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Rock formations from an unknown perspective

The Felsenmeer in Hemer, Sauerland, is one of Germany’s most important geotopes. Since the Felsenmeer was designated as a nature reserve in 1962 due to its natural historical, geological and cultural historical importance, one could no longer walk right through it.

With the construction of a bridge, a footbridge and a viewing platform as part of the Landesgartenschau 2010 horticultural show, the town of Hemer brought the Felsenmeer to life again. The central element of the unusual project is a 30-metre long bridge section that was inserted into the Felsenmeer with a 500-tonne crane. “An impressive event,” stated Hemer’s mayor Michael Esken.

After all, the massive crane lifted the new bridge over the treetops precisely into the Felsenmeer. Judith Feldner from the Bureau for Planning, Building and Transport of the town of Hemer provides insight into the “new Felsenmeer”.

What happened in the Felsenmeer after Andreas Krautscheid, then Minister for Federal and European Affairs of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, had given the official go-ahead for the project?

Judith Feldner: “In extension of the road axis out of the Park of Senses, a platform was built in steel-wood construction that enables the visitors to look into a 20-metre deep couloir. The bridge and the boardwalk in the southern part of the Felsenmeer also allow new insight into the Felsenmeer from above and below. Since the Felsenmeer is an FFH* area and nature reserve, the work was very challenging.

Rock formations come alive again

The close cooperation with the nature conservation authorities and an ecological construction supervision firm helped a great deal. The most important point besides the assembly work was the bores in the rock, which provide the foundation for the construction works. The eventful history of the Felsenmeer is evident from the changing ground compositions and it was thus very difficult to find stable points for the pin piles, which bear the structures with as minimal ground contact as possible.”

The large, 30-metre long bridge section, a key element of the construction, was assembled. What is special about this bridge section?

Judith Feldner: “The bridge actually consists of individual parts. However, this bridge section forms the levitating part of the bridge. So it needed to be inserted as a whole, since a different type of assembly was not possible in the Felsenmeer. It was already completely pre-assembled by the companies on the construction site and was therefore very heavy. It was difficult to lift the bridge section precisely through the trees of the Felsenmeer and into position. For this reason, a crane was required that can lift a total weight of 500 tonnes and has an approximately 60-metre long swivel arm that can be lowered almost horizontally.”

What construction measures were then taken?

Judith Feldner: “A large part of the work had been accomplished with the installation of the large bridge section. The other bridge sections, all of which were pieces approximately 7.5 metres in length, were installed successively. For time-related reasons, the wooden planking had already been attached in advance; hence, nearly complete parts were installed. Although the weather restricted the work, the timetable was not endangered. After the structural work, there were still path works to be done as well as the setup of an information system.”

Were the viewing platform, bridge and footbridge constructed only due to the horticultural show in the Felsenmeer?

Judith Feldner: “No. Rather, it was to allow the Felsenmeer to redevelop its touristic charisma on a sustained basis. Thus, in principle, the horticultural show served as a “kick-off event” for the long-term attractivization of the Felsenmeer for nature tourism. The revival of the Felsenmeer – which, besides the structures, also offers an information system for visitors, a rescue system, new path surfaces and new accommodation opportunities – is an important step in strengthening regional competitiveness.”

How high were the costs for the attractivization of the Felsenmeer?

Judith Feldner: “The total cost for all construction measures in this connection was approximately EUR 1.3 million. In total, funds of approximately 80% were approved by the EU-NRW-Ziel-2 programme and the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).” 

Further references of the Seppeler Group

Bilster Berg Drive Resort

Obszar: Cynkowanie ogniowe

Everything Under One Roof

Oszary: Cynkowanie ogniowe/Malowanie