The West Bridge, the Great Belt
In 1994 we completed the 6.6 kilometre West Bridge, which is part of Denmark's largest construction project to date: the Great Belt Fixed Link. We constructed the low bridge in concrete elements which were cast on land.
Europe's longest combined road and railway bridge
The West Bridge actually consists of two bridges: a four-lane motorway bridge and a railway bridge with two sets of tracks and overhead power lines. The Great Belt Fixed Link is Denmark's hitherto largest civil works project and Europe's longest combined road and railway bridge.
Concrete elements cast on Funen
We constructed the low bridge, which connects Funen and the island of Sprogø in the middle of the Great Belt, in concrete elements. The elements were cast at a production plant near the abutment on Funen. They were then transported and installed using the specially built floating crane "Svanen" (The Swan), which can lift up to 6,000 tons.
This arrangement allowed us to cast the concrete on land without regard to wind and weather, and using relatively few working hours.
Two 6,000 ton concrete girders
Two concrete girders were placed next to each other, one of which transfers the weight from the four-lane motorway, while the other carries the two railway tracks. Each girder weighs 6,000 tons and is 110 metres long. The girders rest on bridge pier shafts, which rest in turn on caissons. The West Bridge rests on a total of 63 bridge piers and two abutments.
Major preparatory work on the seabed
Before we placed the caissons, the seabed had to be levelled. A specially built vessel laid and compacted stones, after which the caissons were placed on the stones and filled with sand.
We installed the bridge piers on the caissons and after adjustment, they were cast together with them. The road girders and railway girders were then installed. The girders were later cast together and expansion joints established.
A popular bridge
The bridge has become a great success. The shortened travel time across the country is very popular, new jobs have been created in the nearby towns and new nature areas have been established.
Before the bridge was constructed, 40 trains crossed the Great Belt on ferries on a daily basis. Thanks to the bridge, the number of trains crossing the belt has increased to 140. The number of cars crossing the belt has more than tripled since the ferries stopped operating in 1997.