Oresund Bridge

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Oresund Bridge
Øresundsbroen, Öresundsbron
Oresund BridgeØresundsbroen, Öresundsbron
Carries 4 lanes of European route E20
Double track Oresund Railway Line
Crosses Oresund strait (The Sound)
Locale Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden
Design Cable-stayed bridge
Longest span 490 metres (1,608 ft)
Total length 7,845 metres (25,738 ft)
Width 23.5 metres (77.1 ft)
Clearance below 57 metres (187 ft)
AADT ca. 17,000 road vehicles
Opening date July 2, 2000
Toll 260DKK[1] /325SEK[2] /36EUR[3]
Coordinates 55°34′31″N 12°49′37″E / 55.57528°N 12.82694°E / 55.57528; 12.82694

The Øresund or Öresund Bridge (Danish: Øresundsbroen, Swedish: Öresundsbron, joint hybrid name: Øresundsbron) is a combined two-track rail and four-lane road bridge-tunnel across the Öresund strait. It is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe and connects the two metropolitan areas of the Öresund Region: the Danish capital of Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö. The international European route E20 runs across the bridge and through the tunnel via the two lane motorway, as does the Öresund Railway Line. The bridge is the longest border crossing bridge in the world,[4] but due to the Schengen Agreement, there are no passport or customs controls.

Contents

[edit] Name

In Sweden and Denmark the bridge is most often referred to as Öresundsbron or Øresundsbroen, respectively. The bridge company itself insists on Øresundsbron, a compromise between the two languages which would symbolise a common cultural identity of the region, the people becoming 'Öresund citizens' once the bridge was established. Since it is actually a bridge and a tunnel, it is sometimes more technically correctly named the Öresund Link or Öresund Connection (Danish: Øresundsforbindelsen, Swedish: Öresundsförbindelsen). The Sound Bridge is occasionally heard, using the traditional English name of the strait.

[edit] History

Construction began in 1995. The last section was constructed on 14 August 1999. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden met midway to celebrate its completion. The official inauguration took place on 1 July 2000, with Queen Margrethe II, and King Carl XVI Gustaf, presiding. The bridge was opened for traffic later that day. Before the inauguration 79,871 runners competed in a half marathon (Broloppet, the Bridge Run) from Amager (in Denmark) to Skåne (in Sweden) on 12 June, 2000. The bridge was finished three months ahead of schedule.

Initially the usage of the bridge was not as high as expected, which was generally attributed to the expense of crossing. However, 2005 and 2006 saw a rapid increase in the volume of traffic on the bridge. This phenomenon may be due to Danes buying homes in Sweden and commuting to work in Denmark, because the price of housing in Malmö is lower than in Copenhagen. In 2008, a single car ride across the bridge cost DKK 260, SEK 325 or €36 (however, discounts of up to 75% are available for regular users). In 2007, almost 25 million people travelled over the bridge, 15.2 million in cars and buses and 9.6 million by train.

[edit] Features

Aerial Photo of Oresund Bridge.

The bridge has one of the longest cable-stayed main spans in the world at 490 metres (1,608 ft). The height of the highest pillar is 204 metres (669 ft). The total length of the bridge is 7,845 metres (25,738 ft), which is approximately half the distance between the Swedish and Danish landmasses, and its weight is 82,000 tonnes. On the bridge, the two rail-tracks are beneath the four road lanes. The bridge has a vertical clearance of 57 metres (187 ft), although most boat traffic across Oresund still passes over the Drogden strait (where the tunnel lies). The bridge was designed by Arup.

[edit] Peberholm, artificial island

The bridge ends in the middle of Øresund, on an artificial island, called Peberholm. The island is more than 4 km long and a few hundred metres wide, belongs to Denmark and is now an unpopulated natural reserve.

[edit] The Drogden Tunnel

Satellite image of the Oresund Bridge.

