MT Højgaard builds Norway's longest suspension bridge

19. August 2013

Hardanger Bridge in Norway opened to traffic at the weekend. MT Højgaard built the bridge, which has a main span of 1,310 metres and connects the mountains on either side of Hardanger Fjord.

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The opening of Hardanger Bridge makes the journey between the Norwegian cities of Bergen and Oslo significantly quicker. The bridge opened on Saturday, with 2,000 people attending to celebrate the event.

The celebration had a Danish touch, since MT Højgaard carried out the steel and as-sembly work on the bridge.

10,000 wires in each cable

MT Højgaard has worked on the bridge since 2009, during which time approximately 15,000 tons of steel have been assembled. The two suspension cables alone weigh 6,400 tons, and were installed using a wheeled cable track which rolled back and forth across the fjord at a height of 200 metres. Each cable has a diameter of 60 cm, and contains 10,000 wires.

The traffic lanes comprise 23 steel sections each weighing 400 tons. They were shipped in under the bridge and hoisted up by means of a specially constructed crane, after which they were welded together.

"The shape of the bridge resembles the new Little Belt Bridge and the Farø Bridge in Denmark, and several other suspension bridges we have built over the years. In terms of method, we refined some techniques and developed special equipment for the project which we expect to make use of in the future," says Henning Schultz, divisional director at MT Højgaard.

Good collaboration on the bridge

The weather was the biggest challenge during the construction. It is very windy be-tween the mountains and due to safety considerations, work cannot be carried out at height over the water in strong winds. But when the weather is fine, the view from the bridge is amazing and our personnel enjoyed working on one of the world's most attractive construction sites.

─ It was a very special experience for our people to be part of constructing Hardanger Bridge, which is already an iconic landmark for the area. The project provided many challenges, and we enjoyed a good and solution-oriented collaboration with both our sub-contractors and our client, Statens Vegvesen, says Henning Schultz.

80 years experience with steel bridges
The bridge is about two hours' drive from Bergen and replaces a ferry route across the scenic Hardanger Fjord. The bridge has two traffic lanes and a combined cycle lane and footpath. On either side of the fjord, the approach to the bridge is via tunnels through the mountains.

MT Højgaard has built steel bridges worldwide over the last 80 years. Among the most well-known are the two Little Belt Bridges, the Farø Bridges, The Øresund Bridge, Högakusten Bridge in Sweden and Pont de Normandie in France.

Facts about Hardanger Bridge

  • Total length: 1,380 metres
  • Main span: 1,310 metres 
  • Height of pylons: 202.5 metres
  • Sailing height under the bridge: 55 metres
  • Client: Statens Vegvesen
  • Total price: NOK 2.3 billion
  • Steel and assembly work: MT Højgaard
  • Concrete work: Veidekke
  • Approach roads: AF Gruppen
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