In the flood of mid-July, the Swist bridge in Heimerzheim was destroyed. In only three months of construction time, a new bridge was built to lead the L182 across the Swist again. This takes away one worry in particular for the people of Heimerzheim.
The residents of Heimerzheim can breathe a sigh of relief: the new Swist bridge on the L182 is open to vehicle traffic. This will significantly relieve the village of the alternative traffic that had rolled through the inner-city streets due to the destruction of the "old" bridge and the simultaneous closure of the A61 as a result of the flood damage. Among other things, numerous lorries got stuck in the village during this time. The North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Transport, Ina Brandes, spoke of a "second Christmas present" after the first Christmas present, the opening of the section of the A61.
Completion in record time
The new bridge structure was completed in the record time of three months since construction began on 20 September. "It is a sensational achievement. You can be very proud of it," she said, especially in the direction of Straßen.NRW and the employees of the commissioned Heitkamp Group. The state government is doing everything in its power to quickly tackle the planning, approval and construction of bridges so that help arrives quickly and the traffic routes function.
Swisttal Mayor Petra Kalkbrenner and Rhine-Sieg District Administrator Sebastian Schuster echoed the minister's special thanks. The opening of the busy L182 over the Swist on the outskirts of Heimerzheim will ease the traffic situation in the town. Schuster considered the quick completion of the bridge a "great and important sign for the municipalities that we are all working to restore the infrastructure". The managing partner of the Heitkamp group of companies from Herne, graduate engineer Jörg Kranz, announced that his company would continue to build with the innovative system that had made it possible to realise this structure so quickly in the first place.
The new bridge was built in a patented process as a Heitkamp fast construction bridge in express construction method with prefabricated components in only three months. The costs amount to 4.8 million euros. "The traffic clearance means that the long-range diversions are no longer necessary with immediate effect, and the local area of Heimerzheim will now be noticeably relieved and at peace during the Christmas season," says Straßen.NRW Director Petra Beckefeld. The previous bridge was built in the 1970s. It collapsed in the course of the floods on July 14/15 because an abutment had been washed out by the water masses. Fortunately, no one was injured, as the L182 had already been fully closed days earlier following damage to the carriageway caused by washouts in the roadbed.
The new bridge has a usable width of 15.46 metres and a total length between the earth supports of 24.30 metres, making it 4.22 metres longer than the previous bridge. The width of the Swist river under the bridge could thus be increased from 20 metres to 24 metres. Many people in Heimerzheim had also wished for this.
At the beginning of the new year, noise barriers will be built along the L182 in the area of the Swistbach bridge. In the spring, the road crossings between the bridge structure and the state road will have to be renewed. According to Straßen.NRW, this will be done without full road closures, but only with slight constrictions during ongoing traffic.
Original text: Gerda Saxler-Schmidt
Translation: Mareike Graepel