Oresund Bridge – The Connection between Sweden and Denmark
For people in both Sweden and Denmark, communication reached a new height of ease when the governments of both countries took a major step in ‘bridging the gaps’ with the help of the Oresund Bridge. While the 16km long link between Denmark and Sweden has eased trade and travel, it also stood out in the entire Europe being one of the longest cable supported bridges which combines both road and rail. It is for this reason that the Oresund Bridge also serves the purpose of a tourist destination.
A wonder of civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, fire engineering, and risk scalability, the Oresund Bridge, which was opened for public in the year 2000, in between Sweden and Denmark comprises of a 4 km long tunnel under a 4 km long artificial island and not to forget an 8 km long cable supported bridge which supports both road ways and European heavy railways. It is the longest rail and road bridge in Europe with a length of 490 metres.
It is the combined effect of all these three different means that now it takes only ten minutes to commute between the two countries through either rail or road. It connects two major destinations of both countries, namely Malmo in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark. The Oresund Bridge was a result of the joint efforts of Hochtief, Skanska, Højgaard & Schultz and Monberg & Thorsen. It started in 1995 and came to a completion in August 1999.
Such were the sincere efforts behind the construction of the Oresund Bridge that though it faced two unforeseen setbacks in the form of the 16 unexploded bombs of the World War II which were found on the sea bed and the tunnel segments getting skewed inadvertently, the construction of the bridge got over three months before its scheduled date.
The initiative of building the artificial Danish island of Peberholm was in order to prevent air traffic disruption to the nearest Copenhagen International Airport and to enable the ships on the strait to steer clear in both good and bad weathers. Both Swedish and Danish government were clear in their priorities of having a bridge which was elegant and could keep the ecological balance intact. They wanted the initiative to be technically realistic and financially stable too. It was only when the plan fulfilled all these norms that the steps to this ambitious project were taken up.
The elevated part of the Oresund Bridge, which covers more than half of the gap between the borders of Denmark and Sweden, weighs 82,000 tonnes and comes with a four lane road which underneath covers two railway tracks. The artificial island of Peberholm is further connected to the Danish Amager islands with the help of the Drogden Tunnel which spans a length of 4,050 metres.
Apart from being a creational wonder, as the Oresund Bridge has contributed a great deal in encouraging the communication and economic prosperity of the region, it received the IABSE Outstanding Structure Award in 2002 as well.