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Full refurbishment of the old Schwentine bridges

The historic building stock was surveyed thoroughly in 1997 and a record made of the considerable refurbishment needed. Funds from the EU “Urban II” programme, the urban development programme and the programme for flowing water eco-permeability restoration enabled the state capital, Kiel, to upgrade the whole Schwentine estuary area as well as just the bridges.

After intensive preparation and securing the finance, work started in autumn 2007 on refurbishing the south bridge, preceded by detailed mapping of the listed building stock. No work could be done until the construction trench had been drained. The Schwentine flowed out under the north bridge in this phase, and through an emergency outlet near the ruined mill on the north bank.

North bridge arch revealed during building
North bridge arch revealed during building

Canoe crossing point with fish ladder
Canoe crossing point with fish ladder

The bridges were essentially retained in their vaulted form. Partially rotten timber piles were replaced with steel ones, a new concrete run-off was built under each bridge and the arches protected with reinforced concrete cladding. When work on the south bridge was largely complete the river could be diverted back under the south bridge and the construction ditch drained for the north bridge.

Because the building site was very cramped, road traffic had to be diverted during the building period. Pedestrians and cyclists were taken past the site, partly over a temporary wooden bridge. The surface was now paved with slabs again, following historical precedent. A fish ladder was additionally constructed near the north bridge. The dilapidated weir was completely replaced and now keeps the water level of the lower Schwentine approximately constant. A new canoe crossing point was created under the south bridge. The thoroughly reconstructed old Schwentine bridges reopened to traffic in December 2008.

Attractive design in the Schwentine estuary area
Attractive design in the Schwentine estuary area

Pictorial material: Udo Weißel
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