One of my brothers is terrified of bridges. Living near the east coast of the United States, it’s a common tradition in the summertime for families to load up the car and head to one of the many nearby beaches. My family has a small place, right on the water where we swam, boated, played in the sand, and enjoyed quality family time. But to get to the coast, you have to travel over a couple of very large bridges. And each year, my brother was nearly overtaken by panic and fear when we had to cross. If it was a busy day and there was traffic on the bridge, causing us to stop for periods of time, it was nearly unbearable for him.
Between Denmark and Sweden there is a unique “disappearing” bridge named the Øresund Bridge. It doesn’t actually disappear, but turns into an underwater tunnel. I think my brother would like this solution.
From the coast, it looks like a normal bridge. However, you can see the bridge seem to disappear into the water in the distance.
A bridge over the Øresund was proposed by a consortium of engineering firms as far back as 1936 but getting the project off the ground wasn’t easy. There were numerous obstacles, including disagreements about its placement, its form, and its importance versus other road projects. In fact, the bridge was actually approved in 1973 only to be cancelled in 1978 for economic and environmental reasons. It wasn’t until 1991 that a new agreement was signed and everyone could breathe a sigh of relief. Construction began in 1995 and the bridge wasc ompletd on August 14, 1999. Phew!
At least it was worth the wait. The Øresund bridge is absolutely stunning and an incredible engineering feet. But where does this incredible bridge take you? What features does it possess? And what’s on the “island” where the bridge meets the tunnel?
The Øresund bridge is actually a very important bridge that links Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden. The actual bridge is approximately 8 km (5 miles) from the Swedish coast before it reaches a man-made island called Peberholm. From there, the route becomes the 4 km (2.5-mile) Drogden Tunel that ends at the Danish island called Amager.
The Øresund is a bridge/tunnel that crosses the Flinte Channel and connects Copenhagen, Denmark to Malmo, Sweden.
The actual bridge is close to five miles long before it transitions into the tunnel.
Architect George K.S. Rotne lead a team of Danish engineers to design this unique and amazing structure
Denmark and Sweden share operation of the bridge/tunnel. A toll to use it offsets the costs of maintenance.
The structure itself is amazing, but so is the man-made island located where the bridge meets the tunnel. The island is called Peberholm and is a plant and wildlife sanctuary.
The artificial island known as Peberholm is very strictly regulated as it’s considered a biological experiment. Scientists had predicted that nature would colonize the island on its own without human interference. Accordingly, only biologists are allowed on the island (outside of the railroad and highway), and they may only visit areas of the island once a year.
As of June 2007, biologists have registered 454 plant species on the island, 20 species of spiders, and 12 species of birds. Since then, the number of bird species has increased significantly, and more species have been found, including toads, butterflies, beetles, bees, spiders, rats, and hares!
An aerial view shows the bridge and island.
Multiple toll booths serve drivers and there is even a railway that utilizes the bridge/tunnel.
Cars use the upper part of the bridge and the railway travels beneath.
The massive support pylons are 670 feet tall.
Since opening in 2000, the structure has served millions of travelers and commuters.
It takes just over 30 minutes to travel between Copenhagen and Malmo.
The Øresund is a true marvel of engineering! Let us know what you think about this unique bridge. If you enjoyed this story, please share it with your family and friends!