The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) announced the begin of construction works for a new bridge over the Rethe canal. The new bridge will be built 2009 only few meters west to the old one. It is designed as a double-armed balance bridge with separate lanes for road and rail. The advantage of this design is that hydraulic balance bridges can be operated very economically. They are reliable in operation and generate lower maintenance costs. In addition, a balance bridge has unlimited passage height, which in view of the increasing number of ever larger ships is a further advantage against a lift-bridge. During the planning process, which was supported by an architect, particular importance has been attached to the requirement that the bridge fits into the typical structure of the port environment.
The new building will replace the old lift-bridge of 1934. A reconstruction is economically not useful, besides the planned new building will take in account the nautical requirements and increasing traffic in the port.
The neighboring port terminals, mainly handling all kind of bulk cargo, are very open-minded to the plans and will profit from the increased efficiency which can be expected for this port area. Since the old lift-bridge will remain in service until the opening of the balance bridge, the traffic will not be affected.
After completion, the new bridge will have a span of 100 m, which makes it to one of the world‘s largest mobile bridges. Construction costs are estimated at 72 million euros.