The longest canal bridge in the world


Kanalbrücke © W. Klapper

It is not only the centrepiece of the Waterway Junction, but also an exceptional masterpiece of engineering. The Mittelland Canal flows through a gigantic steel bridge spanning the river Elbe with a length of 918m, having made a name for itself as a technical masterpiece of the century. The inland waterway transport particularly benefits from this construction because vessels, barges, ships and ferries no longer have to endure the time-consuming 12km detour from the Mittelland Canal to the Elbe-Havel-canal via the Elbe, the Magdeburg-Rothensee ship lift and the Niegripp lock. Not only does the journey take three hours less time, what is more important is the water depth remains constant. As a result, inland transport profits enormously from the Waterway Junction both in terms of time and overall cost.

Ships and vessels can dock directly in front of the trough bridge where only one-way transit is provided for large vessels. Ships and vessels coming from the direction of Hohenwarthe have the right of way. The gracefully curved shape of the support pillars resembles the hull of a ship which symbolises the strong connection to its main beneficiary, the inland waterway traffic.

However, the high tech facilities of the entire Waterway Junction also stress the innovative power of inland navigation. Central control and supervision systems as well as nautical radio systems based on electronic information transmission have been put into operation in order to ensure smooth transition from the lock to the canal and canal bridge. At this point the air blower system deserves a special mention as it keeps the bridge ice-free and makes it passable all year.

Technical details:
Overall length: 918m
Usable trough width: 32m
Usable width of the Elbe: 90m
Max. span width: 106m
Steel weight: approx: 24 000 t