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German engineers blast bridge, set new record

February 6, 2022

The destruction of the 70-meter-tall Rinsdorf viaduct marks a new record in Germany — the tallest bridge ever to be blasted by demolition experts.


Demolition crews used around 120 kilograms (265 pounds) of explosives on Sunday to destroy the Rinsdorf viaduct on Germany's A45 autobahn near Wilnsdorf in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The bridge was 70-meters-tall (230 feet) and spanned 500 meters (1,640 feet).

The blast sets a new record in Germany, which has never blown up a bridge so high before. 

Onlookers gather for 'picture-book blast'

The 55-year-old structure came crashing down at 11 a.m local time (10 a.m. GMT). After demolition expert Michael Schneider gave the signal to detonate, the bridge's 16 pillars buckled and the road surface fell to the ground.

"It was a picture-book blast," said Schneider.

The moment of detonation shows 16 pillars buckling
In total, 16 pillars buckled as part of the detonationImage: Rene Traut/dpa/picture alliance

The collapse was orchestrated so the debris would land in a prepared bed and cause no damage to the replacement bridge located right next to it. The new bridge was inaugurated in December 2021.

Dozens of onlookers watched on in awe as the dilapidated viaduct came crashing down.

A group of people stands on a slope near the Rinsdorf bridge in western Germany
Onlookers gathered at a safe distance from the Talbrücke Rinsdorf to see it collapseImage: Rene Traut/dpa/picture alliance

Some 60 viaducts are in need of replacing or urgent works in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, with 15 currently under construction or scheduled to have work done to them this year.

The DPA news agency contributed to this report.

Written by: John Silk

Edited by: Darko Janjevic