The largest infrastructure project ever on the drawing board in Denmark is one step further to being realized. In the wake of the first part of the preliminary phase for a fixed connection across the Kattegat sea area, COWI will assist in preparing a more detailed basis for deciding where best to establish the Kattegat Link, onshore and offshore. The projects will be carried out for the Danish Road Directorate; the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority; and Sund & Bælt.
Recent years have seen a significant increase in traffic between the eastern and western parts of Denmark, which mainly runs across the Great Belt Link and Funen. In that context, a fixed connection across Kattegat can contribute to strengthening mobility, increasing supply reliability, and reducing travel time between the two largest cities in Denmark, Copenhagen and Aarhus.
BASIS FOR FUTURE POLITICAL DISCUSSION
This March, COWI submitted the results of the first analysis phase of the preliminary study. In that phase, COWI investigated the possibilities of a rail connection and a combined road and rail connection across Kattegat, applying different corridors from Central Zealand to Aarhus via Samsø.
Now, COWI has won projects for the coming analysis phase, which involves narrowing down the number of possible corridors. For the Danish Road Directorate and the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority, COWI will assess possible corridors for road and rail infrastructure in Jutland and on Zealand, from an engineering and environmental perspective. And for Sund & Bælt, COWI will study the technical solutions between the coasts of Zealand and Jutland, including corridors via Sjællands Odde.
The purpose is to weigh up the pros and cons of the different corridors, and to prepare a solid basis for further political discussion about the next steps, including whether to proceed with an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Kattegat project.
ENGINEERING, ENVIRONMENT AND NATURE ARE PRIORITIZED
Onshore, COWI will study how the Kattegat connection could affect, e.g., nature, landscapes, people and urban communities. That calls for an interdisciplinary team with COWI, headed by Project Manager Dorte Petersen. She explains:
“We’ll be assessing and describing the consequences of the potential corridors based on an engineering, environmental and nature perspective. And we’ll look at what will be the best location for rail and road infrastructure, how to link the Kattegat connection to existing infrastructure, and how to achieve the shortest travel time. Besides being an enormous infrastructure project that must be technically feasible, it’s also about evaluating and reducing any negative impact that a fixed Kattegat connection will have on the environment and the local communities,” says Dorte Petersen.
A BRIDGE, A TUNNEL OR BOTH
Spearheaded by Peter Reinholdt, COWI will also contribute to uncovering the best suitable corridors and engineering solutions across Kattegat, from Zealand to Jutland:
“We’ll work on optimizing the project, and part of that is to uncover whether a bridge, a tunnel or a combination would be the best solution. And we’ll assess how the geotechnical conditions will affect the construction and structural solutions, and how a fixed Kattegat connection can affect navigation in the local waters. All of this will feed in to an overall weighing of the pros and cons of the potential corridors,” concludes Peter Reinholdt.