Hamburg: Maintaining port traffic despite bridge replacement

The Port of Hamburg is one of Europe’s largest seaports. The huge amount of goods and cargo transport to and from the harbor on land present great challenges in terms of infrastructure. The Finkenwerder Ring, with more than 21,000 vehicles on workdays, is especially affected. In order to guarantee high-performance port operation during the planned replacement of the Finkenwerder bridge, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) commissioned the experts of PTV Transport Consult to conduct transport studies.


What will be the impact on traffic during the planned construction project? How can traffic be best organized? The PTV Transport Consult team can help you clarify the most important transport-related issues concerning your construction project.

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Project description

The Finkenwerder Ring is very close to the Hamburg-Waltershof junction on the crowded A7 highway and, together with the connection to several port terminals, it is a critical traffic hub. With such high utilization, the replacement of the six-lane Finkenwerder bridge represented a big challenge. To maintain the road network and also keep port operation flowing, the PTV experts examined various possibilities for full and partial blockage.


Macroscopic modeling & microsimulation

In particular, a full blockage of the bridge would have wide-ranging impacts on traffic. That’s why the consultants’ first step was to examine the effects of shifting traffic as a result of the blockage, using PTV's own transport model of the Hamburg region. The adjusted route selection was then used for the microsimulation of the Finkenwerder Straße / Finkenwerder Ring / HH-Waltershof junction in order to determine the traffic capacity.


Simulation of port traffic

A special challenge was the simulation of port traffic. The port’s road traffic is characterized by a high share of heavy vehicles; in some cases more than 50%. The complex network structure around the Finkenwerder Ring with the connection to the Altenwerter Container Terminal and other port facilities, as well as the adjacent HH-Waltershof highway junction, presented special challenges for the modeling. For calibration, detailed data about lane usage and helicopter shots provided by HPA were used.


The analysis revealed that a complete blockage is not a sensible option and that only with a partial blockage could the capacity of the road network be guaranteed. In addition, in a simulation of the final state, predicted to be completed by 2030, it emerged that today's six lanes on the Finkenwerder bridge are not necessary; four lanes going west will be enough.

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