The longest prestressed concrete beams ever manufactured were successfully installed in the Netherlands. These huge box beams—223 feet long and 480,000 pounds—form the main span of the new bridge in Zuidhorn.
Long beams are finding increased use in bridges and viaducts. They obviate the need for intermediate supports, resulting in shorter construction periods and allow road traffic and shipping more room to flow smoothly.
The construction of the bridge involved rerouting the N355, which separates Noordhorn and Zuidhorn. Congestion caused by the existing lifting bridge over the Van Starkenborgh Canal will be a thing of the past, and the canal will be passable for larger container ships.
The new fixed bridge forms a high and long link over the Van Starkenborgh Canal and is part of the new provincial road. The structure with three spans and four traffic lanes will allow passage of shipping cargo 30 feet high and 180 feet wide. To construct the large main span, manufacturer Haitsma Beton produced the longest and heaviest prefabricated concrete beams that the company has ever supplied. “We went to the limit, both in terms of engineering and manufacturing,” account manager Karel Bus says.