Rhine Crossing at Ilverich
After a construction period of nearly four years the circumferential expressway around Düsseldorf was completed in May 2002. The 5,910 m long section of the A44 expressway consisting of one bridge crossing the river Rhine, two approach bridges and two tunnels has an important function as an east-west axis and northern tangential trunk road in the Düsseldorf-Neuss metropolitan area (Lower Rhine).
For the very first time the city can now be completely bypassed on expressways. The number of vehicles crossing the bridge every day is to increase from 65,000 now to 75,000 in 2010.
Since the nearly 6 km long new section at Ilverich runs through an ecologically sensitive area, the designers for the very first time, prepared a large scale landscape conservation and execution plan together with nature conservation associations, landscape and forest authorities.
The 1,289 m long Rhine Bridge is a major component of this project,consisting of a 294 m long stay cable river crossing with two V-shaped pylons and a three-cell hollow box girder, as well as two approach bridges with a length of 560 m (right-hand side of the Rhine) and 435 m (left-hand side of the Rhine), respectively. The stay cable bridge is a steel structure and the approach bridges are made of prestressed concrete. The close proximity to the departure and landing area of the Düsseldorf International Airport posed a special challenge for the construction: The height of the bridge pylons was limited to 34 m above the upper surface of the road. Consequently, the pylons were designed as "Vs" connected on top. Extensive static, economic and architectural examinations confirmed this configuration to be the optimum solution. Granite cased river piers connected the concrete bridges with the steel bridge. In order to keep the welding and adjustment work on site as low as possible, as large as possible steel segments were prefabricated off site.
The corrosion protected steel segments were transported to the installation site by ship.
A JV consisting of Walter Bau-AG, DYWIDAG, Heilit & Woerner and Züblin was awarded the technical execution of this challenging construction project. Construction began in 1998. The prestressing steel operations on the superstructures of the approach bridges commenced in the summer of 1999. The two bridge decks were built in 16 sections. DSI Düsseldorf was assisted by specialist fitters of other German divisions as well as by a subcontractor of DSI Netherlands. DSI only had five working days available for the main installation work of a building section (longitudinal and transverse beams).
In order not to disturb the other schedules, the more than 200 post-tensioning tendons of a section were mainly installed during the night. Federal Minister for Transport Bodewig opened the bridge for traffic in June 2002.