The Drive-By Platform
Across the Asphalt to Terminal 3

The Challenge of Building Bridges

All of the new bridge structures for the roads around Terminal 3 were completed by the end of 2019, but work to build the drive-by platform is still in full swing. Measuring roughly 550 by 30 meters (with an area of 15,300 square meters), it’s at a height of around ten meters flanked by the access and exit ramps. It will let cars and cabs drive straight up to the entrance to the check-in hall and park on short-stay spaces there.

The work to build the foundation for the drive-by platform is clearly visible in this bird’s-eye view.

Some of the massive supports are already standing in rows, with the formwork removed.

The V-shaped supports hold up the drive-by platform, which travelers and visitors will reach via an access ramp that has already been completed.

The superstructure for the drive-by platform is assembled on top of the supports.

Seventy V-shaped supports are needed.

The drive-by platform is flanked by the access and exit ramps.

The drive-by platform is gradually completed.

With a Soft Touch

A bridge structure this large requires a sturdy foundation. First, in mid-2019, piles were anchored in the ground. Equipment weighing up to 155 tonnes was used to drill holes 13 meters deep into the ground for them. It was a challenge for the construction workers, who had to control these enormous machines with surgical precision. The piles were then topped with special caps to create a base for the supports of the drive-by platform. A total of 70 of them hold up the bridge structure, 56 arranged in a straight line running east to west. Utility lines, sewers and so on pass through them.

V for Very Challenging

The structural engineers had to meet special requirements while designing the V-shaped supports. A full-size test support was made first to check whether they would actually perform as needed and if so give the green light for work to proceed. Production of them began in the first quarter of 2020. The same sequence of three steps was followed for every one: place the formwork, mount the rebars, and then pour the concrete. Formwork and rebars were placed to define the special shape of the supports that would later hold up the drive-by platform. Finally, self-compacting concrete was poured in from above. Due to the supports’ great height of about ten meters, the entire process had to be meticulously recorded and monitored. The reason is that concrete is heavy, yet the pressure it exerts on the formwork couldn’t be allowed to exceed certain specified values. Once the first supports were finished, preparations for building the superstructure could begin. A total of 14 concrete sections with a length of 36 meters had to be made so that travelers and visitors will later be able to conveniently drive right up to the entrance of the main terminal building.

But why did Fraport choose the complex V-shape for the supports? Esthetic considerations were only secondary. The main reason is that this solution leaves more space underneath for vehicles to maneuver than conventional supports, which would have had to be placed closer together.