On the Road to Terminal 3
How to Reach the New Terminal by Car, Taxi or Bus
Frankfurt Airport is the Rhine-Main Region’s gateway to the world: air travelers depart from here to nearly 300 destinations worldwide. Of course, an enjoyable departure includes not only a quick and easy check-in process, a pleasant ambiance and helpful employees, but also relaxed transportation to the airport. As long as Terminal 3 is under construction, it only needs to be accessed by heavy machinery and trucks. But after it opens, passengers and visitors will want to be able to get there easily and conveniently by car, bus or taxi. This makes it vital to intelligently link Terminal 3 to the existing road network.
Up, Up and Away
Terminal 3 will be connected to the existing transport network via the A5 motorway. To this end, the Zeppelinheim junction will be extended. The exit will be extended by another lane for traffic coming from the north and by a new access road for traffic leaving to the north. This will prevent traffic jams caused by arriving and departing traffic, even at peak times. A parking guidance system will also be set up to ensure a smooth journey, providing orientation for arrivals and showing them the shortest route to the nearest free parking space.
And there are plenty of them at Terminal 3: thanks to a new multi-storey car park, 8,500 parking spaces will be available from 2023. This also includes special parking spaces for electric vehicles. As the multi-storey car park is being built directly opposite the new main building, the distance from the parking space to the check-in area is short. A new bus station with 27 stops will provide a seamless connection to the region; in addition, taxis will be able to park around 45 cars directly on the terminal access road. Particularly exciting for visitors: the terminal will be connected to national cycle paths. Close to Terminal 3, 100 bicycle parking spaces will be created below the PTS station. 30 of these will be equipped with charging stations for e-bikes.
Those who reach Terminal 3 by car and get off at the right-of-way table will be able to board without stairs or lifts, as the right-of-way area of the terminal is on the same level as the gates of piers H and J. An access ramp and a departure ramp are therefore required for the road connection of the right-of-way table on the departure level with a bridge area of approx. 15,300 square metres. In future, the 256 metre long access ramp will lead to the check-in area of Terminal 3. The departing traffic, in turn, will be led via the 11 metre high and 136 metre long departure ramp to the roads below.
Hitting the Road
In future, new roads will lead from the extended Zeppelinheim junction to Gate 1a and Gate 32. Gate 32, the entrance to CargoCity South, was completed in 2014 as the first road connection construction project, even before the first spade for Terminal 3 touched the ground on 5 October 2015. There was a need for a new gate to CargoCity South as the old gate was located on the Terminal 3 site. Fraport used the relocation of gate 32 to increase efficiency and make the new access road to CargoCity South fit for the future.
60 Tonnes of Steel – a Job for Powerful Cranes
After the completion of the new Gate 32, the next important sub-projects for the road connection began in June 2016: the access and exit ramps. In future, travellers and visitors will be able to reach the departure level of Terminal 3 directly via these ramps.
As a first step in ramp construction, stable foundations will be erected as part of the foundation work. To this end, 120 bored piles will be sunk into the ground. The individual bored piles have a diameter of 1.20 metres and an impressive length of up to 18 metres. They transfer the loads from the ramp to the ground via the supporting piers. For the construction of the piers standing on the foundation, steel cages weighing up to 4.5 tons and 9 meters long, so-called reinforcement cages, are pre-braided and welded and lifted onto the individual foundations of the ramps with a truck-mounted crane. After the reinforcement cages have been surrounded with a column formwork, concrete can be filled in. Once it has dried, the supporting columns form the basis for the work on the superstructure with the actual road as load-bearing elements.
The arrival ramp is a composite steel-and-concrete construction: a trough consisting of massive steel elements holds and is connected to a reinforced concrete deck for added stability. This is essential for ensuring the required structural strength of the overall bridge with its complex geometry. The access road, a service road and the new people mover line run beneath the ramp.
Each of the steel sections for the trough of the arrival ramp is 29 meters long and four meters wide and weighs up to 42 tonnes: as much as seven full-grown elephants. Before they were delivered in December 2017, a supporting structure was installed on the foundations. Then the sections were precisely lifted into place on the structure. This called for heavy equipment. Sparks flew as the sections were jockeyed into position. They were then welded together at high temperatures of several thousand degrees Celsius.
Additional modules will be delivered until the spring of 2018, with some of them weighing even more (up to 60 tonnes). As soon as the steel trough with a total length of 140 meters is finished, concreting will begin.
Approximately 900 cubic meters of concrete for the access ramp and 1,700 cubic meters of concrete for the exit ramp are then poured in one step. To give the concrete a higher load-bearing capacity, tendons are prestressed. These consist of "ropes" called strands made of individual wires. The falsework can now be dismantled.
In the final step, the road is asphalted and the railings and crash barriers are installed. The next construction project will be to connect the two ramps with each other by the platform; for this purpose, the load-bearing piles will first be anchored in the ground in mid-2019.
At the same time, construction work on the roads leading to the new Gate 32 is progressing: the first road sections will be completed here in 2019.