2024. 02. 01..

The bridge over the Hungarian-Slovakian border was put into operation at the end of October, and its construction had a few surprises in store for the team.

After the completion of the technical handover (20th September, 2023), the Drégelypalánk bridge was opened to traffic on the Hungarian side by the end of October, but we cannot pass by the history and the construction complications without mentioning them.


The contract for the bridge project, which will connect Drégelypalánk and Ipolyhídvég over the river Ipoly in the spirit of Slovak-Hungarian partnership, was signed at the end of July 2021.

The project consists of three parts. Part I. was the construction of the bridge connecting the two countries over the Ipoly river, part II. was the Hungarian side road connection and part III. was the construction of the Slovak side road connection, similar to the Ipolydamásd bridge, which was opened in parallel.

However, the structure of the bridge is very different from that of the ipolydamásdi bridge, also a single-span bridge, but with a single span, steel arch and struts, connected by suspension rods of a mesh design. I-section braces are surrounded by a reinforced concrete deck, post-tensioned longitudinally. The bridge structure is supported on 2 to 2 trusses.

The entire area of the bridge was constructed in a National Landscape Conservation Area.


During the site preparation works, it became clear that the remains of the old stone bridge were present on both the Slovak and Hungarian sides, and after surveying it became clear that the supports of the planned bridge, the two ends of the bridge, would fall on the supports of the old stone bridge. The excavation work also revealed that the abutments are founded to a depth of 7 m, which means that we cannot carry out the planned deep foundation work, i.e. the piling.  Of course, these were not included in the tender or the plans, so this was the first real turning point in the feasibility of the bridge.

We proposed a solution for the foundations, whereby the new piles would be placed around the old foundations. This was accepted by both the designers and our clients, and with the new foundation plans in place, construction could begin in spring 2022.

As with the Ipolydamásd bridge, the border bridge at Drégelypalánk also had a major problem with the Hungarian-Slovak construction interface. The construction plans and the tender did not address this very important issue. The problem could only be solved as a result of lengthy negotiations, which largely ended with us having to undertake a number of additional works in order to make it feasible.

We then moved ahead at a rapid pace, as we had to keep to the weekly schedule in order to complete the installation and welding of the steel stiffening struts and arched main struts and the reinforced concrete slab for the connecting track slab by the end of the year, as we were afraid of the hectic water levels of the Ipoly.

Unfortunately, this became the third turning point in the feasibility of the bridge, as our fears were confirmed: in the winter and spring of 2023, the true face and power of the river Ipoly showed itself, confronting the construction with a huge flood. We had to stop for weeks, unable to approach the bridge. On the Hungarian side, 200 metres of water separated us from the bridge.

After the floodwaters receded and the debris was cleared away, we had to resume construction work at a very tight pace in order to complete the construction of the footpath and the raised kerb on the bridge, and then the finishing work and hydraulic engineering by the autumn. A major complicating factor, if not a turning point, was the reorganisation within the company, which made it difficult to carry out the work.  Then, in the summer of 2023, our client announced that he wanted us to deliver early and that we would have to finish the construction 1-1.5 months earlier.

On 20th September 2023, instead of 28th October 2023, as already mentioned in the introduction, the early technical handover procedure was completed.

Colas Hungária