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The Köhlbrand Bridge turns 40

One of Hamburg’s most well-known landmarks has reason to celebrate: For four decades the Köhlbrand Bridge [Köhlbrandbrücke] has been the most important east-west link within the Port of Hamburg. More than 36,000 vehicles, roughly 12,000 of them trucks, use the bridge daily.

Approved in 1968 based on a draft by Paul Boué, a civil engineer, and Egon Jux, an architect, it took four years – from 1970 to 1974 – to build the cable-stayed bridge. On 20 September 1974 it was officially opened by the then Federal President, Walter Scheel.

K Hlbrandbr Cke in The Köhlbrand Bridge turns 40

Köhlbrand Bridge

The Köhlbrand Bridge is closed to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders except for the Cyclassics, a cycling race in Hamburg, and the Köhlbrand Bridge run. The latter has been taking place on the Day of German Unity since 2011.

The maintenance of the Köhlbrand Bridge is the responsibility of the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). “The Köhlbrand Bridge is arguably one of the most recognisable features of Hamburg’s skyline. Due to its dimensions and length of over three and a half kilometres, maintaining the bridge costs as much as maintaining 70 road bridges with a “normal” span,” says Christine Muruszach, Head of Road Network at the HPA.

“Though we have a continuous refurbishment programme in place to ensure that the bridge remains stable and safe for traffic, minor maintenance works are required on an ongoing basis, as is the case with any bridge. Major refurbishment measures are carried out under an ongoing fundamental refurbishment programme. We expect the refurbishment works that have an impact on traffic to be completed in 2016.”

Like any bridge, the Köhlbrand Bridge has a certain “lifespan”. However Hamburg’s citizens need not worry. According to the latest studies it will be economically feasible to operate the landmark for another 20 years.

Photo © Wikimedia Commons / Amphibol / CC BY-SA 2.5

Source: Hamburg Port Authority