The project aims at improving transport connections between Sweden and Denmark and thereby strengthening cultural and economic co-operation. The Øresund Link, which comprises a 4-lane motorway and a double-track railway, consists of a man-made peninsula, a 4,050 m, long immersed tunnel and a 7.8 km long bridge. The consortium Øresundskonsortiet was established on the 27th of January 1992 with the mission to plan, build, finance, own and operate the Fixed Link.
The project aims at improving transport connections between Sweden and Denmark and thereby strengthening cultural and economic co-operation. The Fixed Link across the Øresund is expected to stimulate the development of a joint labour and housing market at each side of Øresund. In short the link is expected to further the integration of the Øresund Region, paving the way for successful competition with Europe’s other regional centres.
The Øresund Link, which comprises a 4-lane motorway and a double-track railway, consists of three distinct elements:
- A man-made peninsula adjacent to Copenhagen airport (Kastrup) and a 4 km long man-made island (called Peberholm) located south of Saltholm and roughly in the middle of the Øresund.
- A 4,050 meters long immersed tunnel positioned between the Copenhagen peninsula and Peberholm.
- A bridge of 7.8 km length between the artificial island and the Swedish coast south of Malmö.
The decision to construct the Link was taken after lengthy discussions, mainly about the environmental aspects of the works and the predicted increase of road traffic. It was stated from the beginning of the project that the fixed link should be designed and constructed with due consideration of what is ecologically motivated, technically feasible and economically reasonable.
The realisation of the three elements were tendered in various contracts: a dredging-, a tunnel- and a bridge contract, respectively. In terms of environmental impact control, it was predicted that the dredging operations would have the most serious impact. Although some environmental requirements were also applicable on the operation of the tunnel and bridge contracts, the present chapter focuses on the dredging project.
The project development process followed a philosophy which agrees to a large extent with the Building with Nature (BwN) principles. From the very beginning of the project thorough knowledge of the ambient biotic and abiotic ecosystem was the basis of the design and environmental effects were a point of concern. Throughout the project this environmental concern was addressed and communicated with stakeholders and the public at large. The environmental responsibilities of all actors were included in their respective contracts prior to project execution.
Øresundskonsortiet was established on the 27th of January 1992 with the mission to plan, build, finance, own and operate the Fixed Link. The consortium is jointly owned by the states of Sweden and Denmark, on a 50-50 basis and through two companies: A/S Øresundsforbindelsen (Denmark) and Svenska-Danska Broförbindelsen SVEDAB AB (Sweden).
Right from the beginning of the planning process, Øresundskonsortiet adopted “Design & Construct” as a contract form for the realisation of the works. By doing so, they achieved a clear division of responsibilities between the owner (Øresundskonsortiet) and the contractor, an approach that proved to work well in practice. In terms of environmental effects, this meant that the contractors had to take full responsibility for the detailed design, construction methods and materials used in their part of the works, whereas the owner took full responsibility for the establishment of the Fixed Link and for securing that the effects of the combination of works by different contractors would not exceed environmental norms. Hence, the final responsibility for meeting the environmental goals (and not exceeding the prevailing norms) is held by the Contract Management. To that end, an Environment & Authorities staff was formed, which took responsibility for the daily administration of the Control & Monitoring Program.
In order to make the above scheme work, Øresundskonsortiet took the following measures:
- They created dredging instructions, aiming to reduce the dredging spill to overall 5% on average and to reduce the spill masses in duration, intensity and spatial extent. The dredging spill was defined as the mass of dredged material leaving through the boundaries of the work area as suspended material. These instructions served as quality documents for compliance monitoring and administration.
- They implemented a feedback monitoring program, which provided input to planning and environmental impact control.
- On top of this the authorities established an independent control program.
The distribution of responsibility in the context of environmental impacts was:
- The dredging contractor is responsible for his specific part of the works, i.e. the amount of dredged materials, the spill, the distribution of the spill in space and time. He also is responsible to demonstrate, under strict control, that his operations do adhere to the set environmental thresholds.
- The owner takes responsibility for the overall management of the environmental impact of the works, as long as the contractors did not exceed the prevailing threshold values.
- The authorities are responsible for the environmental conditions in Øresund in general, based on overall annual surveys.