Lifting and handling heavy structures are complex operations. We deliver tailored solutions adapted to each project configuration, from early design to final operation.

  • Applications
    Water infrastructures
    Energy infrastructures

Whether occurring during a design-build project or as a primary step to perform repair or maintenance activities, lifting or handling heavy structures remains challenging. It demands control over the stresses induced in the structure throughout the whole process. Conducting such operations requires engineering expertise, reliable equipment, careful operating, and precise placement. Relying on skilled and experienced teams and thorough risk management to ensure worker safety, structure preservation, and worksite surroundings protection is essential, especially when these operations are carried out in dense urban areas.
From cable-stayed bridge rotation to stadium roof lifting, from underpass bridge sliding to hauling-up of water tower tanks, through to jacking-up operations, we will offer you the most appropriate solutions, especially when other conventional installation methods are impractical, risky or too costly.

Heavy handling includes:

  • heavy lifting, which consists in moving a structure or a load vertically,
  • sliding, which involves the horizontal shift of a structure or a load,
  • rotation sometimes, when the operation also entails a change in orientation of the structure.

Complex projects may often necessitate to combine several operations, especially when adjusting the structure in its final position. This is where our expertise, specialist teams and capability to drive and manage the project in all aspects will make the difference.


Why choose Freyssinet for your project

01. Over 40 years’ experience

In the most complex, small and large-scale operations

02. Time-saving operation

Reducing installation activities on the critical path

03. Reduced site interferences

Few interferences with other site activities until the structure is moved and installed in its final position

04. Extensive service offering

From concept design to implementation

05. Reduce traffic disruption

Minimize disturbance as structures are built next to the traffic line and moved to the final position during a very short track closure

06. Documented risk management

With HAZID/HAZOP type assessment of each handling or lifting operation

07. Exclusive technologies

State-of-the-art Hebetec hydraulic equipment and Megasteel® temporary structures

08. High safety standards

Services tailored to your needs

From design to execution

Discover our case studies

Heavy lifting can be performed at different heights, depending on the structure or load to be lifted (dimensions, shape, weight…), worksite configuration, and purpose of the operation. To handle the structure or load involved, our teams operate the strand lifting or precision jacking methods.

Strand lifting

Heavy lifting using the strand jacking technology can be performed to quickly raise or lower almost any load, regardless of the height. This method is an appropriate solution when lifts have large dimensions, when loads require several lifting points, must be moved horizontally at heights, or require precise handling or placement in their final position.

Applications: bridges, buildings, nuclear plants, power plants, stadiums.
  • Cost-effective method
  • Fast process completion
  • Improved safety conditions

Precision jacking

This technique ensures safe and accurate lifting/lowering of rigid structures necessarily requiring multiple lifting points, due to uninterrupted control of the load movements in operations such as structure raising or decentering and bearing replacement. Computer-aided jacking operations can be performed in confined areas and support up to several thousand tons by several meters. Our computer-aided LAO® jacking system designed in-house has 48 separate hydraulic ways which already allowed us to lift structures up to 100,000 tons with a 0.3 mm accuracy.

Applications: bridges, buildings, nuclear plants, power plants.
  • Real-time control
  • Constant analysis of
    lifting parameters
  • Monitoring of stroke variations
    between lifting jacks

Related projects

Roof lifting / San Mamés Stadium, Spain

Roof lifting / San Mamés Stadium, Spain

Primarily assembled on the ground, the cable structure was then lifted to its final position at a 50 m height, with 160 strand jacks simultaneously monitored by video.

Bridge lowering / Oakland Bay Bridge, USA

As part of demolition works in San Francisco Bay, lowering of five 1,600-ton bridge trusses onto barges from heights up to 50 metres, using strand jacks while ensuring stable load balance during the execution operated at a speed of up to 14 m/h.

Bridge lowering / Oakland Bay Bridge, USA
Temporary structures / Atlantic Bridge, Panama

Temporary structures / Atlantic Bridge, Panama

As part of the construction of the cable-stayed bridge with the longest concrete deck span in the world (530m), delivery of a Megasteel self-erecting system to temporarily support the 120-ton formwork and 1,600-ton bridge concrete elements.

Eolift / Santa Monica wind farm, Brazil

Development of a new concrete tower design based on the use of precast segments (match-casting method), and of an innovative erection method. Added value of these innovations: construction time frame and cost reductions, lower carbon footprint than conventional steel towers.

Heavy lifting / Forth Crossing Bridge, Scotland

Heavy lifting / Forth Crossing Bridge, Scotland

Supply of strand jacks, hydraulic systems and control units to operate the six traveller steel frames used to lift bridge decks from barges into position during the construction of the world longest three-tower cable-stayed bridge. Installation supervision and execution of the system operation was conducted by Hebetec as well.

