Is a combined road and rail bridge which crosses the Øresund strait and running for almost 8km (5mi) from the Swedish coast to the artificial island of Peberholm in the middle of the strait. The bridge is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe and, along with the Drogden Tunnel, connects the Danish capital of Copenhagen with Sweden’s third largest city Malmö. It was the last piece in a connection that linked the Scandinavian Peninsula with continental Europe. The bridge also carries a data cable that carries internet transmissions between Europe and Scandinavia.
Construction of the bridge begun in 1995 and opened to traffic on July 1, 2000. The idea of a bridge was proposed in 1936 as both Sweden and Denmark looked to expand their motorway networks. WWII saw the plan dropped but was picked up again in 1950’s and 60’s as both governments studied the idea. The construction was delayed when a disagreement erupted as to where the bridge should be. Several argued it would be better at the narrowest part of the Øresund Strait, between Helsingør & Helsingborg. Eventually it was decided to give its present location to allow a more direct link from Malmö to Copenhagen.
An agreement was signed in 1973, however again was cancelled due to the Middle Oil Crisis and the economic problems which came with it. As things improved in the 1980’s a new agreement was signed in 1991.
Athough traffic increased 61% with the opening of the bridge, it wasn’t the increase that was expected, this was mainly due to the high toll that were imposed. In the last 10 years the traffic levels have been increasing as many Danes take advantage of lower housing prices in Malmö and commuting to Copenhagen to work by train.
Length: 7845m (25,738 ft)
Main span: 491m (1611ft)
Weight: 82,000 tonnes
The bridge consists of 4 lanes for traffic on top and 2 rail lines underneath
The towers reach a height of 204m (669ft) which allows shipping a clearance of 57m (187ft). Most ship captains however prefer to pass through the Drogden strain above the Drogden Tunnel.
Originally a second bridge was planned but because of the high restrictions due the close proximity of Copenhagen Airport, along with a concern of another bridge creating problems for shipping, it was decided to build a tunnel. The tunnel connects the man-made island of Peberholm to the island of Amager next to Copenhagen and is composed of a 3510 m (11,516 ft) tube which is immersed and layed in a trench on the sea bed. The tube is made of 20 concrete segments each weighing 55,000 tonnes and has five smaller tubes inside, 2 for road traffic, 2 for rail traffic and an emergency tunnel in the centre.
Length: 4050m (13,287 ft)
The total cost were €4 billion
The connection is entirely user financed with the owner company half owned by the Danish government and half owned by the Swedish government. The owner company has taken out loans, guaranteed by both Governments, to finance the construction. It is estimated that the tolls collected with repay the loan and interest in 30 years.
The bridge has also bought an economic gain to the region. It has been estimated that it has generated, through easier commuting and trade, almost €9 million so far and it is expected to grow at more than €1 billion a year.