A1 Leverkusen opened to traffic

A milestone has been reached: the first structure is complete!

The long-awaited relief for commuters and lorries in the Cologne region has finally become a reality. Lorries can once again travel on the A1 over the Rhine River, which had not been possible since September 2016.

Yesterday, 4 February 2024, at 1.40pm, the ribbon was cut and the first structure of the Leverkusen Bridge over the Rhine River was opened to traffic at around 3.30pm.

The Minister-President of North Rhine–Westphalia, Henry Wüst, the Parliamentary State Secretary from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, Oliver Luksic, representing Federal Minister Dr Volker Wissing, and Dr Michael Güntner, chairman of the board of Autobahn GmbH des Bundes, as well as our GRASSL colleagues, took part in the opening ceremony.

The speakers mentioned the great challenges in the widening and renovation of the federal motorways. The replacement of the Leverkusen Bridge over the Rhine River (A1) was mentioned to be one of the most critical flagship projects, alongside the replacement of the Neuenkamp Bridge (A40) in Duisburg and the replacement of the Rahmede Viaduct at Lüdenscheid (A45). The GRASSL engineers are contributing to all three projects with great passion and thus play their part in the improvement of our infrastructure.

In October 2013, GRASSL was contracted as the general planner to execute the widening of the 4.5 km section of the A1. Everything needed to be coordinated: the planning team had to deal with interdisciplinary requirements – traffic infrastructure, feasibility studies, subsoil, emission protection, hydraulics, aerodynamics etc. – at record speed.  The same applied to the design of the new Rhine River crossing. After only two years of planning, the planning permission application for the entire construction phase was submitted. Despite several lawsuits in the Federal Administrative Court, construction of the entire project, including the bridge over the Rhine River, was officially permitted to start four years later, in December 2017.

The new bridges over the Rhine River will be the first to boast a girder grillage with pylons as a frame structure, which uses 30% less steel compared to traditional systems – a significant economic and resource-saving advantage.

With the first structure now opened to traffic, it’s time to say goodbye to the old bridge, which will now be dismantled. We are pleased to be carrying out the execution design for the demolition of the stayed-cable bridge on behalf of Hochtief and SEH. We are also currently carrying out the execution design for the dismantling of the Neuenkamp Bridge on the A40 on behalf of Hochtief.

Together with the construction firms we are doing pioneering work! It is the first time in Germany and worldwide that a stayed-cable bridge will be dismantled in a controlled fashion. An additional challenge is posed by the fact that the dismantling of both bridges will be carried out above the Rhine River and only minimal interruption of traffic on this waterway is permitted.

An article about the general planning of the widening of the A1, including the replacement of the Leverkusen Bridge, was published in Stahlbau 09/23 and can be downloaded here.

We wish everyone a safe journey on the first new structure of the Leverkusen Rhine crossing!

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