were used as auxiliaries Sales representative at Thömen, Steffen Wilken, said creative solutions were required to enable the 650-tonne Liebherr to have enough turning radius available.

Thomen deploys four Liebherr mobile cranes.
Due to the cramped area, the cranes needed to be jacked up specifically for the job. Image: Liebherr.

“Due to the tight space conditions, we had to jack up the LTM 1650-8.1 very high,” he said. “We supported it with excavator mats and base plates, so the ballast of the crane could swing over an existing bridge foundation 3.5m high.”


According to the team at Thömen, the auxiliary cable bridge erected in advance provided the biggest headache, significantly restricting the crane’s possible working area. Following the establishment of the LTM 1350-6.1, the existing rail bridges were then excavated in 60-tonne sections and unloaded onto a designated, prepared site. On steel plates, protecting the ground, the workers cut the bridge sections into manageable pieces for removal.

“Due to the tight time window, we also work at night,” said Wilken. “The cranes are in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Thomen deploys four Liebherr mobile cranes.
The four mobile cranes dominating Hamburg’s skyline. Image: Liebherr.

Currently, in the second construction phase, six divided auxiliary track bridges are now being installed, each weighing 50 tonnes. According to Thömen, the first challenge is to convert the 650-tonne crane with the luffing lattice jib under these extremely cramped conditions. The 350-tonner is serving as an auxiliary crane to assemble the 21m-long lattice jib. According to Deutsche Bahn’s plans for the project, the new auxiliary bridges will be situated above the existing abutments, which need to be dismantled. This will allow for the demolition of these abutments below the rolling railway traffic, and for the construction of substructures for the new railway bridges.

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