Widening of the Albert Canal, a major shipping link between the Belgian cities of Antwerp and Liège, prompted the replacement of an old bowstring bridge near the city of Kanne, with a modern self-anchored suspension structure.

  • Owner
    Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap Departement Leefmilieu en Infrastructuur Afdeling Maas en Albertkanaal
  • Client
    Victor Buyck Steel Construction
  • Delivery date
  • Partners
    General contractor: THV Herbosch Kiere Antwerpse Bouwwerken - Louis Duchêne
    Consultant: IV-INFRA
    Technical inspection service: Seco
Kanne suspension bridge Belgium

Low profile approach for Kanne Suspension Bridge

The choice of bridge type was unusual for such a short span, but it ticked the boxes of being both aesthetically pleasing, and having a sufficiently shallow deck profile to offer the required shipping clearance without the need for ramped approaches.

It was the first of its type to be built in Belgium since the 1960s and the owner was clear that service life of the main cables should be considered of high importance. They wanted to be confident it would match or exceed that of a standard cable-supported bridge.

Seal of approval

Traditionally cables for short-span suspension bridges are created from locked coil strands. But Freyssinet proposed substituting its patented Cohestrand, the design of which allows the multiple anti-corrosion barriers of the product to remain intact where they pass through the suspension collars.

Kanne suspension bridge using Cohestrand
Kanne suspension bridge cohestrand

Scaling up

Although Cohestrand had previously been used on a small suspension footbridge in France, this was the first full-size prototype for its use as a main cable. A bundle of 75 strands was used to form each of the two load-bearing cables, anchored at the tops of the 25 m-tall towers, and a special collar design was developed for the connection of the hangers to the main cables.

The triple protection barrier of Cohestrand – galvanisation of the wire itself, an adhesive polymer injected around and into the voids between the wires, and an HDPE sheath  extruded and bonded to the strand – give it a potential service life of 100 years, with a minimum 10 year warranty. A full-scale test carried out on a section of the main cable demonstrated that the sliding resistance of the collar exceeded requirements for this application.

Ground control

Another unconventional element of the project was the method of erection; with the deck built on temporary supports, the cable was fully assembled at ground level with the collars clamped before being lifted into place. This was only possible because the back spans were not suspended and the main cable only ran between the two towers. Pairs of stays were provided in the back spans to balance the loads from the main span. Fully prefabricated hangers were then attached to the collars and stressed at the deck anchorage.

Kanne suspension bridge

The innovative approach for this project was made possible because the bridge owner, the consultant and the technical checking expert all showed a keen appetite for the proposed technology. There was very constructive communication between Freyssinet and other stakeholders to specify, test and check the compliance of these innovative suspension cables. Successful execution of this project would not have been possible without the close and fruitful collaboration between the design team and the site team

Managing director, Freyssinet Belgium

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