The connection between Peberholm and the nearest populated part of Denmark is through a tunnel, called the Drogden Tunnel (Drogdentunnelen). The tunnel is 4,050 metres (13,287 ft) long, a 3,510-metre (11,500 ft) long buried undersea tunnel plus two 270-metre (890 ft) entry-tunnels. The reason for building a tunnel instead of another section of bridge is that the Copenhagen Airport is nearby.

[edit] Rail transport

View from Malmö

The public transport by rail is operated jointly by the Swedish Skånetrafiken and the Danish Danske Statsbaner. A series of new dual-voltage trains were developed which link the Copenhagen area with Malmö and Southern Sweden as far as Gothenburg and Kalmar on selected departures. The bridge is also served by X2000 trains from Stockholm. Copenhagen Airport at Kastrup is served by its own train station close to the western bridgehead. Trains operate every 20 minutes over the crossing and once an hour during the night.

The rail section is double track standard gauge (1435 mm) and capable of high-speeds exceeding 200 km/h. There were challenges related to the difference in electrification and signalling between the Danish and Swedish railway networks. The solution chosen is to switch the electrical system, from Swedish 15 kV, 16,7 Hz to Danish 25 kV, 50 Hz AC right before the eastern bridgehead at Lernacken in Sweden. The line is signalled according to the standard Swedish system across the length of the bridge. On Peberholm, the line switches to Danish signalling which continues into the tunnel. Sweden runs railways with left-hand traffic and Denmark with right-hand traffic. The switch is made at the Malmö railway station, which is also a terminus. For the new Malmö City Tunnel connection a bridge will pass one track over to the other side.

[edit] Costs

On the bridge

The cost for the entire Øresund connection construction, including motorway and railway connections on land, was calculated at DKK 30.1 billion according to the 2000 year price index, with the cost of the bridge paid back by 2035. In 2006 Sweden began spending a further SEK 9.45 billion on the Malmö City Tunnel as a new rail connection to the bridge; it is due for completion in 2011.

The connection will be entirely user financed. The owner company is owned half by the Danish government and half by the Swedish government. This owner company has taken loans guarranteed by the governments to finance the connection, and the user fees are the only incomes for the company now. After the increase in traffic these fees are enough to pay the intereste and begin paying back the loans, which is expected to take about 30 years.

The tax payers have not paid for the bridge and the tunnel, however tax money has been used for the land connections. Especially on the Danish side the land connection has domestic benefit, mainly connecting the airport to the railway network. The Malmö City Tunnel has the benefit of connection the southern part of the inner city to the rail network, and allowing many more trains to and from Malmö. The existing station is a bottleneck limiting the number of trains, so that people have to stand onboard some trains, especially over the Oresund Bridge, and the passenger figures are still increasing.

[edit] Toll charge

Cross-section of the tunnel

In February 2009, the toll for driving the fixed link was as follows (one way trip without discount) in Danish kroner (DKK), Swedish kronor (SEK) and euro (EUR):

Vehicle DKK[1] SEK[2] EUR[3]
Motorcycle 150 190 21
Standard car 275 345 38
Motorhome/car+caravan 550 690 75
Minibus (6-9 metres) 550 690 75
Bus (longer than 9 metres) 1145 1430 157
Lorry/truck (9-20 metres) 795 995 109
Lorry/truck (over 20 metres) 1190 1490 163
Train ticket[5] 78 98

Note that the Swedish prices are, according to media, likely to be raised soon after February 2009, because of a change in the exchange rate (to about DKK 0:70), making the Swedish prices lower than the Danish.

There has been criticism against the tolls which are much higher than many consider reasonable for a bridge. However they are compatible with the ferry charges that were before the bridge was built and for the ferries still running between Helsingborg-Helsingør, and people are more used to these ferry charges.

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Øresundsbron - kontantpriser (Danish)
  2. ^ a b Øresundsbron - kontantpriser (Swedish)
  3. ^ a b Øresund Bridge - cash prices (English)
  4. ^ http://osb.oeresundsbron.dk/documents/document.php?obj=1003
  5. ^ http://www.oresundstag.se

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

Coordinates: 55°34′N 12°51′E / 55.57°N 12.85°E / 55.57; 12.85

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