Reaching for the skies in Linz

Two transport platforms from the manufacturer GEDA support the refurbishment work on the New Cathedral in Linz – a challenge at dizzying heights

It is a landmark in the Austrian city of Linz and is considered the symbol of the Upper Austria region: The New Cathedral or Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the country’s largest church and its history goes back many centuries. It is said that an edict from the emperor was the reason why the 134.80 metres high tower on the New Cathedral had to be built about two metres lower than that of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna.


The landmark is crumbling

The tower of the time-honoured church is currently concealed behind scaffolding, though – it is undergoing comprehensive refurbishment work. The extensive renovation of the New Cathedral in Linz is one of the most spectacular construction sites in the Alpine country. The façade had been a great worry for a long time. Crumbling sandstone and weathered joints have had a detrimental effect on the tower in particular. A network of around 3.5 km of joints between the sandstone blocks as well as all stone parts and statue elements consequently are now in need of repair. On the inside, the platforms were repaired and dilapidated stairs were replaced.

Working at dizzying heights

With support from other companies, the extensive work is primarily carried out by the Dombauhütte Linz [Linz masons’ lodge]. A large number of specialists are working to preserve the mighty building. Stonemasons are hammering away at great heights and vast amounts of materials have to be transported up to a height of 130 metres on the tower.
No less than 150 tons of material were required for putting up the scaffolding around the tower. The situation is compounded by the immense wind load acting on the scaffolding and the façade as well as by the work required at dizzying heights. Renovating the New Cathedral is, without a doubt, a mammoth task that presents the experts on site with great challenges.
With the support of two transport platforms, the tower of the historic church is set to be brought back into shape. To support the smooth and efficient flow of the complex renovation work, EKRO Kronsteiner GmbH delivered a transport platform GEDA 500 Z/ZP and a transport platform GEDA 1500 Z/ZP, which were purchased by the Bischof Rudigier Foundation.


Up to the spire with transport platforms

Not only workers, but also all materials had to be transported up to a height of 130 metres for the refurbishments of the spire. Scaffolding material and workers were transported to their destination in two stages.
The first construction phase included the installation of the GEDA 1500 Z/ZP transport platform with a steel tube support scaffolding up to a height of 75 metres. Approximately at the level of the tower clock, from 42 metres upwards, the base scaffolding was continued on all eight sides of the tower. This base scaffolding supports the actual spire scaffolding, alongside which the second GEDA transport platform 500 Z/ZP was installed. The transport platform was lifted to its workplace at the great height of 75 metres with a truck-mounted crane. From there, the scaffolding was installed over the stone balcony of the spire with the spire cross up to 130 metres.


Indispensable transport helpers

The transport platforms from GEDA are the strong partner for heavy loads and efficient working in the rough environment of construction sites. Whether new buildings or refurbishment projects – the unique quality and durability of original GEDA transport platforms are rated highly at construction sites worldwide. The many different platform versions allow optimum, flexible use for virtually any construction project. The spacious open-top platforms provide sufficient space for all types of construction materials.
Equipped with two separate control units, the devices can be used as a construction hoist for transporting only materials but are also approved for transporting passengers. In material mode, the GEDA 500 Z/ZP transports loads up to 1000 kg, or five persons with a maximum load capacity of 500 kg in passenger mode.
The GEDA 1500 Z/ZP transport platform, on the other hand, is guided on two masts and can transport seven passengers in passenger mode or a load of up to 2000 kg in material mode. Despite the high load capacities, the proven two-mast system of the GEDA 1500 Z/ZP ensures stable and smooth running.
With 12 m/min in passenger mode and 24 m/min in material mode, both transport platforms guarantee rapid construction progress while ensuring optimum logistics at the construction site for installation of the scaffolding and for all subsequent work.
For decades, GEDA has been setting standards in terms of both quality and safety. The GEDA 500 Z/ZP and GEDA 1500 Z/ZP transport platforms are of course equipped with the usual safety devices such as limit switches, speed-dependent safety gear, safety stop and overload protection. A wide range of hot-dip galvanized landing level safety gates provide for safe transfer between the platform and the respective landing level.
The automatic lubrication device, which ensures significantly lower wear on the gear rack and pinion, is included with the GEDA 500 Z/ZP and GEDA 1500 Z/ZP platforms as a standard


Work to continue until 2021

With respect to financing, the “Pro Mariendom” initiative is asking for donations as the refurbishment with all the necessary measures is very expensive. Over the next ten years, renovation and maintenance of the mighty church are estimated to cost 13.5 million euros. The largest share comes from the church, with further support from public funds as well as proceeds from donations and sponsoring.

The refurbishment work on the spire was completed at the end of 2019. The complete tower is set to be restored to its glory in 2021. But the landmark of the Upper Austria region still requires other work as well, such as the restoration of the stained glass windows, some of which still show damage from World War II. So it will still be a while until the New Cathedral in Linz can shed its (scaffolding) layers and present itself in its full glory once again.