Bypass Wieselburg – cracks in the road: state road construction department gives the all-clear

Somehow, the Wieselburg bypass, which was opened to traffic on June 10 of the previous year, is not under the best of stars in terms of construction. After a bridge collapsed during construction work on June 7, 2020 – fortunately nobody was injured – the first cracks in the road surface have already appeared after less than ten months. And that too in the immediate vicinity of the bridge that collapsed and was rebuilt at the time.

“Working with natural materials”

“But these two things have nothing to do with each other. There is no connection whatsoever,” emphasizes Wolfgang Leitgöb, project manager on the part of the state road construction department for the Wieselburg bypass, at the press conference and admits in the same breath.

On the part of the state’s road construction department – Sebastian Riegler, Gerhard Fichtinger and Wolfgang Leitgöb (from left) one is of course anything but happy about these cracks in the roadway of the Wieselburg bypass. Research into the cause is ongoing. But it is important to emphasize to everyone: There is not the slightest danger for road users.

Photo:
Christian Eplinger


“Of course, something like this shouldn’t happen and we on the part of the state, as the customer for this project, are anything but happy about it. But it’s also not the first time something like this has happened in major road construction projects. Road construction works with natural materials and this can lead to subsidence or migration,” explains Leitgöb.

Even if checks were carried out very precisely during the construction phase and the bulk material used was of a higher quality than specified, “it was always just random checks. We can’t control every single piece of gravel,” emphasizes Leitgöb.

His colleague Sebastian Riegler also explains that in this area in particular, where heaps of up to seven meters were piled up for the road, all possible structural precautions were taken. “The individual fills were applied relatively slowly, layer by layer. In between there were repeated measurements. And only when the load-bearing capacity was given was the pouring continued,” explains Riegler.

Nevertheless, two large cracks came to light on the two lanes in the direction of travel Ybbs immediately before the bridge in question: a 20-metre-long crack and an eight-metre-long crack. Both have now been poured out with crack filling, so that you hardly feel anything when driving over them, whether in a car or on a motorcycle.

Initial measurements initiated immediately – no danger

“We immediately initiated investigations by external geotechnicians and set measuring points at 25 to 30 points, both directly next to the cracks and in the embankment area. All of the experts then confirmed to us that there was no danger for road users that anything could break in. The bypass can therefore be driven on as normal,” emphasizes Wolfgang Leitgöb.

In May, the cause research will be intensified. Several boreholes and measurements with 15 meter deep pipes and probes are carried out – again by an external company. The lane narrows in this area for two to three days, but two lanes always remain. It is examined whether the reason for the cracks lies in the area of ​​the subsoil or in the built-up area. Depending on what comes out of it, a decision is made as to how the renovation has to be carried out and, above all, who has to bear the costs of the renovation. The land (underground) or the construction companies (built-up area) is the question here?

Bridge collapse: No court decision yet

Speaking of costs, court proceedings are still ongoing regarding the 2020 bridge collapse. After all, it is about costs of 4.7 million euros. “You have to let the courts work. At the moment we can say just as little about this as we can about the possible costs of the renovation that is currently required,” explains Gerhard Fichtinger, press officer for the Lower Austrian state road service.

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