12 Jul 2017

This week the Managing Contractor, a joint venture of Royal HaskoningDHV and Arup, handed the fully renovated Tacitus Bridge over to the national transport authority Rijkswaterstaat. The renovation of this bridge near Ewijk (The Netherlands) has been officially fully completed.

With a length of more than one kilometer, the suspension bridge in the A50 near Ewijk is a key project because of the strategic location in the Dutch road network. The renovation has significantly improved the traffic safety, the traffic flow and accessibility of the region. Additionally, the life span of the bridge has been prolonged for at least 30 years.

“There are no standard methods for projects of this size and complexity. But with all involved parties we have reached the right mode to turn this challenge into a success.”

Niels Willemsen Royal HaskoningDHV, Managing Director of the JV, and Project Manager Tacitus Bridge on behalf of Rijkswaterstaat.

Largest tensile force

The renovation of the 40 years old suspension bridge over the Waal river, was necessary due to the increased traffic weight and intensity of the A50. This led to premature fatigue of the steel deck. The four suspension cables, with the largest tensile force in the world, where successfully in succession replaced. This remarkable operation, without extra support of the deck, had not been done before. In preparation the joint venture of Royal HaskoningDHV and Arup executed a detailed step-by-step computer simulation, which enabled a safe replacement of the cables. In addition, all bearings were replaced by the strongest compression-tension bearings in the world, the bridge was raised 1,2 m and a new coating applied on the inside and outside. In the last phase the High Strength Concrete overlay was applied to the deck, which solved the steel decks’ fatigue.

“The large dimensions and the associated forces in the cables make this an extraordinary project compared to Dutch standards. The replacement of the suspension cables of this type of bridge, whilst carrying the full weight of the deck makes this a truly unique operation in the world. In preparation we used international expertise and research, such as wind tunnel testing in Italy and fatigue testing in the USA.”

Sabine Delrue, Business leader Infrastructure, Arup, the Netherlands.


The activities of the Tacitus Bridge are part of a program in which eight steel bridges at strategic locations in the road network are renovated instead of replaced, in order to extend the life cycle by at least 30 years.

Renovating without hindrance

Since 2013 the traffic between the junctions of Ewijk and Valburg was merged to three lanes in both directions on the new bridge over the Waal river, making it possible to renovate the old traffic-free bridge without hindrance to the users of the road.

Background of ‘eight steel bridges’

This program contains the renovation of the Muider Bridge, the Arch Bridge Beek, the Scharberg Bridge, the Kreekrak Bridge, the Galecopper Bridge and the Tacitus Bridge (these six bridges are already completed) as well as the Suurhoff Bridge and the Van Brienenoord Bridge.

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