AssignmentsBusiness development

A new bridge over the Rhine-Herne Canal

April 21, 2021 – 1:24 pm

DB Engineering & Consulting has taken on the construction supervision for the bridge insertion over the Rhine-Herne Canal as part of the major project “Emmerich-Oberhausen Expansion Line”.

Bridge insertion over the Rhine-Herne Canal
Bridge insertion over the Rhine-Herne Canal

A new bridge 64 m long and 8 m wide was installed over the Rhine-Herne Canalin Germany’s Ruhr region at the start of April. The bridge carries the Emmerich-Oberhausen upgraded section of the Betuwe rail line. Engineers spent eight months constructing the blue lattice superstructure, made of steel, on the canal’s south bank, and they maneuvered it into place at the end of March. Rail operations experienced only minimal disruptions thanks to the preliminary assembly work performed outside of the site’s critical zone.

Project overview

Upgrading the Emmerich-Oberhausen line section is a major undertaking, and DB Engineering & Consulting was in charge of construction supervision for moving the bridge into its final position over the canal.

Time-lapse video of insertion of Emmerich-Oberhausen bridge

Weighing some 260 metric tons, the bridge was supported by a pontoon substructure during the maneuvering process, which entailed extending the bridge little by little from the south bank over the canal. Spanning the canal’s full width of 48 m took a day to complete.

Installing the bridge wasn’t the only operation that required precision coordination – organizing the work was another one. Despite in-depth preparations, it was still necessary to coordinate a host of details right up until the big day. Workers were still welding and applying anti-corrosion protection just before they started the job of moving the bridge into position.

Upgrading in several stages

Covering a distance of 45 km as it crosses the Ruhr region, the Rhine-Herne Canal connects the Rhine with the Dortmund-Ems Canal, linking the port of Duisburg with Oberhausen and Gelsenkirchen en route. Forming an important part of the rail freight corridor between Rotterdam and Genoa, the 73 km railroad line section between Emmerich and Oberhausen crosses the canal in Oberhausen. There were already four bridges at this location, but the line upgrade projectrequired one more. Now that it has taken its place beside the other bridges, the new structure will carry another track across the canal. Engineers used the 14-day line closure to install new switches and catenary supports in this, construction section 1 of the project. The closure also gave teams at other track sections the chance to perform work such as constructing catenary supports and probing for buried explosives.

Bridge insertion over the Rhine-Herne Canal - Successful insertion of the blue painted steel truss superstructure
Successful insertion of the blue painted steel truss superstructure

The important freight connection between Emmerich and Oberhausen is getting an additional track so it can handle the rise in cargo and passenger volumes in recent years and to optimize operations. Deutsche Bahn has subdivided the three-track upgrade process into five different construction sections. In addition to laying more track, the project has the following objectives:

  • Modernizing control-command and signaling technology
  • Constructing or modifying 47 bridges for improved traffic flow
  • Replacing 55 railroad crossings with another 38 bridges
  • Remodeling 12 stations along the route
  • Upgrading the Oberhausen hub and changing the electrification system at the Dutch border 

DB Engineering & Consulting is involved in several sections of this major project, providing support in the fields of design, construction supervision and environment and geo-services.


Sarah Geißler

Head of
Marketing & Communications
DB Engineering & Consulting
EUREF-Campus 14
10829 Berlin

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