CONTRACTORS FINISHED placing the last of the 0resund crossing's 20 giant precast tunnel elements on the seabed just off the Danish coast last week.
Divers are now erecting underwater shuttering around each end of the final element before it is concreted in place next to its neighbours to complete the link.
The precast segments, each weighing 57,000t, form the 3.5km tunnel section of the 0resund road and rail crossing between Denmark and Sweden. It is being built by 0resund Tunnel Contractors, whose members include British contractor Laing.
The final element was placed six weeks ahead of schedule despite a serious setback last summer when a bulkhead support failed in element 13, causing it to sink prematurely during positioning (NCE 20/27 August 1998).
The accident meant the element placing operation had to be altered to keep on programme. A gap was left to drop in the last section, 2.4m longer than necessary to give 0TC a margin for error during positioning work.
Divers are now erecting rubber sealed shutters between the ends of the element and its neighbours. Once in place 0TC will pump water from the elements and concrete the joints.
Project director Peter Lundhus said time lost as a result of the sinking was made up because elements were being precast faster than expected. Completion of the tunnel puts the civils element of the project on course to finish in the autumn.
Just before Christmas, bridge contractor Sundlink placed the final element of the 3.7km eastern approach viaduct. The eastern half of the 490m span central cable stay section of the bridge is also complete.