The Scherkonde Valley Bridge is the first semi-integral bridge over a valley on a high speed railway line of the Deutsche Bahn AG. It sets new patterns for bridge design.

„The Scherkonde Valley Bridge – a Challenge for Engineers“

The Scherkonde valley bridge was designed as a semi integral bridge for high speed railway line of the Deutsche Bahn AG between Erfurt and Leipzig/Halle. Compared to the bridges constructed conventionally in the past it shows high level transparency and slenderness as well as a great rigidity and robustness.

The Scherkonde valley bridge has been honored with the Deutsche BrĂĽckenbaupreis 2012.

Innovation at the Deutsche Bahn AG

So far bridges of this scale weren’t designed as integral buildings neither by the Deutsche Bahn AG nor by German road authorities. The application of integral bridges in high-speed rail traffic for the Deutsche Bahn AG means turning away from old principles of design for valley bridges. The Scherkonde valley bridge can be considered as a pilot scheme for several similar integral or semi-integral buildings of the Deutsche Bahn AG which are currently in the design or in the construction phase (Unstrut valley bridge, Gänsebach valley bridge, Aurach valley bridge).

Form Follows the Load Carrying Action

The modest design of the super- and substructures by clear, simple forms and a low-key design of the surface the valley is spanned unspectacularly with the building needed. The shape of the super- and substructures underlines the load carrying action and visualizes the flux of force of the building. The superstructure has been designed as a slab cross section with a construction height of 2,0 m within the span section and a haunching of 3,50 m in the supporting area. It is twice as sleek as it had been stated in the draft of the overall planning for valley bridges.

In the area of the Scherkonde valley at a level of 4,0 m under ground level very bearing mudstone can be found. Due to these very positive subsoil conditions with its expected settlement the Scherkonde valley bridge has been built as a semi-integral building.

It Comes Down to the Fixed Point

One of the most important factors for the design is the choice of the fixed point. On one hand it defines the distribution of the horizontal traffic loads resulting from braking and starting, on the other hand the decision affects significantly the withstanding restraint forces.

The distance between the fixed point at abutment west (axis 0) and the last connected pier (axis 10) is 452,0 m. At these lengths very high restraint loads occur due to temperatures as well as creep and shrinkage. They are relevant for the sizing of the pier junctions. At the eastern piers 11 and 12 as well as at the abutment east bearings have been implemented.

The piers have been designed as sleek plate walls with a constant thickness of 1,00 to 1,50 meters. The monolithic piers are very flexible in the longitudinal direction and with a low tendency to settling in the vertical direction.

Economic Efficiency and Sustainability

The superstructure and the piers of the Scherkonde valley bridge have been designed solely as full cross-sections. This allows producing the structures in a very simple and effective way. Because of the improved restraint conditions for the monolithic piers the amount of the foundation piles was reduced significantly. The building is very robust because of the full cross-sections. This robustness connected with the minimized amount of bearings and joints gives reason to expect lower maintenance costs.

Because of the novelty of the supporting structure and to proof the calculations given in advance a monitoring was necessary which will be carried out beyond the implementing.

13,00 m
34,00 m
567,50 m

2-tracked semi ingetral bridge over a valley, prestressed concrete

New stretch of track Erfurt – Leipzig/Halle Track 5919 km 215,353 to 215,929 nearby Krautheim

Activities Marx Krontal:
Planning, design, permission and public tender (2006 – 2007 at DB ProjektBau GmbH)


  • Ingenieurbaupreis 2010 Ernst & Sohn
  • Innovationspreis der DB ProjektBau GmbH 2010
  • Deutscher BrĂĽckenbaupreis 2012


  • „Die ScherkondetalbrĂĽcke, die erste semi-integrale TalbrĂĽcke der DB AG auf der Neubaustrecke Erfurt – Leipzig/Halle VDE 8.2, Beton- und Stahlbetonbau 105 (2010), Heft 3
  • Innovative GroĂźbrĂĽcken im Eisenbahn-Hochgeschwindigkeits- Verkehr am Beispiel der Neubaustrecke Erfurt-Leipzig/Halle Beton- und Stahlbetonbau 104 (2009), Heft 11