The city of Hamburg is building a modern new concert hall on the banks of the Elbe, the Elbphilarmonie. The 71m high hall is going to be put up using a group of tower cranes. However, access on the shore side is limited. Instead, Thoemen decided to bring a Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1 to the site on a pontoon, and work from the river.

Shortly before Christmas 2007, Thoemen’s 500t-capacity LTM 1500-8.1 was ferried to the job side to do the work from the waterside. On the building side for Hamburg’s future landmark space is limited: cranes, scaffoldings, material and vehicles use the little space that is available around the red brick building.

When a tower crane had to be taken down and re-erected, the area that the LM 1500-8.1 had used for the initial erection was in use. Instead, the 500t crane was driven on to a pontoon and pulled by a tug along the river Elbe to the job site.

The Elbe is tidal, and the water level changes by 3.6m every six hours. In addition, the motion of the river makes the water level change by around a centimetre every minute. This called for very careful and precise control of the load. Sightseeing boats passing along the river made operator Bernd Eichwurz’s job even more difficult: while they only made the pontoon move slightly, they caused the tip of the jib to oscillate dramatically.

To limit the rocking as far as possible, the largest pontoon available in Hamburg was used, with dimensions of 60m x 22m. Liebherr-Werk Ehingen calculated the exact load centre of gravity for each of the different slewing positions that would be used, so that the crane could be positioned in the best possible spot.

In the next months the LTM 1500.-8.1 will be ferried over the river Elbe several times for the erection of further tower cranes. The 1960s quay warehouse that forms the basis of the new concert hall will receive a futuristic looking 71m high glass addition. On a site where coffee and cocoa were stored, there will be two concert halls, a hotel with 240 rooms and 45 condominiums, as well as nearly 600 car parking spaces. The EUR450m project will be completed in 2010.