This article discusses the failure of a highly sophisticated West German launch bridge while it was under construction; this 360 m long motorway bridge collapsed suddenly on 30 August 1988 while being jacked out over the River Main near Aschaffenburg. The bridge's back was broken in three places, after the slender box deck snapped suddenly. The failure is being seen as a major disaster, as it now throws doubt on the launch bridge technique, which was pioneered in West Germany. The investigation of the collapse seems likely to concentrate on the complex system of temporarry prestressing, which augmented the axial stressing produced by the cable stayed structure above the deck; it is believed that the prestressing may have been insufficient. Engineers on the site immediately after the failure were unable to explain why the bridge collapsed, especially as critical stages earlier in the bridge's construction had been handled successfully. The evidence of the collapse points to possible errors in the stressing and destressing sequence, as the detailed design of the bridge required substantial prestressing and cable stays; the longest span over the river was 78 m, far too long for the slender deck to be safely launched. Quotations are included from comments on the disaster made by frank rowley, designer of a launch bridge in Dornoch, Scotland. (Author/TRRL)

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Thomas Telford Limited

    London,   United Kingdom 
  • Authors:
    • Middelboe, S
  • Publication Date: 1988-9-8

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 7-9
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00493241
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: May 31 1990 12:00AM