Maintaining the Storebælt fixed link is expensive and disruptive
The Storebælt fixed link has been built to last 100 years. But this assumes that the various installations are maintained and replaced on an ongoing basis. This costs money and is disruptive to road users.
When maintenance work is carried out on the bridge, it is sometimes necessary to disrupt traffic and change the link from a motorway to an ordinary road with two-way traffic and an 80 km/h speed limit. This happened, for example, during the summer when the surfacing on the busy stretch towards Funen was replaced on the high bridge. Also, the largescale dehumidification project, which lasted for 18 months, resulted in some occasional disruption to traffic when large work platforms had to be transported to and from Sprogø.
“The Storebælt fixed link is one of the world’s largest bridge and tunnel constructions, which is situated in a tough environment where rain, wind and salt water have free rein. Consequently, maintenance is a major undertaking, which is a significant item of expenditure on the budget,” says Lars Fuhr Pedersen, Technical Director.
“It is unavoidable that maintenance work will occasionally bother drivers. The Storebælt fixed link is a vital link between East and West Denmark and we make every effort to carry out our work at times when we know that disruption will be kept to a minimum.”
Storebælt follows a 50-year reinvestment plan, which is updated every five years. Given that the link has been in operation for almost 20 years, the need for maintenance and reinvestment will increase in the years ahead. Sund & Bælt has already carried out major and expensive maintenance projects.
The dehumidification project cost, for example, almost DKK 75 million and the SCADA system (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), which became operational in the spring of 2016, amounted to DKK 100 million.
Sund & Bælt’s maintenance strategy is based on invitations to tender and subsequent outsourcing of work to contractors and advisers. Sund & Bælt has only a small organisation available to monitor its facilities and to manage the site work and the costs involved.