Denmark reconsiders a Kattegat link

A bridge would cross the Kattegat Strait between the Jutland peninsula city of Aarhus - Denmark’s second largest city after the capital Copenhagen - and Kalundborg, a small city of 17,000 on the western shore of Zealand Island.
Highway & Network Management / May 10, 2023 1 minute Read
By David Arminas
A proposed Kattegat Link would make redundant fast ferries to and from the small island of Samsø – a landing point for a combined road and rail bridge connecting the Jutland peninsula and the island of Zealand (image © Ricochet69/Dreamstime)

The Danish government is again considering the feasability of a Kattegat link that would connect the country’s main Jutland peninsula with the Island of Zealand.

Such a combined road and rail bridge would cross the 35km Kattegat Strait between the Jutland city of Aarhus, with a population of around 540,000 – Denmark’s second largest city after the capital Copenhagen - and Kalundborg, a small city of 17,000 on the western shore of Zealand.

The economic driver for such a link is that it would create a direct route between Copenhagen on Zealand’s eastern coast to Aarhus, running westerly across Zealand to Kalundborg. From there it would be a bridge what would be constructed via Samsø , a small  island in the Kattegat Sea. In effect, there would be two section of the link - Kalundborg to Samsø and Samsø to Aarhus.

According to a recent report in the Danish newspaper Dagbladet Licitationen the estimated cost of the project is around €14.68 billion (US$16.24 billion).

In 2014, the transport ministry estimated that traffic volumes between Zealand and Jutland would not be enough to warrant a Kattegat Bridge – costing around €11.8 billion - until about 2050.

Thomas Danielsen, Denmark’s minister of transport, recently said that before any announcement about the feasability of such a project is made, there would have to be cross-party support in the Danish Parliament for building the link. The issue is part of a transportation debate in the country’s parliament this week

The previous government announced last summer that there a link’s environmental impact could mean that it would never be built.

In March 2020, COWI submitted studies for a combined road and rail connection across Kattegat, applying different corridors from central Zealand to Aarhus via Samsø. According to COWI, further work has assessed road and rail infrastructure in Jutland and on Zealand as well as studying technical solutions between the coasts of Zealand and Jutland including corridors via Sjællands Odde.

“The purpose is to weigh up the pros and cons of the different corridors,” says a note on the company’s website, “and to prepare a solid basis for further political discussion about the next steps, including whether to proceed with an environmental impact assessment for the Kattegat project.”

The project involving onshore infrastructure is carried out for the Danish Road Directorate along with the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority. The study on the offshore technical solutions is carried out for Sund & Bælt. For the project, COWI has been working with the architectural firms Dissing+Weitling and Hasløv & Kjærsgaard as subconsultants.

Successive governments over the past two decades have considered a Kattegat Bridge that would supplement the 18km Great Belt Fixed Link  – Storebæltsbroen. It crosses the Great Belt strait between Zealand and Funen – Denmark’s third largest island and close to the southeastern end of the Jutland peninsula as it joins mainland Europe at a border with Germany. Great Belt Fixed Link consists of a road suspension bridge, a railway tunnel between Zealand and the small island Sprogø in the middle of the Great Belt and a box-girder bridge for both road and rail traffic between Sprogø and Funen.

Denmark is currently constructing one of Europe’s largest transportation infrastructure projects, the immersed Fehmarn Belt road and rail tunnel between Denmark and Germany. It will run18km tunnel under the Baltic Sea, between the Danish island of Lolland and the German island of Fehmarn.

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