Before the automobile era, waterways united – rather than divided nations, cities and cultures. For centuries the Öresund Sound was the central link in Denmark.
Today, the bridge is linking two countries and two cities – a sound connection after 138 years of planning.
The quest for a bridge across the sound arose already in the 1800s. The oldest tunnel proposal dates back to 1872. New proposals were then developed 1888 and 1914. In 1936 and again 1954, Skanska teamed up with Danish contractor Højgaard & Schultz to present a bridge and tunnel proposal.
The plans, which were presented in blueprints 100 meters in length, never came to realization. Nevertheless, the Skanska team persevered and bore fruit in November 1995 when the Skanska consortium, Sundlink Contractors, was entrusted with the project. The team comprised basically the same companies that first teamed up in 1936 – Skanska, Højgaard & Schultz, Monberg & Thorsen as well as Hochtief.
After a year of planning, the design, manning and procurement production started.
The high bridge’s four skyscraping pylons were cast on site. They rose at a rate of four meters per week peaking at 203.5 meters. The high bridge is 57 meters above sea level. The two approach bridges are totaling 6.8 kilometers in length.
The ownership of the bridge is shared 50/50 between Denmark and Sweden. Symbolically, in June 2000 HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and HRH Prince Frederik of Denmark met in the middle of the bridge to cut the ribbon to open the bridge.
Now, trains and cars and trucks traffic the new bridge. An average of 20,000 vehicles and 72,000 persons cross the sound every day.
It was delivered ahead of schedule, below budget and at the right quality. A given result you could say, but still it was not an easy match for such a complex project.
Skepticism was widespread in environmental circles.
In 2006, a Skåne County survey concluded that “zero tolerance has been met, with saltwater and oxygenated water flowing freely through the sound to the benefit, for example, of the cod population in the Baltic Sea.”
Surprisingly, a number of added positive effects were recorded. An estimated 160 tons of blue mussels now thrive on the concrete foundations and waterfowl, such as eider ducks, thrive on the abundance of food. The manmade island Pepparholm has become the new habitat for about 300 different plants and 13 different bird species in addition to a number of rare insects and the speckle-green frog.
Client: Öresund Consortium (jointly owned by Sweden and Denmark)
Total length: 7.8 km (16 km incl tunnel)
Height: 203.5 meters, navigation channel 57 meters
Capacity: Double rail-track, four highway lanes. On average 20,000 vehicles, 72,000 people passing per day
Year of completion: 2000
The bill for the entire link, including tunnel, amounted to SEK 18.6 billion.
Learn more at: www.skanska.com/oresundsbron
01. Blue, yellow, red and white – the spot where the Kingdoms of Denmark and Sweden meet has been marked with colors from the flags of both countries.
02. The manmade island Pepparholm has become the new habitat for about 300 different plants and 13 different bird species in addition to a number of rare insects.
03. Plans were already underway in the 19th century for bridges and tunnels (and a cableway!) across the Sound. Engineer Rudolf Liljeqvist’s designs from 1888 show an intended tunnel for train services – with steam-powered engines.