Mittellandkanal, canal bridge over the Elbe river

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Reunification, channelled

connecting people

The Magdeburg Water Bridge over the Elbe River, part of the German Unification Transport Projects programme, closes a gap that was meant to be closed in the 1930s. The war, however, prevented the implementation of this historic engineering feat. Since its completion in 2003, ships can cross Germany from the east and west without having to drop down to the Elbe River and then rise again to the Mittelland Canal.

paving the way

The longest European canal bridge was completed in only three years. About 24,000 tons of steel, three times the amount used in the Eiffel Tower, were required for its construction. The onshore part of the bridge allows water of the Elbe River to pass during a flood. The special dimensions of the bridge required special constructions for supports and joints. Trusses and pylons resembling ship cross sections impart an unexpected lightness to the structure.

creating construction culture

Rapid and safe passage for ships. An attraction for residents and tourists alike. Recreational benefits due to pedestrian and cycle paths on both sides of the canal. Highly photogenic when illuminated at dusk. Many awards received. Reunifying.

Year of completion


Type of intervention

New construction

Contracting authority

Wasserstraßen-Neubauamt Magdeburg



Type of structure

Canal bridge

Construction material of superstructure

Concrete, prestressed concrete, steel

Total length

984,10 m

Type of structural system

Trough bridge

Span lengths

16 x 42,85 m + 57,10 m + 106,20 m + 57,10 m

Construction height

8,15 m

Construction width

42,00 m


Prof. Bernhard Winking Architekten BDA, Hamburg

Services Grassl

Preliminary design, detailed design, building inspection, feasibility studies