Feature: Chinese-built bridge boosts development of N. Norway

  • World
  • Sunday, 10 Dec 2023

OSLO, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- On a September morning, British tourist Peter Hart was jogging on the Halogaland Bridge in Nordland County, Norway. A bridge enthusiast, he had visited numerous bridges during his travels and business trips.

"Running on the bridge was challenging due to the strong winds at the fjord. It's hard to imagine the difficulties faced by the builders. Constructing such a beautiful bridge in the Arctic Circle is no small feat!" Hart said.

Built by China's Sichuan Road and Bridge Group (SRBG), the Halogaland Bridge arches near Narvik, Norway's northern port city.

This Saturday the bridge will turn five years old. Stretching 1,533 meters with a span of 1,145 meters, the Halogaland Bridge is Norway's second largest and the Arctic Circle's longest suspension bridge.

It offers an important shortcut for European route E6 - the main north-south road through Norway and the west coast of Sweden.

"The bridge that the Norwegian Parliament decided to build has had the expected positive impact on transport in this area in northern Norway," Dagrunn Elisabeth Kaasen, suspension bridge project manager at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) Northern Region, told Xinhua in a written interview.

"The bridge has contributed to the development of the Narvik and Bjerkvik regions in accordance with or better than what the NPRA estimated," she added.

Data from BPS Nord, northern Norway's regional toll group, reveals the bridge's burgeoning significance.

In the past year alone, over 1.59 million vehicles crossed the Halogaland Bridge, 16 percent more than in 2021 and 35 percent more than in 2019. The daily average of 4,300 vehicles is expected to grow, signaling the bridge's increasing role in regional connectivity.

In a report, the Narvik Municipality said that the improved traffic flow has spurred economic growth, especially benefiting the local fisheries and mining industries, and enhancing overall regional prosperity.

The Halogaland Bridge has also become a local landmark, renowned for its elegant design. Its imagery has been a common sight at Harstad-Narvik Airport, Narvik's visitor center, restaurants and hotels, celebrated as "one of the world's most beautiful bridges."

In 2020, the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering nominated the Halogaland Bridge for the "IABSE Outstanding Structure Award."

Although it narrowly missed winning against China's Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the nomination itself drew global attention.

Kaasen, who represented the NPRA throughout the project, keeps a passion for her connection with the bridge.

"Having participated in the process from start to completion of such a beautiful bridge as the Halogaland Bridge, you get a special relationship with the building, and I am happy and proud to say that I was part of the team that carried out this project," Kaasen said.

Following the Halogaland Bridge, the SRBG undertook the construction of the Beitstadsund Bridge near Steinkjer in central Norway, a 580-meter-long reinforced concrete composite beam bridge.

Completed in April 2020 after nearly 26 months of construction, the Beitstadsund Bridge connects several small towns previously separated by water, improving transportation and boosting local economic development.

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