Sunday, May 20, 2007

Great Belt Fixed Link: Linking the Danish nation

One of the greatest engineering feats carried out by the Danes is the construction of the Great Belt Fixed Link in Denmark. So called, as it is a combination of a suspension bridge, an underwater tunnel and a box girder bridge. The whole combo spans the strait of Great Belt, connecting the two main islands of Zealand and Funen.

The link consisting of the Eastern Bridge, or the suspension bridge has provisions for both rail and road. It connects the connecting, man-made islet of Sprogo to the city of Halsskov on the island of Zealand.

The Western Bridge or the Box Girder Bridge is a road and rail bridge that links the city of Knudshoved on Funen Island with that of islet of Sprogo. From there onwards, the rail tracks then goes underwater through the eastern tunnel towards the island of Zealand.

The suspension bridge, also called the Eastern Bridge, has the world’s second longest free span of about 1.6 km. The longest is that of Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Kobe, Japan, which has a ‘suspension of 1.99 km. The total length of the Great Belt link is a little over 6.6 kilometers.

Previously, the strait would be crossed using ferries that would take as much as an hour, but nowadays with two bridges and the tunnel, it only takes 10 minutes.

This link is the biggest development project ever undertaken in the Danish nation. It cost some 21 billion Danish Kroner. The construction, after much debate, started in 1991 and finishing in 1997. It was formally inaugurated on June 14, 1998.

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