A reconstructed bridge over the Danube in Hungary, which is part of several TEN-T corridors in Europe, was opened to rail traffic last week. The Danube bridge linking the Southern railway line is a project of the National Infrastructure Development Company (NIF) in cooperation with the National Transport Centre (NKK). The investment was made with a net amount of HUF 36 billion (more than EUR 90 million). The bridge is an important railway link for passenger and freight train transport, with up to 250 trains crossing it daily.
“On average, about 100 freight trains and 140-150 passenger trains cross the 500-meter connecting railway bridge every day, and by June this year, 1.7 million domestic passengers had already crossed the Danube in this way”, mentioned Zoltán Pafféri , the president and CEO of MÁV.
The work on the reconstruction of the originally double-span bridge has been underway since 2019. The first of the three new bridge structures were handed over to traffic on April 25, 2021. At the same time, the middle bridge was demolished and then rebuilt. For this, six bridge elements had to be lifted into place on-site, using water maneuvers. Traffic could start on the second new structure on December 11, 2021, while the demolition of the old bridge structure on the southern side also began.
On 4 May 2022, the last piece of the puzzle, the so-called closing piece member, was lifted into place, making the new third structure of the Danube bridge connecting the Southern Railway Link passable. After successful test loads, three railway tracks crossed over the Danube. Until the completion of the third track, which will be built in the next phase, rail traffic will take place on this newest and central structure.
The total length of the bridge is 510 metres, and the length of the supporting structure is 493.6 metres. The bridge is also equipped with several modernization features - f.e. an online monitoring system is installed in place, and inspection vehicles are stationed at each embankment opening to inspect the bridge under the track structure. The three bridge structures also facilitate extensive renovation work, while noise and vibration from rail traffic in the environment are reduced thanks to advanced rail reinforcement, composite deck slabs, and noise-absorbing walls.
“The Southern Link railway bridge over the Danube carries around 90 percent of rail traffic between the eastern and western parts of Hungary, including transit traffic. Thanks to its renovation and capacity expansion, the bridge will be able to reliably serve passenger and freight rail traffic for decades to come,” said Dávid Vitézy, Minister of State for Transport at the Ministry of Technology and Industry.