The closed-off Turmstraße bridge - one day before its demolition.
Photo: Dietrich Hunold

Demolition of bridge on Turmstrasse

Major construction site on Turmstrasse with far-reaching consequences for road users and RWTH members

The Turmstraße Bridge, as part of Bundesstraße 1a, has now been demolished, and a new bridge will be built. A replacement is expected to be in place by late 2023. According to an expert opinion and an economic feasibility study (carried out by the City of Aachen), it was, unfortunately, no longer possible to renovate the bridge erected in 1971. The resulting change in traffic flow is set to significantly affect RWTH Aachen University in many different ways – with consequences for motorists, public transportation users, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Since 2013, the condition of the Turmstrasse bridge has steadily deteriorated, with the damage apparent in various different places. Among other factors, the concrete was defective on the external superstructure, on the base structures, and in the internal areas of the box girders. Problems of concrete spalling and efflorescence were starting to occur. It also became apparent that the curvature of the floor plate had not been correctly formed. There were damp patches, standing water in the box girders and a faulty water drainage system.

The Council’s mobility committee gave its consent to the recommendations of the city’s technical administration regarding the necessary traffic diversion in a meeting on February 17, 2022. Since May 2, 2022, Turmstraße has been fully closed in both directions between Professor-Pirlet-Straße and Claßenstraße. In addition, Geschwister- Scholl-Straße will remain completely closed from May 2 until June 30, 2022, and will, after this time, be reopened exclusively for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Rail transport between Westbahnhof and Bahnhof Schanz has been interrupted for two weeks in May owing to the demolition works. Deutsche Bahn AG states that trains from Düsseldorf/Mönchengladbach towards Aachen will terminate at Herzogenrath. Rail replacement buses will be provided from there to Aachen. All building operations are scheduled to be completed in December 2023.

The demolition and rebuilding of the Turmstraße bridge as part of Bundesstraße 1a will result in many restrictions to all traffic in the central area of RWTH until late 2023.
Photo: Peter Winandy

Major disruption to traffic flow

The City has planned for traffic to be routed around the construction site. For Alleenring, the immediate bypass goes via Claßenstraße, Seffenter Weg, Mies-vander- Rohe-Straße, and Professor-Pirlet- Straße and is signposted in both directions. Templergraben is initially not part of the traffic rerouting concept and thus remains closed as part of the Living Lab project. It is possible that it will be opened at a later stage.

Traffic will be adversely affected. Also, building access will be limited at times, and you should plan extra time to move between buildings on campus or travel to RWTH – on foot, by bike, by car, or by public transportation. RWTH is not involved in this construction project but is in close contact with the City of Aachen to keep these restrictions as low as possible and communicate them quickly and transparently.

The old bridge had a width of 19.9 meters. The future bridge will be widened to 22.2 meters. This change will mostly affect the pedestrian walkways. The walkway towards Schanz will be widened to 2.5 meters and that towards Ponttor will be widened from its current 2.2 meters to 3.5 meters. The former box girder bridge will be replaced by a steel composite bridge. Among other factors, this method will allow rapid construction progress. Prefabricated slabs will be mounted onto steel supports, and finally a concrete supplement will be added. The overall building operation is scheduled to be completed in December 2023.

The City of Aachen has created a website providing up-to-date information on the project. The City of Aachen will also answer questions before and during the construction works via the following dedicated email address:

– Thorsten Karbach