Chemnitztal Viaduct to be Rehabilitated

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Twin viaducts- the shorter of the two to be rehabilitated come April. This is the half with the arch spans. Photos taken in December 2016

The western of the twin viaducts to receive a functional and cosmetic makeover to make way for the long-distance trains. Construction to commence in May.

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CHEMNITZ- Following the Chemnitz Viaduct between the railway stations Chemnitz-Mitte and Chemnitz-South and the Rabenstein Viaduct in the western part of the city, there is a third major railroad viaduct that will be renovated beginning this summer. This one is in the industrial district in the northeastern part of the city.

The Chemnitztal Viaducts features not just one but two viaducts spanning the River Chemnitz, a bike trail and one of the key streets going to the industrial district, the Blankenauer Strasse. It is located near the heating plant with its signature colored smokestack that is 300 meters tall and is the tallest in Chemnitz. Opposite the river is the castle gardens. The older of the two was built from 1869 to 1871, features a total of 15 spans (6 deck truss spans measured at 25.5 meters and 9 arches at 11.8 meters each, respectively) and a total of 308 meters. The younger of the spans was built in 1899 by one of the most popular bridge builders in Germany at that time, Dyckerhoff and Widmann, features 12 arches, has a total length of 366.3 meters and is 20 meters taller than its twin. That bridge was used for freight service before being decommissioned in 1999.

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The twin viaducts with the trussed girder spans of the shorter viaduct that is scheduled to be rehabilitated. Photo taken from the Chemnitzal Bike Trail.

The older of the twins is the focus of rehabilitation that will start in April. According to information by the Chemnitz Free Press, based on the project presented by the German Railways (Deutsche Bahn), the project is expected to take six months and will require the closure of the Chemnitz-Leipzig line from the end of May until the middle of September. The plan is to strengthen the arch spans and remodel them to accommodate train traffic in the future. Plans are in the making to electrify the rail line between Leipzig and Chemnitz shortly afterwards with the goal of reintroducing long-distance service between Chemnitz and Rostock via Leipzig by 2023. The catch behind this rehabilitation project is that no additional track will be laid, hence it will be a one-track viaduct where all trains will be required to cross at 80 km/h. This has mainly to do with its proximate location to the railroad freight yard on the east bank of the river near Hilbersdorf, as well as the Central Train Station, which is 1.5 kilometers from the twin viaducts.  The taller of the two viaducts will remain untouched during the whole project, even though it may be the focus of a future project down the road.

Currently, only regional trains are using the viaduct as commuters travel between Leipzig and Chemnitz on a daily basis. Yet with the Bahn’s plan to have Inter-City trains travel this route, time is of the essence to have the crossing ready before the end of the year, so that electrification can begin in 2020. Commuters will have bus services between Chemnitz Central Station and Chemnitz Küchwald during the period of the entire closure of the bridge.

With three viaducts scheduled to be rehabilitated- two of them as part of projects to reintroduce Inter-City trains to Chemnitz for the first time in over two decades, the City of Chemnitz is going to have a good look at the newly restored bridges once the projects end. Residents will still get to keep their prized achitectural works while travelers will become attracted to a little bit of history as they pass through Chemnitz, one historic bridge at a time. For a city in transition to modernity, it is important to keep a little bit of its history and heritage for the guests to visit and learn about.

More on the projects will come as crews prepare to commence on the rehabilitation projects.

 

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