How do civil engineers design a bridge?

Transport engineer

They plan and design roads, railways and other traffic routes - and Nicole Hellmann (27) is one of them. The traffic engineering engineer is responsible for the construction and renovation of bridges in the area of ​​the city of Nuremberg.

Bridge construction - that is something like the supreme discipline for civil engineers, as Nicole Hellmann explains. “The construction of bridges encompasses civil engineering in equal measure. There are all sorts of different materials that are used to build bridges, and numerous legal regulations have to be observed for every new building and every renovation. ”The 27-year-old is currently in charge of the construction of a footbridge and cycle path bridge in Bavaria's second largest city. "Overall, there are currently more bridge renovations than new buildings," explains the engineer, who is employed by the Nuremberg Public Space Service, a company owned by the city.

For small projects, she draws up the plans herself, on the basis of which a bridge or part of a bridge is redesigned. For most projects, however, she works with engineering firms who are commissioned with the design work. “I discuss exactly how we want the bridge to be with the external service providers. After the engineering office has submitted the draft, it is examined intensively. The given budget for implementation must not be exceeded either. ”Spatial imagination is helpful for her work. “Not everything can be depicted realistically and in detail on the plans. You have to be able to deduce from the sketches what the bridge or other structure will look like after completion, ”says the engineer.

Comprehensive coordination tasks

Construction work on roads and bridges requires extensive coordination. How long does a traffic route have to be blocked off? Which diversions can be set up for drivers? Can the tram continue or can a line no longer be served for a long time? These are all questions that must be clarified in good time with those responsible. “Supply and disposal lines for telecommunications, gas, electricity and sewage run underground. Before any construction work can begin, I therefore invite everyone involved to present the plans to them. Afterwards, numerous coordinations are carried out. ”Even in the planning phase of a project, it is important for Nicole Hellmann to keep track of things at all times.

Present on site

The civil engineer completed her bachelor's degree at the Technical University of Nuremberg. She then worked for a construction company. “I was able to gain important experience there, but I missed the fact that I was never on a construction site,” she says. Since moving to the service point of the city of Nuremberg, the engineer has also taken on the construction management of the projects for which she is responsible. It monitors directly on site whether the contracted companies are carrying out the construction work properly. She oversees the individual projects together with a construction technician who supports her with the cost accounting, among other things. <<