Facts and history
Denmark consists of the Jutland peninsula and more than 400 islands of which the largest are Zealand and Funen. Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, is located on Zealand.
The 18 km long fixed link across Storebælt comprises two bridges and a tunnel.
Construction work on Storebælt took place from 1988-1998. The motorway across Storebælt opened in 1998 and the railway opened in 1997.
The construction costs for the entire Storebælt project totalled DKK 21.4 billion in 1988 prices. The costs were more or less equally apportioned between the road and rail link.
A/S Storebælt raised loans in Danish and international capital markets to fund the construction costs.
The East Bridge between Zealand and Sprogø is 6,790 m long.
The East Bridge consists of a sub-structure and a superstructure.
The concrete sub-structure comprises pylons, anchor blocks, bridge piers and abutments.
The steel superstructure comprises bridge spans and cables.
The suspension bridge between the two anchor blocks is approx. 2,700 m long. The suspension bridge consists of the 1,624 m free span between the two pylons plus the two side spans between the pylons and anchor blocks of 535 m each.
The suspension bridge is connected to 23 approach spans (14 from Zealand and 9 from Sprogø).
The East Bridge spans Storebælt’s Eastern Channel, an international waterway. The passage height is 65 m.
Facts about the pylons
At 254 m, the pylons are one of the highest points in Denmark.
The caissons for the pylons were cast at a factory in Kalundborg and towed out 70 km to the bridge alignment. Each caisson weighs 32,000 tonnes.
The rest of the pylons were cast in situ, 4 m at a time, in a so-called climbing formwork which keeps the concrete dry and ensures setting.
Facts about the anchor blocks
The caissons are placed on stone cushions to give them a stable base. Like the pylons, the rest of the anchor blocks were cast in situ. Each anchor block is approx. 63 m high.
Facts about the bridge piers and the abutments
The East Bridge’s abutments and the first bridge pier were cast in situ owing to the low water depth. The other bridge piers were prefabricated and towed out to the bridge alignment.
There are a total of 19 bridge piers, 12 of which are between Zealand and the eastern anchor block and 7 between Funen and the western anchor block.
A bridge pier weighs an average of 6,000 tonnes.
Facts about the cables
The road section is carried by two parallel cables, which extend from one anchor block across the top of the two pylons to the other anchor block.
The cables are each approx. 3 km long and 83 cm in diameter. Each cable comprises a long series of 5.38 mm strands, with 18,647 strands in each cable.
The cables are held together by rust-proof steel wires.
The East Tunnel was built between 1988 and 1996. The East Tunnel for rail traffic is 8,024 m long and comprises two separate tunnel tubes with one track in each.
The two tunnel tubes are connected by 31 cross passages which function both as an escape route and contain important installations.
The East Tunnel is a bored tunnel. Four boring machines, one in each direction for each tunnel tube, were purpose-built for the task.
The 40 cm thick tunnel walls consist of 62,500 concrete elements bolted together.
The elements were produced at a temporary factory in Halsskov on Zealand.
The distance from the top of the tunnel to the seabed varies between 12 and 40 m. At its deepest point, the tunnel is 75 m below sea level.
The West Bridge was built between 1989 and 1994. The West Bridge, which is a combined road and rail bridge, is 6,611 m long.
The West Bridge, in fact, consists of two parallel bridges, one for the road and one for the railway. Both the bridge’s super and sub-structures were manufactured in concrete at a factory near Lindholm on Funen.
The elements for the West Bridge were towed out to the bridge alignment by the floating crane, Svanen. On the 62 bridge piers lie 63 bridge spans, 51 spans of 110 m and 12 spans of 82 m. Each bridge span comprises a road and rail girder. The bridge’s passage height is 18 m.
Sprogø in the middle of Storebælt connects the bridges and the tunnel. As part of the construction work, Sprogø was expanded and at 154 hectares, is now approx. four times larger than it was before.
The original part of the island is a protected area. The island has a rich animal life, including the rare green toad and a number of bird species.
From 1922 to 1961, the main buildings on the island served as a home for unmarried mothers and other young women who did not fit into the norms of the day. Today, Sprogø is uninhabited.