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Mühlendamm Bridge, Berlin

How do we prepare our bridges for mobility transformation?

Linking the banks of the river Spree, Berlin's Mühlendamm Bridge is part of a roadway that plays a key role in the city’s traffic and urban space. The bridge connects Bundesstraße 1 from Molkenmarkt to Fischerinsel in the nearby area of the Mühlendamm lock. Dominating the public space, the bridge and its surroundings are of great importance to the oldest part of Berlin's inner city.

Originally constructed in 1968, the prestressed concrete bridge uses Hennigsdorf prestressing steel. Inspections in 2019 had resulted in immediate measures being taken, including a restriction of heavy-duty traffic to ensure the continued safe use of the bridge. As renovation was not possible due to the stress-crack-prone prestressing steel, the Berlin Senate decided to replace the structure. In the following design competition our joint entry with Cobe architects from Copenhagen achieved first place.

The new Mühlendamm Bridge will implement Berlin's mobility transformation in two stages, with the second stage creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

As an important part of Berlin's historic center, the Mühlendamm Bridge will offer space for various city-compatible types of mobility in the future, but also a new level of amenity value.

Prepared for the transition towards green mobility

Currently, the Mühlendamm Bridge has six lanes for motorised individual traffic. Our new design for the bridge envisages a redivision of the traffic area to be implemented in several project phases.

In addition to cars there will also be space for trams on the line from Alexanderplatz to Potsdamer Platz and for bicycles on the upper level. Sidewalks will be arranged on the two outer sides of the bridge. The pedestrian level will be staggered in relation to the upper plateau. In this way, different types of mobility will use different levels, ensuring a greater sense of safety.

Increased amenity value

With its concave shape, which tapers towards the center, the bridge will integrate into the urban space and at the same time enhance it. The sides of the riverbank will be connected in an optimal way. On the southwestern side, steps will lead to the lakeside park on Fischerinsel. Diagonally opposite, a shallow curve will lead to the waterfront promenade of the Nikolai quarter.

The main function of bridges is to connect. However, the Mühlendamm Bridge is about more than just connecting two riverbanks. This bridge is intended to offer a wide variety of uses and thus becomes a valuable and readily used part of Berlin's urban space. ” Markus Gabler Markus Gabler Leader bridge design at Arup in Germany

Continued use during construction

In addition to the construction of a new steel composite bridge, the plans also include the demolition of the existing bridge. This process is to be carried out in several construction phases and largely in parallel. The so-called "dismantling in slices" is intended to ensure continuous traffic use during the construction phase. This involves alternating between the construction of a new section and the subsequent dismantling of an existing one.