XCarb® recycled and renewably produced steel sections in Europe’s longest bicycle bridge

A new pedestrian and bicycle bridge in Esch, Luxembourg connects Esch-sur-Alzette and Esch-Belval, snaking through its natural and built environment. The bridge’s sustainable design required the use of carbon reduced construction materials: ArcelorMittal supplied XCarb® recycled and renewably produced sections in Arcorox® weathering steel to ensure durability, while the Steligence® fabrication centre provided tailor-made curved T-sections to bring this unique design to life.

Detailed information

Luxembourg is developing its national cycling network and one of the recently completed sections is this one between Esch-sur-Alzette and Belval. Called the ‘Vëlodukt’, this bicycle and pedestrian bridge runs at more than 7.5 m in height along 1.2 kms, passing by ArcelorMittal’s Belval mill and the central train station.

Inaugurated in December 2022, the Vëlodukt is one of a kind in Europe. Its sustainable design reduces the impact on the existing natural environment, preserving the trees along its course by winding its way through them. An important design requirement for the public authorities was the use of sustainable construction materials to reduce the construction’s embedded carbon footprint.

XCarb® & Arcorox®: a powerful combination to reduce embodied carbon

Steel can be recycled indefinitely, a characteristic that ArcelorMittal uses to its advantage to lower the carbon footprint of its products. ArcelorMittal’s range of XCarb® recycled and renewably produced steel sections has embodied carbon as low as around 300 kg of CO2e per tonne of finished steel when it is produced from 100% scrap and with electricity from renewable sources.

All of the XCarb® recycled and renewably produced steel sections used in the construction of this elevated bicycle path were produced in Arcorox® weathering steel at ArcelorMittal’s plants in Belval and Differdange. This innovative weathering steel contributes to the bridge’s durability, making a protective coating unnecessary as the steel protects itself. The result is low maintenance during the bridge’s use phase with guaranteed structural performance and safety. Thanks to XCarb® recycled and renewably produced sections in Arcorox® steel, all cost, design, and strength requirements could be met – at the same time achieving the stringent sustainability and safety targets.

T-spliced, curved, and unique: a tailormade solution with ArcelorMittal expertise

Three lots of bridge elements were provided by ArcelorMittal, the majority of which consisted of standard sections in small sizes (IPE200 and IPE600) that make up the bridge deck.

Below the bridge deck, the longitudinal elements are made from 340 tonnes of ArcelorMittal’s T-spliced HL1100 beams.

In addition to supplying the T-sections for the straight segments, ArcelorMittal also supplied 200 tonnes of curved T-sections. ArcelorMittal’s experts at the Steligence® fabrication centre were faced with the technical challenge of adapting the T-sections to the curved parts of the bridge. The beams required two bends, including a counter deflection. The fabrication of these uniquely shaped T-sections was customised for this project – and is the most visible part of ArcelorMittal’s expertise. Using a hydraulic press in the Steligence® fabrication centre, all of the sections were bent on the weak axis in either S-shape or in standard circular/parabolic shapes. Additionally, some of the sections were also cambered on the strong axis.

XCarb®: Scrap and renewable energy - the levers of low CO2 steel

The XCarb™ initiative, launched by ArcelorMittal in March 2021, brings together all of ArcelorMittal’s reduced-, low-, and zero-carbon products and steelmaking activities, representing the clear path taken by the company towards the decarbonisation of the steel production process and the ambitious goal of zero emissions by 2050.

To produce XCarb® recycled and renewably produced steel, ArcelorMittal uses up to 100% scrap and renewable electricity coming from renewable sources such as solar and wind power. ArcelorMittal estimates that XCarb® recycled and renewably produced steel has a carbon footprint as low as 0.3 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of steel product when the metallics are 100% scrap, which is certified by a published Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

Project information

  • Esch-sur-Alzette
  • Luxembourg
  • 2022
  • Architect:
    Jim Clemes Associates
  • Engineering office:
    TR Engineering
  • Contractors:
    Félix Giorgetti
  • Investor:
    Administration des ponts et chaussées Luxembourg
  • Text:
    ArcelorMittal Europe Communications
  • Images:
    © Ministère de la Mobilité et des Travaux publics
    © ArcelorMittal
    © Administration des ponts et chaussées Luxembourg

Technical details