An ambitious civil engineering project also helped save the European green toad.

Rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age severed the dry-land connection between Denmark and Sweden, a seven-thousand-year separation that ended in 2000 with the opening of the 0resund Link. The monumental link, a 10-mile (16-kilometer)-long road and rail crossing, effectively joins Malmo and Copenhagen and reduces the distance between the two cities to a ten-minute drive or rail trip.

The link is comprised of three sections: a cable-stayed bridge, an artificial island, and a submerged tunnel. Half of that link is provided by its centerpiece, the 0resund Bridge. A hair under five miles long (7.8 kilometers), it is the longest cable-stayed bridge for vehicular and rail traffic in Europe. Together with the Great Belt Fixed Link (see here), the 0resund opened an overland traffic corridor between the Scandinavian peninsula and the rest of Europe. It has also succeeded regionally, developing and increasing economic and cultural cooperation between Denmark and Sweden.

Environmental considerations were paramount because the Baltic Sea’s unique ecosystem depends on saline and oxygenated water brought in on currents from the North Sea. Having had no net impact on the marine environment, the project has since become a model for other megaprojects. It will be built with due consideration for what is ecologically motivated, technically possible and financially reasonable to prevent any detrimental effects on the environment.’


To minimize environment impact, all bridge and tunnel components except the pylons were fabricated on land and hauled by barge to the site. Steel trusses for the two approach spans, along with their concrete decks, were fabricated in Cadiz, Spain. Most of the steel sections for the cable-stayed span were fabricated in Sweden, although some were made in the Malmo construction yard, where they were assembled. Svanen, a floating crane so mighty it merits its own name, was used to install the bridge components; Svanen also installed the Great Belt Fixed Link.

Because of the proximity of the main shipping lane to the airport at Kastrup and the need to keep marine traffic moving, there was no choice but to build the tunnel. A little over two miles long (3.5 kilometers) and as tall as a twelve-story building, the concrete tunnel encloses two traffic tubes, two rail tubes, and a central service area that doubles as an escape route.

Peberholm, a 312-acre (1.3-square-kilometer) artificial island, was made from material dredged from the seabed during the excavation of the bridge piers and the tunnel. It is now a habitat for birds, butterflies, and rare species of green toads and spiders. Divers regularly monitor eelgrass and mussel populations.

Denmark and Sweden hold joint ownership of the bridge, which drew on the talents of engineers from both countries as well as from Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. Design was by the ASO Group, led by Arup. Sundlink Contractors, a consortium led by Skanska with engineer COWI, delivered the bridge works six months ahead of schedule. About seven and a half million vehicles crossed the bridge in 2016.

The two-level superstructure supports four lanes of traffic on the upper deck and two lower rail tracks, as seen in this construction cutaway view. With a total length of 1,432 feet (436 meters), the bridge emerges from the underground Central Artery near the TD Garden arena, crosses the Charles River, and connects to Interstate 93 and U.S. Route 1. The bridge is asymmetrical: eight lanes of traffic pass through the towers; the steel floor beams that support the main roadway extend out in a cantilevered section that carries two additional lanes.

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