Operation and Maintenance
The clear environmental targets set during design- and construction phases, incorporating long-term objectives, enabled a nearly immediate recovery of the ecosystem.
The design and construct concept adopted for this project was an important factor contributing to the completion of the Øresund Link well within time and budget. Another factor that contributed to this achievement was the project management approach. The fact that all environmental requirements have been met is due to the definition of clear guidelines and goals from the outset and the mutual trust between the owner, the contractors and the environmental authorities.
Three years after the Øresund Link opened to rail and automobile traffic, an environmental survey of the biological systems in the sound did not show any negative effects and indicated that the ecosystem had returned to preconstruction conditions. The actual environmental effects are significantly less than was expected. Seals, for instance, were expected to disappear completely from Saltholm Island, just north of the link, as soon as building operations had started. Seals, however, are inquisitive by nature and have simply adapted to life on Saltholm during construction. In fact, environmental conditions may even have improved because of the extensive new area of hard substrata provided by the bridge pillars. Mussels and other organisms now occur in larger populations than before construction and serve as food for the large bird population in the Saltholm bird reserve.
Making the same organisation responsible for building the Link and for its operation has led to an early focus on operational aspects. As a result, emphasis has been put on coordinating the different contracts with respect to functional requirements as well as requirements with respect to safety, availability and Life Support Costs. Øresundskonsortiet adopted an environmental policy for the operation and maintenance, which the following main goals:
- to continually reduce the environmental impact by the link’s daily operation;
- to pay due attention to the environment while installing or maintaining technical facilities;
- to comply with environmental legislation and to help protecting nature;
- to contribute to reducing the environmental impact of traffic on the link;
- to be open and informative about the environmental goals and the extent to which they are met.
Examples of practical implementation of the above strategies are:
- There must always be a well-functioning and operating rail system with sufficient capacity, in order to promote freight and passenger transport by rail.
- The existing lighting in the tunnel was replaced in 2005 with a more energy-saving system. Together with other saving measures, this has led to overall energy savings of 15% in 2005.
- The artificial island of Peberholm was kept inaccessible to the public, whence it has become an important habitat for endangered species. The Peberholm ecosystem is being monitored and an inventory of plants, breeding birds, insects and spiders is carried out.
- The environmental authorities have defined norms for the noise level from the Link. A control program for vibration and noise affecting residential areas near the bridge zone is implemented. Surveys show that the risk of vibration disturbance is insignificant.
Building with Nature
The total project was executed within the environmental requirements. Three years after completion, the ecosystem has returned to pre-construction conditions.