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Complex and spectacular Rijswijk operation completed successfully

The new bridge sections for the railway bridge across the Kerstanjewetering waterway at the border between Delft and the town of Rijswijk are large and heavy. The bridge sections were transported and lifted into place over the weekend of 18 and 19 April. The ‘t Haantje level crossing was closed for 60 hours. The first step towards a wider and higher railway bridge suitable for four tracks has been completed.

The work was special, because it involved heavy transport, required large cranes to lift the bridge sections into place and a lot was happening in a short period of time in a very tight space. The bridge sections each weigh 87 tonnes and are 18 metres long and 5 metres wide. 

A single weekend in which to do all of this work entails many risks. Thorough work planning is of the essence. Our colleague Stef van Gemeren, Planning Officer Strukton Civiel Projecten, started making preparations back in September last year. 


“For us the main risk was whether we would be able to responsibly lift a bridge section of that weight and size into place alongside a track that was still in service. How do you prevent the bridge section from touching the live overhead lines?”



The large crane was positioned on Friday evening, because during that night, the land abutment on the side of the DSM company premises was first lifted into place. The land abutment is an essential component because it supports the bridge.

On Saturday morning at 8:20, the first steel bridge section (4.25 metres wide and 17 metres long) arrived in Rijswijk with an exceptional transport escort. This was just in time, because lifting operations started at 9:30.

The first bridge section was in its proper place at 10:30. The rest of the day was devoted to adjusting and fine-tuning the bridge’s position. Next, the lifting crane was disassembled and erected on the other side of the railway to carry out the same work again on Sunday. As a result the second bridge section was also put in place.

This work was a practice run for train-free periods 5 & 6, which are to take place in 2021. These train-free periods (TFPs) are even more complicated in terms of planning and the activities involved. The next bridge sections will be lifted into place during these TFPs. The lessons learned from this work weekend will be incorporated into the work to be carried out in 2021.

The railway bridge is part of the High-Frequency Rail Transport Programme (PHS). The objective of this programme is to refurbish the Dutch railway network to accommodate more trains.


Corona Measures

The ‘Safely Continue Working Together’ protocol established by the ministry was followed this weekend. In addition, the measures needed to respect the 1.5 metre distance were implemented.
For example, this meant coming to work on your own, taking breaks in turns, and as much as possible respecting the 1.5 metre distance while working. We were generally able to do this, because much of the work we did was assembly work.