Clever installation method for Hamburg Lessing Tunnel

Clever installation method for Hamburg Lessing Tunnel

The Lessing Tunnel in Hamburg is a 110-metre-long railway underpass located north of the Hamburg-Altona railway station. Six new tunnel sections, each weighing 340 tonnes, were brought in for the renovation from a construction site 2.5 kilometres away. A great challenge for the Wagenborg Nedlift transport specialists

Challenging infrastructure project

The renovation of the Lessing Tunnel in Hamburg-Altona was a particularly challenging infrastructure project, mainly due to the limited space available on the construction site. For this reason, the six new tunnel sections were built at a construction site outside the city centre. However, this did present the challenge of getting these heavyweights, each some 30 metres long and weighing 340 tonnes, to the Lessing Tunnel construction site in the centre of Hamburg-Altona.

Through the city centre

Wagenborg Nedlift's transport specialists carried out a route survey to determine the best possible route through the city centre. It was approved by the local authorities and other parties involved. To keep traffic delays to a minimum, transport of the tunnel segments took place during two nights.



Loading the 340-tonne 'segments' at the construction site was carried out skilfully using the SPMT's trailer hydraulics. After that, transport was smooth sailing via the prepared and blocked off route through the city.


Clever installation method

However, installing the heavyweights onto the foundation at the tunnel site was not so easy: the tunnel segments had to be placed on new foundations off the ground.


The SPMT trailer that had carried the tunnel segments over a distance of 2.5 km through the city, could not be used because of its length. For this reason, a second set of SPMTs was ready on arrival at the project site to place the segments onto the foundation. 



To move the segments the final few metres up to their foundations they first had to be raised so that they could be driven over the abutments of an existing bridge that had been temporarily removed. At the same time, the segments could not be loaded too high since a pipe bridge was located at the top. In fact, the segments were like small parcels that just fit through the letterbox.


Moreover, it was a downward-sloping road, which had to be corrected by the SPMT trailer. Last but not least, once they reached the foundations, the segments had to be lowered by one metre so that they could be placed onto the final foundations.


Plenty of challenge for the specialists from Wagenborg Engineering!


Combined techniques

Considering the complexity of the required movements at the project location, the Wagenborg Nedlift team used various movement techniques.


The 500-tonne hydraulic gantry system was used at both ends of the tunnel segment for unloading and lifting the tunnel segments. A jacking system was placed on the second set of SPMT vehicles, specially configured for the driving-in operation. Using the hydraulic gantry system, the tunnel segment was placed onto the SPMT combination with the jacks.


Now that the segment had been raised to the correct height, the precision driving-in operation could begin, after which the hydraulic jack system was used to precisely position the segments and lower them onto their new foundation.


Nice workmanship delivered by the Wagenborg Nedlift specialists!

Watch the project pictures here!

ESTA Award 2020 nomination!

The transport and positioning operation of the segments for Lessingtunnel project has been nominated for the ESTA Awards!


ESTA is the European Association of heavy transport, heavy lifting and crane rental companies. The ESTA represents the national associations in the heavy transport and lifting sector. Each year, ESTA Awards are awarded for extraordinary projects in the field of technical ingenuity, innovation or safety.

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