Renovations done on the rail bridge going over Brussel Ring by Infrabel

After 50 years Belgium railway bridge gets renovated

It has been 50 years since the railway bridge in Zaventem, Belgium has seen renovations. For this reason, infrastructure manager Infrabel has taken up the project to renovate and modernize the railway bridge. A schedule has been set to work on the next six weekends from October 2020 to the end of April 2021. Infrabel says it is a challenging project, which requires good planning and limiting any disruptions towards the trains and road traffic.

The area of the bridge is one of the busiest in Belgium, as it stretches over the Brussels Ring. The works done on the bridge need to guarantee safety for the 450 passenger trains and 160,000 vehicles that travel in the area.

“The limited decommissioning of the busy Brussels-Leuven-Liège railway line is what makes these works so complex. We carry out our works with as little disruption to train and road traffic as possible. Tracks must always remain in service.” testifies Alex Lefevre, senior civil engineering officer. The approach of working in phases will have less impact on traffic. Due to the inspection platforms that were installed in earlier phases, road traffic on the Brussel Ring can work without limitations.

With the cooperation of rail operator NMBS, Infrabel expects there will be minimal train disruptions for passengers. There will be three or four tracks that will continue to operate during renovation work on weekends.

Modernization

Three of the four bridge decks will be renovated and modernized. A jacking method will be used to create the structure outside the railway or the support devices will be replaced. These points support the bridge decks. To cause as little disruption to traffic as possible the works will be carried out at night.

As water has seeped down the joints, it has caused damage to the concrete over the years. To fix the damage concrete repairs will be carried out. The joints of the bridge decks will be replaced by first removing the ballast and sleepers. Once they have been removed the old joints can be replaced with new watertight joints.

The opportunity to renew the counterweight will be taken to guarantee good stability. The final renewal will be the water drainage pipes, which will also be flushed. As the concrete repairs will also be done, the new pipes will ensure the water can drain smoothly. These renovations will help on the long term lifespan of the bridge.

Author: Sarah Chebaro

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