On Sunday 3 June, the metal structure of the deck of the new bowstring bridge at Herentals-Lier (national road N13) was laid over the Albert Canal. This is the first operation that is taking place as part of the replacement of seven bridges, for an overall project to gauge the canal to 9,000 tonnes.
Manufactured in Ghent, the 3 elements of the bridge deck were transported by barge and assembled using a high-capacity floating crane. Each element weighs approximately 250 tons. The main structure of the bridge is steel (weight about 1100 tons), and the pavement is supported by a 24 cm thick reinforced concrete slab.
This bridge (BR43) will be completed and put into service on a temporary site, allowing the existing bridge to be demolished and new abutments to be built. It will be moved to its final position in 2019 by means of kamags.
On the same Sunday 3 June, the existing Geel-Stelen bridge (BR37) was moved with around 20 metres to keep it in service, while allowing the construction of a new bowstring bridge over the canal.
Bureau Greisch was entrusted with the study of the superstructure, from the bid phase to the detailed engineering, including an optimisation phase with reduction of quantities and simplification of structural details.
The mission is part of a DBFM contract concluded by De Vlaamse Waterweg (the Flemish waterway administration), with the consortium via T Albert (Franki Construct, Kumpen, Aswebo, Hye and Aelterman). The 7 new bowstring bridges, based on a generic bridge concept with inclined arches meeting in the middle, allow a gauge 9.1m high and 86m wide. These bridges have a span of 123m or 128m for a useful width of 16m to 16.5m. Each of them has 2 traffic lanes and 2 sidewalks with cycle paths.