G EMS A BRI DGE BE T W E E N US
Norway has long been identified by its fjords and mountains; enormous natural borders between communities. In recent years these boundaries, which are the root of such strong local identities, have gradually been transformed by ever improved transport networks.. Now the widest fjord of them all is set be bridged in an ambitious plan to bring the outlying communities in from the cold. The proposed bridge between Trondheim and Fosen would roughly follow the route of the existing ferry service between Flakk and Rørvik, a challenging 7.5km. The most likely design (as envisioned in the illustration) would be a 1400m suspension bridge linking Flakk to an underwater ‘mountain’, followed by an imposing 5700m floating bridge Floating, or pontoon bridges are built upon a series of watertight concrete platforms, which are secured to the ocean floor, which in this case is up to 500m below. At its highest point the arc of the bridge would be 90m above the sea, which is nearly enough to scrape Nidaros cathedral under, never mind the tallest sea liners. The plans also involve connecting the bridge directly to Trondheim by a tunnel to Ila. Alternatives to this crossing included a tunnel all the way under the fjord, though this pipe dream was quickly quashed by the logistics.
Proponents for the bridge argue that it would pay itself off in 40 years, open up new markets (in both directions) and replace 1.6 million ferry trips a year. Demanding projects also create new national knowledge, a view shared by Rissa Development boss Olbert Aasen: “It is highly likely, in our opinion, that the bridge being built, technically. We are working on the financing elements and the depreciation period should remain at 40 years. Had we had financing in place by now, we could have announced projects within one year.” Should the project be realised it will be the longest floating bridge in the world, but nowhere near the longest bridge in the world, that accolade belongs to Danyang-Kunshan Grand Bridge: Beijing-Shanghai, which is a ridiculous 165km long.
Gråkallbanen (“Gråkallen Line”) The northern-most tramway in the world, opened in July of 1924.
With a price tag of 12 billion kroner, the bridge is not without its own challenges. But the argument for the investment is that despite Trondheim having grown exponentially over the past 50 years (61% since 1964), Fosen has suffered an 8% loss in population in the same period. It is a curse which has befallen many of Norway’s inaccessible outlying areas, but experiences in Bergen suggest that large scale solutions can buck the trend. Askøy, a neighbouring kommune to Bergen, suffered from similar geographical restrictions as Fosen, before a bridge was opened in 1991. Askøy’s 115% population increase since the 60s, most of which occurred after the bridge’s construction, is now in line with the growth of other outlying areas.
T H E L I ST t rd TH E NINTH ISS UE
Published on Mar 7, 2016