The Øresund Link is a joint road and rail link that crosses international shipping lanes to join Sweden (Malmo) and Denmark (Copenhagen). Including a 4km tunnel, a 4km artificial island and an 8km bridge, it is one of the most ambitious civil engineering projects in the world.

Leading a landmark project

Arup was the leading member of the ASO Group, the winning team on the international design competition for the Øresund Link. The group took part in the early planning of the whole link and was subsequently responsible for the design of the bridge.

The challenge was to create an elegant bridge that would be constructed with due consideration for "what is ecologically motivated, technically possible and financially reasonable to prevent any detrimental effects on the environment", to quote the treaty between the Danish and Swedish governments.

The finished link is not only an elegant and sustainable solution but has also reduced journey time between Denmark and Sweden to a ten-minute drive or train journey, promoting communication and economic growth across the region.

The design concept in detail

The bridge was constructed in a design and construct contract. The contract documents included drawings that described those design features that should be retained. The contractor was responsible for the detailed design and could tailor it to his favoured construction methods. The design concept opened up the use of large-scale, factory-controlled prefabrication, with erection on site by heavy lifting equipment, the preferred method used by the contractor.

The client, Øresundskonsortiet – a joint venture between the Danish and Swedish governments – set up an innovative planning, design, contracting and construction management process for the project that relied on trust and co-operation. This unique approach helped to ensure that the project met requirements of time and budget.

An impressive achievement for road, rail, and project management

Completed three months ahead of schedule and within budget, the Øresund Link opened in 2000. The bridge is the longest road and railway bridge in Europe, and its 490m span is the longest in the world to carry both road and railway traffic.

As well as civil engineering design, geotechnical engineering, risk assessment, fire engineering and construction monitoring, Arup was also responsible as part of the ASO Group for the quality audit during construction. The entire construction scheme was completed without dispute, a remarkably smooth passage for a major project and testament to the systems and procedures put in place by Arup and Øresundskonsortiet.