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How do you move a 1,200 ton pre-war bunker?

12 July 2017

Over 2,000 spectators gathered to watch the "spectacle" taking place near the Dutch town of Vreeswijk; a 1,200 ton concrete bunker being moved 100m away.

A colossus on the road: the 1,200 ton bunker being moved to its new position on 88 SCHEUERLE SPMT axle lines

The mission: lifting a 1,200 ton concrete bunker from its anchoring, transport it around 100m away, and then re-positioned onto the new foundations at an angle – in an almost playful way. A total of three bunkers are to be moved along with two water management structures in order to allow the shipping lane to be widened.

In the weeks prior to the transport, a specially constructed gantry was positioned on 88 SCHEUERLE SPMT axle lines, the bunker was disconnected from its foundations and then detached from the anchorage. This was not an easy task as drilling the holes to enable the gantry to be attached was difficult - only by using special drills could the heavily reinforced concrete be drilled through. On the other hand, the SPMTs from SCHEUERLE functioned without any problems whilst handling the difficult temporary road surface running between the old and new locations as well as the gantry´s high centre of gravity.

In order not to jeopardise the contemporary witness character of the bunker and to avoid the impression that history had been manipulated, the bunkers are randomly angled slightly upwards as "Objet Trouvé" at their new locations. Thus, it is always easy to see that they are not in their original positions.

The colossus was constructed before the Second World War as part of a series of defense structures designed to protect the Netherlands against the invasion of enemy forces. Nobody at the time would have imagined that three of these giants would be moved to a new location years later. 

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