Mankind has been building bridges since ancient times. The early bridges in wood are rotten since long time and rebuild with modern materials. Ponte Fabrico in Rome Italy, built in 62 B.C. is the oldest bridge in use and still original.In this newsletter I presents Älvsborgsbron, the largest suspension bridge in Sweden when it was built. And new Västberga allébro, the third generation of bridge over mainline for trains in Stockholm.The picture (above) shows Älvsborgsbron in silhouette at the inlet of Gothenburg’s harbor.Click on the pictures to view them in a larger format with all the details.Enjoy!
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NEWSLETTER 16



One big, old, stately bridge and one small, handsome, new

Mankind has been building bridges since ancient times. The early bridges in wood are rotten since long time and rebuild with modern materials. Ponte Fabrico in Rome Italy, built in 62 B.C. is the oldest bridge in use and still original.

In this newsletter I presents Älvsborgsbron, the largest suspension bridge in Sweden when it was built. And new Västberga allébro, the third generation of bridge over mainline for trains in Stockholm.

The picture (above) shows Älvsborgsbron in silhouette at the inlet of Gothenburg’s harbor.
Click on the pictures to view them in a larger format with all the details.

Enjoy!
 


Inauguration with failed prank

It was inaugurated on November 8, 1966 by then Minister of Communications, Olof Palme,
who had already completed two other bridge openings that same day; Gropebron and Nötesundsbron.
 
Some students from Chalmers University of Technology had prepared a prank. By hiring a limousine and masking their own “Palme” they planned to take over the podium on a strategic occasion and declare the bridge open. But the prank fell apart as Mr. Palme had already arrived when the Chalmer’s “Palme” appeared. However, the students got a small revenge. At the time of unveiling, it was found that on the memorial board at the inside of the north-west tower, the heraldic lion was wearing a Chalmers cap!


Part of something bigger

Älvsborgsbron was part of a major expansion of the road network during the 1960s and 1970s, which would relieve the bridge Götaälvbron from 1939. The new bridge could have been named Västerbron, but the name was voted down by the city council. The total cost was MSEK 150, of which MSEK 56 was for the bridge itself.

When Älvsborgsbron opened, it was only the Alnöbron bridge in Sundsvall from 1964 that was longer. Today Älvsborgsbron with its 417.8 meters ranks 23rd in size among Swedish bridges. See the full list here.
 
The world’s longest suspension bridge is Akashi-Kaikyo in Japan, it has a free span of 1,991 meters and connects two islands. The Messina Bridge between Sicily and Italy’s mainland has been planned but the project has not yet begun. When it is built, it will have a free span of 3,290 meters in total!


36,000 liters of paint

From the beginning the bridge was gray but today the bridge is painted mint green while the upper parts of rails and cables are light blue. A service platform with a sail free height of 45 meters runs under the bridge.

 


Suspension bridges have strong tensile strength

The ingenious construction with pulling force allows suspension bridges to handle long stretches of several kilometers. The disadvantage is that the bridges are sensitive to winds. Älvsborgsbron’s allowed side motion is up to 60 centimeters at the center of the bridge.
 
The bridge is ground anchored with four gravity type anchors attached to the rock. They handle the forces from the suspension rails and weigh in at 25,000 tons each.


Choose the right pylon!

In each pair of pylons, an elevator goes into one pylon and a spiral staircase in the other.
It is 107 meters up to the top. So, if you are allowed to go up sometime, be sure to choose the right pylon!


Västberga Allébro – the bridge with no name

The bridge is an extension of Västberga Allé in Stockholm, and runs partly across the main railway line and partly over the Åbyvägen road for automobiles. It has never been given an official name but is commonly called Västberga Allébro.

Today’s two bridges opened for traffic at the end of May 2017. Construction costs were MSEK 197, which was MSEK 47 over budget.


Three generations of bridges

The Western Main Line between Stockholm and Gothenburg was opened on December 1, 1860. The tracks crossed over today’s Västberga Allé, which was then a simple road to Liseberg and on to Örby and Brännkyrka church. The first bridge over the railway was built in the 1910s, an arch bridge in concrete and probably the first of its kind in the Stockholm region.

A new concrete bridge with pylons was built in 1961. It replaced the previous bridge, which then had reached the end of its technical life and therefore needed to be replaced.


 


New arch bridge increases safety

Under the bridge, seven railway tracks pass and under the east bridge section there is a railway tunnel. The traffic authority considered that the unprotected bridge pylons in the middle of the railroad were a safety hazard. A derailed train or a lost cargo could easily damage one or more concrete pylons with a serious accident as a consequence.

It might sound like a long-shot, but in 1980, Tjörnbron in Gothenburg collapsed when the bridge was rammed by the bulk container ship Clipper Star. Like Västberga Allébro, the old Tjörnbron was an arch bridge, but the arch went under the road and was therefore possible to drive on.

 


Bridge building at night

The large bridge (above) was prefabricated in smaller sections and joined together into a larger unit alongside the road. At night, when the railroad was shut down for a few hours, the sections were lifted and joined together.

At the same time, a new 40-meter-long walking and cycling bridge (below) was built over Åbyvägen road. It was assembled in its entirety and then lifted in place while the vehicle bridge over Åbyvägen was not touched.

 
Älvsborgsbron
 
 
Construction:
Lighting design:
 
Sven Olof Asplund
Rejlers Ingenjörsbyrå
Västberga allébro
 
 
Architect
Construction
Lighting design:
GWSK Arkitekter
WSP & ELU
BLACK Ljusdesign
Lasse Olsson Photo photographs interiors, architecture and lighting. My newsletter is published 6-8 times a year. It presents photographed projects and reports from furniture fairs in Milan and Stockholm.