|Installation of the piles is in full swing for the Rail Baltica Neris River bridge in the district of Jonava, the longest bridge not only in Lithuania but also in the Baltic States. This bridge will have a length of 1,510 metres long, built at 40 metres high, and will require 11,500 tonnes of reinforcement and 74,000 cubic metres of concrete.
“The bridge over the Neris River is one of the most complex objects of the Rail Baltica project and a highly complex engineering structure. Pile installation is intensifying daily at the bridge site. To speed up the installation works, plans soon include using additional equipment necessary for the installation of the piles,” said Vytautas Tilinskas, Head of Project Implementation for Rail Baltica at LTG Infra.
The construction work is being carried out by the Italian company Rizzani de Eccher. The aim is to complete the piling work by spring of next year. Under the right weather conditions, one to two piles are installed per day. The site is being worked on by a rotary drilling machine, which can reach a height of 27 metres.
“After drilling the pile installation site, the metal frame of the pile reinforcement is first installed and then the concrete is poured. In total, the bridge has been designed with 376 piles. The pile diameter is mainly 1.5 metres, but there are also 1.8-metre piles. The longest poles will be as deep as 33 metres,” Tilinskas explaines.
Once the piles are in place, concrete will be poured, and the grate – the upper connecting part of the pile foundation, which will support the bridge structures – will be built. The next stage will be the construction of the piers, abutments, supports, and the finishing works.
The Rail Baltica Neris River bridge will cross the European Ecological Network Natura 2000 area, therefore special attention is being paid to environmental protection during construction. To avoid any impacts on the biodiversity of the Neris, exceptional technical challenges were addressed and active cooperation with the State Service for Protected Areas was pursued. By withholding from any invasive solutions, fish will be able to migrate freely in the riverbed and aquatic vegetation will flourish. To protect the local biosphere, no work will be carried out in the protection zone of the Neris River during fish and bird migration.
Due to the complexity and sophistication of the project, intensive preparations were made for the main construction works. Preliminary work – such as stump and brush clearance, site preparation, demining, preparing the construction base, and the installation of approach roads to the bridge columns – has been ongoing since September 2022.