Norra länken – an important piece of the puzzle for Stockholm’s traffic
Skanska was assigned by the National Road Administration Stockholm to build the Värtan Interchange (NL52), which was one of Norra länken’s larger subprojects.
The Värtan Interchange links together Norra länken, Lidingövägen and Hamnvägen at Värtan. We built concrete decking over Hjorthagsvägen, including ramps and roads. The end result was a two-level, 350-meter-long interchange with connecting bridge ramps.
The Värtan Interchange was completed in 2014 and the entire Norra länken was inaugurated in 2015.
Project of national interest
The esthetic design was very important and was created in collaboration with the City of Stockholm.
The project was of national interest due to its connection to Värtahamnen and Frihamnen, which are the country’s most important harbors for freight and passenger traffic to the Baltic States, Finland and Russia.
NL52 was a large and complicated bridge construction with many different work stages. The construction site was squeezed in between a harbor, a railway, a bridge, Lidingövägen, Fortum and TV4. The activity level was intense in an area that was only approximately 900 x 500 meters.
Many aspects to consider
Road traffic, freight transportation and many other factors needed to be considered. Lidingövägen, which is used daily by over 40,000 vehicles, was open throughout the project. This meant that we needed to redirect the road several times. In addition, we needed to take the Värtabanan railway line into consideration, which is used to transport goods to and from Värtahamnen harbor. The railway had to be open throughout the construction period.
The Ropsten subway line is passing through the area, as well as ground conduits to Stockholm Vatten’s waterworks and the energy company Fortum’s facilities. Certain conduits could be avoided with the help of maps, but we had to dig up many conduits due to the vast number. Our task included laying new conduits; a total of five kilometers of conduits were laid within the small project area.
– It was an incredibly exciting and eventful project. The organization was considerable compared with many other projects. We had about 150 people on site. It was exciting to follow developments in the area as well. Some 10,000 new housing units, space for 30,000 office workers and a new shopping center were built. The harbor was renovated and Norra Djurgårdsstaden is situated just on the other side of Fortum, says Linus Lindström, Project Engineer.
Before the actual construction of the road could begin, we performed ground reinforcement measures in the form of pipe-laying and foundation work. Preparatory work for the traffic rerouting and concrete work were also been conducted.
Excavation and pile-driving followed the initial work. The ground consists of an old, clay seafloor, which means that we needed to use extra piles. Approximately 27,500 meters were used in total.
The excavation work involved approximately 16,000 cubic meters of rock excavation and 130,000 cubic meters of soil excavation. The amount of rock that was removed was sufficient to fill 85 three-room apartments that are 75 square meters in size and the soil that was stripped would have filled almost 700 three-room apartments of the same size.
Rock was crushed on site for reuse in road construction thus reducing haulage costs for removing rock and bringing road material to the site.
Ground conditions were different from our initial expectations and thus posed a challenge. However, we solved this challenge and kept to the timetable.
Traffic in the middle of the worksite
The project was subject to the restraints imposed by the four reroutings of the traffic on Lidingövägen, which sees 40,000 vehicles a day. Each rerouting enabled us to have access to a new area to continue our work. Traffic rerouting functioned very smoothly.
About 150 people worked on NL52, which was the only major bridge project for Norra länken.
Sustainability and green workplace
Valhallavägen and Lidingövägen are among Stockholm’s most heavily trafficked inner-city roads. The Värtan Interchange significantly reduces the traffic volume on these stretches of road. In addition, Norra länken runs mostly through tunnels. Overall, this results in lower noise levels, lower carbon dioxide levels and a safer traffic environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
Norra länken 52 Värtan Interchange was a Green Workplace, which means that we worked to reduce our environmental footprint by carefully controlling the use of chemicals, documenting our energy consumption and minimizing amounts of waste.
Green rail transport
The railroad that runs through the area enabled materials to be transported all the way to the project site by train. For large shipments, it was therefore possible to use rail and waterborne freight instead of road transport. When over 200 tons of steel beams were purchased from Estonia, we chose rail (Green Cargo) and waterborne transport, instead of using road transport. According to our calculations, this resulted in an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
We always try to think about the environment down to the smallest details. Some examples include the fact that we drink regular tap water instead of bottled water and we use bicycles provided by Skanska to get around the worksite.
Our work on the Värtan Interchange was the first step towards developing the harbor area, where a new city neighborhood, Norra Djurgårdsstaden, has developed.
Winner of two environmental awards
In 2011, NL52 was awarded Skanska Sweden’s worksite health and safety award and the Swedish Transport Administration’s work environment prize. Furthermore, we have worked more than 700,000 hours without accidents resulting in absence, which demonstrates that we have earned these awards. Safety permeates everything we do.