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Helsinki to Build Landmark Bridge for Public Transportation
The Crown Bridges including Finland's longest bridge will serve streetcars but no cars
By: City of Helsinki
The Helsinki City Council gave the green light to the project at the end of August, confirming implementation. Construction can go underway in 2018, and the bridges are scheduled to open in 2026.
The main bridge spanning 0.8 miles – 1.2 kilometers – will be the longest bridge in Finland. It will constitute a new Helsinki landmark, occupying a central place in the Helsinki cityscape with architecture that is the winning entry of an international design competition.
The Crown Bridges – Kruunusillat in Finnish – will give the growing eastern Helsinki area of Laajasalo a fast public transportation route to the city center. The route will be integrated with the overall Helsinki public transportation system consisting of streetcars in the inner city, a bus system, a subway, and commuter trains. Today public transportation represents 30 percent of all journeys made in Helsinki; driving represents 25 percent, walking 30 percent, and cycling 10–11 percent while growing.
The bridge development coincides with the construction of a new waterfront housing area for 12,500 residents in Laajasalo's Kruunuvuorenranta at the site of a former oil terminal. The number of daily streetcar passengers to Kruunuvuorenranta and further in Laajasalo is estimated to be 37,000. The number of cyclists and pedestrians using the bridges is estimated to be 3,000.
The connection will run by the island of Korkeasaari, which is home to Helsinki Zoo, providing new easy access to the zoo. Emergency vehicles can also use the connection.
Helsinki organized an open international design competition for the Crown Bridges in 2012–2013. The winner was a Finnish-British team put together by WSP Finland. The main bridge of the winning design entitled Gemma Regalis is a cable-stayed bridge. The cable-stay construction gives the design an impression of lightness and airiness. Supported from above, the bridge deck forms a gate to the open sea.
The current cost estimate for the bridges and the streetcar line is EUR 260 million, or US$ 290 million.
A prerequisite for project implementation is the closure of Helsinki's largely coal-fired Hanasaari power plant in 2024, resulting in the termination of coal shipments, which run through the bridges' course. The plant closure plays an important role in a shift towards renewable energy sources and the ultimate goal of carbon-neutral energy production in Helsinki by 2050.
City of Helsinki: http://www.hel.fi/
City of Helsinki
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