Spanish firm FCC Construcción and Fernández Casado engineers complete 1,791 m Danube Bridge between Bulgaria and Romania
The Vidin-Calafat bridge, which connects Bulgarian city of Vidin and the Romanian city of Calafat across the river Danube, will reportedly open in mid-May. The two sides of the bridge were officially joined on 10 October 2012, and the final railway sleepers were installed on 10 April 2013. It is the second bridge to cross the Danube between the two countries, and its opening will represent a great development of the Pan-European Transport Corridor IV, which runs from Dresden to Istanbul.
The Spanish engineering firm FCC Construcción was selected by the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport in 2006 to construct the bridge, along with access facilities including two railway stations. The designs were drawn up jointly by FCC’s in-house engineers and by the Fernández Casado engineering firm. The contract for construction was signed in March 2007, and work proper began on the bridge in November 2008. The project cost, which in 2000 was forecast to be €99m, eventually reached €226m – a budget jointly financed by European funds and the state of Bulgaria. Its recent completion, which was initially scheduled for 2010, has also been significantly delayed.
The Vidin-Calafat bridge is 1,791m long and 31m wide. It comprises of a four-lane motorway, central railway tracks, a bike lane and footpath. The bridge is built to cope with maximum car speeds of 100km/h, and maximum train speeds of 160km/h. The structure is divided into three distinct sections: the 772m railway access bridge; the 646m non-navigable stretch, supported by eight concrete piers; and the 745m navigable channel section of the bridge, supported by four concrete piers and spread over three central spans of 180m, and two lateral spans of 124m and 115m.
The final structural work on the bridge, the installation of 60-ton impact protection units around each of the four piers in the navigable channel section, was completed on 15 March. Finishing touches being put to the bridge include the installation of handrails, lighting, motorway crash barriers, layers of waterproofing and the bridge superstructure’s bituminous layer.