Clever thinking for Churchill Bridge Leiden replacement
11 September 2020

Clever thinking for Churchill Bridge Leiden replacement

The Churchill Bridge in Leiden will be renovated this summer. The bridge is an important link for the N206, connecting the A4 and A44 motorways. The work will be carried out during the summer period to keep traffic delays at a minimum.

Drawbridge of steel

The Churchill Bridge is a drawbridge with steel decking. The work consists of replacing the movable part of the bridge, the entire steel superstructure, the electrical installation and the drive system.

Construction in Sumar

The new bridge deck, balance prongs and other components were built by Solidd Steel Structures from Sumar in Friesland. But how to get a 117-tonne bridge deck from Friesland to Leiden on inland waterways that are narrow in some places? Food for thought for the specialists from Wagenborg Nedlift.

Inclined frame water transport

First they mapped the water transport route from the yard in Sumar to the bridge location in Leiden and decided on the best possible type of vessel. Due to the limited passage width, the bridge deck had to be transported upright on a so-called inclined frame. An inclined frame such as this is a tailored solution and is usually developed and built to be used once only. An expensive and time-consuming job for the bridge manufacturer!

Modular Support System

Fortunately, Wagenborg Nedlift was able to provide a good solution with its new Modular Support System. The Modular Support System is a flexible support system for building all types of support construction. Like a giant version of Meccano. It turned out that this handy modular system could be used to build a suitable inclined frame for the transport of the Churchill bridge deck. A fast and safe solution that also saves time and money!


By mid-August, the time had come: the new bridge deck started its journey to Leiden. Using large mobile telescopic cranes, the deck was lifted into the ship, onto the modular inclined frame. In the meantime, the old bridge in Leiden had been removed to make room for the new one. After a journey of a few days along the carefully mapped out shipping route, the bridge deck arrived in Leiden. The lifting specialists from Wagenborg Nedlift used two 400-tonne mobile cranes from the fleet to lift the 117-tonne colossus out of the vessel and install it.


The new Churchill Bridge is expected to be commissioned mid-September.

Watch the project pictures and movies!

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