A bridge connecting the districts

New pedestrian and bicycle bridges connect Hamburg’s central districts  

Visualisierung der belebten Brücke zwischen den Stadtteilen

In the future, the Elbtower will take on an important urban planning function: the new bridges over Billhafen harbour and the Oberhafenkanal will significantly reduce the distance between HafenCity and Rothenburgsort– for the benefit of the whole city.

The two districts of HafenCity and Rothenburgsort are only a few hundred metres apart. The Elbe bridges connect HafenCity with Hamburg’s city centre. However, anyone trying to travel from HafenCity to Rothenburgsort – or vice versa, whether for a visit, for shopping or for a cultural event – has to overcome some adversity.


This is because between the two parts of the city lie the Billhafen harbour and the Oberhafenkanal, which joins the Elbe at the eastern tip of Hafencity. The biggest obstacle, however, is the Billhorner Brückenstraße, one of Hamburg’s most important traffic arteries. Every day, 130,000 vehicles drive along this road, pedestrians and cyclists are not really welcome.

The new bridges are designed to change that. The first is an approximately one-hundred-metre-long bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. It will connect eastern HafenCity with the Elbtower and Entenwerder, the green peninsula in southern Rothenburgsort. Construction is scheduled to start in 2023.

Direct connection across the canal

The neighbouring districts around the Elbtower will then benefit from a direct and uncomplicated connection. For the first time, people from Rothenburgsort will be able to get quickly to the Elbbrücken underground and S-Bahn station. Workplaces, shopping facilities as well as social infrastructure facilities – such as daycare centres and schools in HafenCity – can also be reached more quickly.

Likewise, residents and employees of the Elbbrücken Quarter and the Elbtower can easily get to the Entenwerder peninsula, a 13-hectare recreational area.

Visualisierung der belebten Brücke zwischen den Stadtteilen
Planung der Brücke zwischen den Stadtteilen

Design by Gerkan, Marg and Partner

The bridge was designed by the architects Schlaich Bergermann Partner together with Gerkan, Marg und Partner (gmp). The engineering firm Spieth Beratende Ingenieure. gmp had already designed the Elbbrücken underground and suburban railway station in 2019 and provided urban planning support for the quarter. The new structure spans the Oberhafenkanal with a very dynamic gesture that picks up on the Elbtower’s curved shape and the Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall. The bridge will be 135 metres long and rest on two pillars. There is 75 metres of space between the pillars so that shipping traffic can pass beneath unhindered.

Part of the mobility concept

The bridge will become an integral part of Hamburg’s new mobility concept. A cycle path in both directions, a footpath plus recreational areas at the bridgeheads will also be created. In addition, the construction will extend the busy Elbe cycle path on the southern bank of Entenwerder. In the future, a tunnel and further bridges for cyclists and pedestrians are planned in HafenCity, one of which will cross Billhafen harbour in the immediate vicinity of the Elbtower.

In doing so, a continuous belt for alternative mobility will be created in the near future, stretching from the districts of Veddel and Grasbrook on the Elbe’s south side to the Bille in the north. A variety of districts will become a networked city, with the Elbtower rising in the middle.

Images: © sbp_gmp_architects

Visualisierung der belebten Brücke zwischen den Stadtteilen
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