At a length of 170m, a width of 21m and weighing in at 2300 tons, Hamburg’s new bridge across Baakenhafen harbour is the biggest in HafenCity and will help to boost development to the east of the district, which is set to become a new place to live and play over the next few years.
The bridge was assembled in three parts over several days; a spectacular exercise in itself. The three parts were prefabricated in Belgium, then shipped across the North Sea and the River Elbe to the port of Hamburg. Three specifically equipped cranes which can lift up to 1200 tons and are the height of container bridges were brought to Hamburg especially for the bridge-mounting, as the two outer sections of the bridge weigh approximately 900 tons, and the middle part around 500.
Working alongside HafenCity GmbH and the London architects Wilkinson Eyre, Buro Happold has delivered an elegant and innovative construction which will open as a dual carriageway, expanding to three in the future. There are also specific cycle lanes on both sides of the bridge so that cyclists can use the facility easily and in safety. There are footpaths situated on the outer edges of the main carriageway on the main beams, providing a fabulous view over the Elbe and HafenCity.
Buro Happold broke new ground technically to deliver this bridge; the central section is removable allowing large ships to reach the Baakenhafen peninsula in the most direct route. This easy and ingenious solution harnesses the power of the tide; at low tide, a hub pontoon is placed under the bridge which then floats up with tide. When the clearance height of 2.5m is achieved, tugboats carry the pontoon and central section out of the way, allowing ships to pass through the middle of the bridge.
Buro Happold has also delivered pioneering sustainability work on the bridge which is one of five pilot constructions which are looking to achieve a newly established seal of quality for sustainable technical engineering structures. Baakenhafen Bridge has already been given the evaluation grade of very good.