Projects | 28. January 2021 Bridge rehabilitation via video chat with the other side of the world

It is the longest bridge in the region and a prestige object of the local government: the Holtekamp Bridge in West Papua, Indonesia. But just one year after its opening, serious problems with its stability became apparent. A material developed by Diamant Metallplastic GmbH, based in Mönchengladbach, Germany, and its application in Papua and supervision from Germany, via video chat saved the day. A premiere for Diamant in international bridge construction.

The “Jembatan Holtekamp”, as it is called in the local language of Papua, connects the capital of the province Jayapura with the district Muara Tami. At a length of 732 meters, it spans the strait that gives it its name: Holtekamp. As part of the now 4,325-kilometer Trans-Papua Highway, the Holtekamp Bridge, which opened in October 2018, is a key element of the infrastructure: it reduces travel time between Jayapura and major destinations by half.

Serious problem after only one year of operation

But this key success was called into question just one year after the bridge opened. The support of a bridge pier was endangered by an incorrectly supported and thus bent steel foundation plate. The entire statics of the bridge was at risk!

To correct the problem, a new steel foundation plate had to be inserted and to be connected to the existing elements in a form- and force-fit manner. The material of choice for this kind of bridge construction is MM1018 from Diamant Metallplastic GmbH in Mönchengladbach – known among  groups of experts as “liquid shim”. The operators and project managers of the Holtekamp Bridge also decided to use MM1018 for the urgent repair and commissioned Diamant Metallplastic with the execution in West Papua.

Video supervision against Corona

But then came Corona… The virus “infected” also this project and made all plans questionable. Especially the one to send a German DIAMANT construction team to Papua for application. 14-day quarantine measures on arrival in Guinea and on return to Germany were not justifiable in terms of costs.

On site in West Papua was a highly motivated but still inexperienced crew of the local DIAMANT trade partner for the application of MM1018 material.

However the Corona-Virus creates room for inventition and determination to push boundries. This was also the case in this project: It was decided to instruct and supervise the Papua team via video chat from the German Diamant headquarter in Mönchengladbach.

In nightly meetings – due to the nine-hour time difference – the management and product specialists monitored and instructed the MM1018 work on the bridge bearing on the “other side” of the world via live video. With success: Within only two days (or nights) including preparation, the five-man on-site team applied around 200 kilograms of MM1018 by injection. This ensured that the bridge bearing is now securely supported on its steel plate foundation with a 100% form and force fit. positive and non-positive fit.

With an a bridge closure of just 48 hours, an initially seemingly overwhelming problem was solved. Thanks to an innovative material – and thanks to a premiere in bridge construction: supervision via video chat from Mönchengladbach to the other end of the world.

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