Parliament appears ready to approve construction on a new bridge connecting the islands of Zealand and Falster. The bridge will replace the current Storstrøm Bridge, which was permanently closed to freight train traffic last year after cracks began to appear.
The transport minister, Henrik Dam Kristensen, said yesterday that a majority of parliament's transport committee had agreed to begin construction on the combination highway and double track rail bridge, which will also include a bicycle and pedestrian path.
After debating the bridge for several months, the parties agreed to start the project now, partly to ensure that it was open in 2021, when the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link between Denmark and Germany is scheduled to be completed, and partly to apply for funding from the EU's TEN-T programme.
“This is an important decision because the Storstrøm Bridge is a central part of the corridor between Copenhagen and Germany,” said Kristensen in a statement. “Once the Storstrøm Bridge and the Fehmarn Belt Connection are complete, passenger trains will be able to travel at 200 km/h over the whole route between Copenhagen and Germany.”
Kristensen said the new bridge would also improve mobility for area residents and create jobs before and during the construction phase.
The agreement allocates 224 million kroner in planning funds from this year’s budget, with decisions on continued funding to be made in 2014.
Total price of the new bridge is estimated at 4 billion kroner.
Correction 21/03/2013, 13:41: We previously wrote that the Storstrøm bridge had been closed to all traffic. This was an error. Only frieght trains are barred from crossing the bridge.