C&L, Cranes & Lifting, International, Projects, SPMTs

Mammoet installs “symbolic” 2100-tonne bridge

Mammoet successfully installs the new Oder Bridge.

Mammoet has facilitated the lift, shift, and installation of one of Europe’s most symbolic bridges, the new Oder Bridge.

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Connecting the Eastern and Western parts of Europe across the Germany-Poland border in Küstrin, the bridge – built more than 100 years ago – is viewed as a symbol of Europe coming together. Due to its integral nature for companies transporting heavy loads, the bridge, over time, had been worn down and needed to be replaced.

The bridge was preassembled on the German side of the Oder before Mammoet entered the job, where the engineering team was tasked with providing a solution for the transportation and installation. Overall, the bridge measured in at 180m long and 2100 tonnes in weight; due to its size and installation location, the use of a larger, load bearing crane was not possible. According to Mammoet’s Project Manager, Koen Brouwers, bridges such as these are traditionally floated into place using a combination of “SPMTs, launching plates, and a pontoon”; this task, however, required a unique solution, considering a pontoon could not be used due to the changing levels of the shallow water.

After first jacking the load to 2m and positioning the SPMTs underneath, the bridge was transported to the edge of the river where it was positioned over the first of five temporary supports. The bridge was then launched using a combination of specially designed launching plates and strand jacks that pulled the structure horizontally until it reached the next temporary support. This process continued until the bridge reached the opposite side of the river, where the SPMTs on the rear of the bridge were then removed and skid shoes were installed to slide the bridge into its final position. At this point, the bridge was taken over by climbing jacks that allowed the temporary supports to be removed and the bridge to be lowered down to its final resting height.

To counteract potential deformation in the bridge’s structure, Mammoet used temporary supports with hydraulic cylinders at the quay edges and in the water, as well as modified launching plates that needed to swivel 360 degrees. The entire skidding equipment had to be customized to execute the operation technically. This meant that all launching plates were retrofitted with a spherical bearing so that they could be moved in all directions. During the launch the weight on each tower and cylinder was controlled to ensure a “smooth and safe” operation, according to Mammoet.

Ultimately, across the job, Mammoet utilised 45 truckloads of specialist heavy equipment, including 96 axle lines of SPMTs, 26 launching plates, 10 climbing jacks, and two strand jacks.

The 2100 tonne, 180m long new Oder Bridge will help to increase line capacity and shorten travel times by allowing a maximum permissible speed of 120km per hour.


Mammoet successfully installs the new Oder Bridge.
The bridge connects Western and Eastern Europe. Image: Mammoet.
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