Some more case studies ...


CNIT underground station jacking

The construction of a station located underneath a Paris shopping centre required the taking up of a load of a frame assembly of some 100,000 tonnes, thanks to an innovative jacking system.
  • Heavy lifting
  • Buildings
  • Geotechnics

Hebetec, the Freyssinet lifting and heavy handling specialist

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Sliding and rotation operations are used to install structures that must overpass or underpass obstacles like railroad, highway, or valley crossings.

These operations can be performed at ground level on a short distance, and at heights, when heavy structures are shifted to their final position or when heavy loads are removed from their current position. These methods apply to new build projects, structure dismantling or when replacing part of an existing structure.


Launching is a longitudinal sliding method that allows to cross gaps. It is the preferred construction method for bridges crossing valleys or rivers. The bridge deck is prefabricated behind one of the abutments. Installation consists in sliding deck sections over sliding bearings onto the bridge piers, while a launching nose prevents bending moments, as part of the installation is done above the void. Launch is operated with high-capacity hydraulic jacks.
  • Cost-effective solution
  • Minimal traffic disruption of underpass lanes
  • No impact of bridge height

Autoripage® structure sliding technique

This patented method developed by Freyssinet enables the installation of a structure entirely prefabricated on a nearby base -usually next to the road or railway track - and sliding it to its final position onto bentonite grout, after completely clearing the ground. After sliding completion, backfilling is carried out to re-open the route to traffic. The method is particularly appropriate for railroad crossing.
  • Fast execution
  • Short track closure
  • New structure built near final position

Autofonçage® structure sliding technique

Also developed by Freyssinet, Autofonçage® is a patented structure sliding method which enables the creation of a short underpass structure under traffic lanes in operation. It consists in prefabricating sections of the structure (concrete frames), then sliding them after partly clearing the ground and driving the structure forward into the infill as the excavation work progresses. No backfilling is required, as the volume of earth excavated equals that of the structure.
  • Fast execution
  • Reduced traffic disruption
  • Structure sections built near final position

Air Pad Sliding

Air Pad Sliding (APS) is an alternative to Autoripage® using APS bearings, a patented device: after clearing the ground, heavy structures are horizontally moved to their final position along skidways onto APS modules. Skidways are equipped with side guides and adapted to the bearing capacity of the soil. Once the sliding operation is completed, backfilling takes place to re-open the route to traffic.

Applications: bridges, buildings, offshore structures, industrial facilities.
  • Friction coefficient <1 %
  • Skidding speed up to 150m/h
  • Multidirectional lifting and sliding

Lateral sliding

When a bridge deck needs to be replaced, a practical solution consists in building the new one next to the old one. Therefore, the new deck is built on a temporary support. Once completed and during a short possession, the old deck is de-slided and the new one slided into final position. This method allows replacement of long decks at heights, when cranage is impossible.

Applications: bridges, energy infrastructures.
  • Friction coefficient < 5%
  • Sliding speed up to 15m/h
  • Long and heavy slide


When it is impossible or costly to build overpass bridges above the obstacle to overcome (e.g. motorway in operation), rotation operations are interesting solutions to install bridges in their final position. In this case, the structure is built perpendicular to its final position, along the track. Rotation is operated from a central pivot or from an end pivot (located at one of the bridge deck’s ends).
  • Friction coefficient < 5%
  • Minimum traffic disruption

Related projects

Lennetal Highway Bridge
Luftbild, Neubau der Lennetalbrücke A45, Berchum, Sauerlandlinie, Autobahnbrücke, Hagen, Ruhrgebiet, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Lateral sliding / Lennetal Highway Bridge, Germany

It took less than 6 hours to move the 30,000 ton, 1,000-metre-long Bridge by 19.15 meters sideways in its final position.

Load out / Oil Rig Baronia at Ulsan, Korea

17’000 ton weighing oil rig was shifted to load on bord of a barge and eventually put into operation in the Gulf of Thailand

Combined APS sliding & heavy lifting operations / Ashalim Solar Power Station, Israel

APS sliding of a 2,300t. boiler on 64 m from the assembly area to the power station tower

Bridge launching / Bowstring bridge, Casablanca, Morocco

The 330-ton steel structure of the Bowstring Bridge was launched over the A3 city highway crossing. The operation took place overnight, resulting in a short traffic closure and minimal disruption as the arch bridge was pre-assembled next to the roadway.

More case studies

Hebetec, the Freyssinet lifting and heavy handling specialist

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