Fugro has won a year-long contract worth £6.8M to conduct seabed investigations in the Norwegian fjords for a project which could see the world’s first submerged floating bridge.
Four fjords will be bridged as part of a £30bn project to upgrade a 1,100km stretch of the country’s E39 coastal highway over the next 20 years, making the route ferry free.
Starting next month (January) Fugro will carry out seabed investigations to help inform foundation designs for proposed bridge and tunnelling solutions.
A world-first underwater floating bridge, known as an Archimedes Bridge, is being considered by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA).
Artist’s impression of a submerged floating bridge
Designed by Reinertsen, Dr Techn Olav Olsen and Norconsult among others, the 5.7km long tubes would be 30m below sea level and could be stabilised by prestressed tethers attached to the seabed or suspended beneath buoyant pontoons.
“We started working with NPRA on the E39 Coastal Highway project last summer with a long-term programme to measure wind profiles, ocean waves and current profiles at three fjords,” said Fugro business development manager for Norway Dag Sigurd Stensholt.
“It makes us very proud to add our marine site characterisation services to such a huge and important venture.”
Fugro’s work will be split into two phases: geotechnical and geophysical data from the shallow areas of the fjords will be gathered during the first phase, while the second phase will test deeper waters. Phase one will start in January 2018 and phase two in August 2018, with all work finishing in November next year.
Last year (2016) Fugro won a 12 year environmental management programme contract for the route.
An end-anchored floating bridge and a suspension bridge are also being considered for the scheme, which would remove the need for seven ferries across the route and cut the 21 hour journey time in half. The E39 highway runs from Kristiansand in the south to Trondheim in central Norway.