At the end of 2015, the first trains are expected to run at 300 km/h on the new line between erfurt and the leipzig/halle area. The main bridge, to which the arch structure belongs, is around 6.5 kilometers long. In addition, there is an approximately 2.1-kilometer-long junction in the direction of halle. The structure runs across the saale-elster floodplain. Environmentalists had criticized it therefore strongly and had tried to prevent also before court.
According to a spokesman, the bridge will cost around 200 million euros. Original plans had assumed 150 million euros. The entire section of the line is part of the german unification traffic project nr. 8 – the new and upgraded rail line from nurnberg via erfurt and leipzig/halle to berlin. The total cost of the project is estimated at ten billion euros, to be paid for by the federal government, the european union and the railroad company. The line is scheduled for completion in 2017 and will then enable a trip from berlin to munich in about four hours.
The saale-elster valley bridge is actually made entirely of concrete. Only the so-called bar arch bridge, on which the last welds were placed on friday, is made of steel and gives the bridge its distinctive silhouette. Construction work began in 2008. At the end of next year, the trial operation will begin, which will then last about a year, said the spokesman. Until then, rails have been laid and all the other railroad equipment has been installed.