Last weekend marked the opening of the Hardanger Bridge. This is a bridge over Norway’s second largest fjord, Hardanger, south of Bergen. It will eliminate the need for the ferry crossing, and cut a serious chunk into seven hour driving time between Oslo and Bergen (reducing it by up to 2 hours).
Now, this is not just any bridge. As it happens, building fjord crossings is challenging for a number of reasons.
- Fjords are deep. Really deep. Like 1.5km deep. A conventional bridge with pylons is out of the question
- Fjords are wide. Really wide. Like 1km wide. Suspension bridges will be an engineering challenge.
- Fjords meet near vertical rock faces. Any bridge will need to go directly into the mountain.
- Cruise liners love fjords. They go and hang out up there daily. A bridge will still need to allow a towering cruise liner to pass through.
So, four years in the making, and 2.3 billion NOK (approx 480 million NZD) later, here is Norway’s latest bridge:
- At time of building world’s longest suspension bridge, at 1.3km. While some bridge in China is now longer, it is still the world’s longest tunnel-to-tunnel suspension bridge, with 2.5km of tunnel either side.
- 55m clearance, allowing ample space for the cruise liners
- 200m high
- Costs 150NOK to cross
- Comes complete with pedestrian and cycle crossing (they can cross free)
A video of someone driving across it just before it opened: http://www.bt.no/tv/Slik-blir-turen-over-broen-2948391.html#.UhNcp9J9vcw