Grevenmacher Bridge: high strength steels for the landmark bridge between Germany and Luxembourg

With a total length of 213 m and a free span of 113.8 m between the supporting piles, the new steel bridge replaces its predecessor made of concrete which was built in 1955. ArcelorMittal Europe - Flat Products supplied custom-made plates for the construction of key bridge arch components in steel qualities ranging from S355J2+N up to S460N.

Detailed information

Steel bow string bridge: limited construction time & elegant design

The steel bridge across the Moselle connecting Grevenmacher in Luxembourg with the German town of Wellen was inaugurated in October 2013 after a construction period of 13 months. Due to safety issues caused by the advanced deterioration of the old bridge's prestressing cables and the high intensity of daily traffic on the bridge, Luxembourg authorities decided to rebuild the old concrete bridge to ensure safe traffic flow across the border.

The project included the demolition of the old bridge, the transformation of the reinforced concrete piles in the river, and the transport and construction of the new bridge. The main constraints of the works were the reduced on-site construction time of four and a half months to minimise the traffic disruption and the long central span without additional supports in the water. In total, it took 13 months to deliver the full construction works.

The light and elegant design of the new steel arch and orthotropic deck bridge with four spans expresses the strong and vibrant union of the two neighbouring countries. The integration of the secondary spans with the main span is characterised by a continuous arch passing through the quadripods under the deck and terminating on the supporting piles, from where they rise again symmetrically on each side towards the riverbanks.

With a total weight of around 2000 tonnes, the bridge spans freely on almost 114 m. The width of the deck varies between 12.50 to 16.10 m.

Custom-made high-strength heavy plates by ArcelorMittal

ArcelorMittal Europe - Flat Products supplied custom-made plates for the construction of key bridge arch components in steel grades ranging from S355J2+N up to S460N. The plates were accompanied with Z qualities and US tests and produced at the company's mill in Gijón, Spain. The S460N high strength steels offer greater strength and allow for minimisation of the thickness of the prefabricated components.

Starting in January 2013, the components of the bridge were manufactured by Atelier Poncin in Ocquier, Belgium and Baudin Chateauneuf in Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, France and transported by road to Luxembourg's river port at Mertert, where they were assembled two months later. The old bridge was demolished during the annual lock closure from 4 to 11 June, and in August the new steel arch was put into place.

Therefore, the 1600 tn central piece was fitted onto a special pontoon to bring it 4 km upstream to its final location in Grevenmacher, where it was rotated 90º and positioned on top of the supporting piles on either side of the river. During this 3-hour operation, the river traffic was closed, and the pontoon was accompanied by various tugboats and the river control.

The new bridge was then linked to the roads and the finishing works took until October 2013, when it was oficially opened.

The Grevenmacher Bridge is an important link between both countries, enabling thousands of workers to go to Luxembourg every day. According to a study conducted prior to the construction of the new Grevenmacher Bridge, 17 000 vehicles passed the old reinforced concrete bridge on a daily basis. The new construction eases this extensive traffic and its modern and aesthetic design creates harmony with its green surroundings.

Project information

  • Grevenmacher/Wellen
  • Luxembourg/Germany
  • Sept. 2012 - Oct. 2013
  • Engineering offices:
    Structural engineering:
    INCA Ingénieurs Conseils Associés S.à.r.l.
    Schroeder & Associés
    Special techniques:
    Geopartner Gmbh
    RUK Gruppe Luxembourg s.a.
  • Client:
    Administration des ponts et chaussées, Division des Ouvrages d’Art
  • Contractor:
    CDCL - Compagnie de Construction Luxembourgeoise
  • Photos:
    ©CDCL & ArcelorMittal