Eiweiler Viaduct: a bridge renovation with ArcelorMittal European sections

This 130-metre long (approximately) railway bridge in the Eiweiler district of Heusweiler, Germany was renovated between 2008 and 2012 with ArcelorMittal European sections. Built in 1907, the original bridge structure consisting of six arch-shaped openings with spans of around 19 m was almost completely destroyed in WWII with only one of its arches remaining intact. As a temporary solution, a steel structure made of riveted plate girders restored the bridge to working order.

Detailed information

The superstructure

In 1974, plans were drawn up with the intention to restore the bridge to its original form. The piers were adapted in order to allow for connection to a future arch structure, but the arches were never completed.

In the course of this renovation project, 80 cm thick prefabricated reinforced concrete arches were built and connected to modernised connection plates on the piers.

At their vertexes, the arches support the superstructure with a construction height of just 65 cm with the ends fixed to the pier caps with floating bearings. The result is a superstructure with a 2-span beam system with the fixed points on the arches’ vertexes.

Concrete cross beams were built on the supports above the piers. The superstructure was realised in a filler beam construction design consisting of six rolled steel sections almost completely embedded in concrete with only their lower flanges left uncovered. The concrete concrete beams were prefabricated, placed onto the bearings, and supported. Each bearing axis on the pier caps was equipped with one transversally fixed and one floating bearing.

Pier upgrades and restoration of the sandstone arch

The upper halves of the four piers had been upgraded in the 1980s between the pier cap and the connection points of the (non-existent) arches by means of a reinforced concrete shell with subsequent injection of the old concrete.

The existing sandstone arch was thoroughly restored according to the standards of the local historical monument conservation office. This included cleaning the stone surfaces, replacing the broken stones, and grouting where mortar was missing.

A symbol for contemporary bridge construction

With the selection of prefabricated elements with in-situ concrete for the arches and the superstructure, this renovation project is a clear example of the application of the latest construction methods: a large degree of prefabrication, high quality, and minimal disturbances to the built-up area around the construction site.

The restored bridge is reminiscent of its historic predecessor through the revival of its arches, but it clearly differentiates itself standing out as a symbol for contemporary bridge construction.

The renovation of the viaduct was completed in December 2012.

Project information

  • Heusweiler
  • Germany
  • 2012
  • Engineering office:
    Verheyen-Ingenieure GmbH & Co. KG
  • Client:
    Saarbahn Netz GmbH
  • Text:
    ArcelorMittal Europe - Long Products, Constructalia
  • Photos:
    ArcelorMittal Europe - Long Products

Technical details