Finland’s largest prestressed concrete bridges are being built in Laitaatsalmi, Savonlinna.
The wooden scaffolds rise to a height of around twenty metres, affording stunning views across what is arguably one of Finland’s most iconic views—the vast Lake District wrapped around the city of Savonlinna. Right now, highly specialist sub-contractors, coordinated by Destia, are hard at work at Highway 14.
They are responsible for delivering the scaffolding, shuttering, steel fixing and rebar work on a EUR 30 million bridge project commissioned by the Finnish Transport Agency.
Two concrete bridges, each approximately 500 metres long, are being built at the Laitaatsalmi strait. The foundation slabs and abutments for the S2B in southern Laitaatsalmi, the first bridge due for completion, are already in place, and excellent progress is being made on the intermediate supports.
The bridge will comprise two abutments and six pillars, and it will be finished with a 14-million-kilo concrete deck.
“It’s incredible to think that in just over a year we will have built the largest prestressed concrete bridge in Finland,” sums up Destia’s Site Manager Aki Loikkanen.
Once completed, the bridges are expected to ease traffic congestion in Savonlinna, as the Kyrösalmi drawbridge at Olavinlinna Castle is decommissioned, and ships can access a safer route to Laitaatsalmi. The bridge will have a clearance of 24.5 metres, allowing passage for even larger vessels.
The S2B concrete bridge to the south, due to open in late 2017, is 13 metres wide. It comprises a two-lane road along with two so-called light traffic lanes for pedestrian and cycle traffic. The S2A concrete bridge to the north, due to be completed next year, will feature two lanes of traffic with a width of 9 metres.
Loikkanen points out that even he can only truly comprehend the enormous scope of the project when he is actually on the site—despite all the time he and the team have spent poring over the designs, both on computer screens and on paper. People have worked hard to complete calculations, assess weight-bearing capacities and put together meticulous plans on how the project will be managed to its conclusion.
Harri Korhonen, Project Manager at Destia, explains that the concrete for the deck will be cast in late July and the work is expected to take approximately one week. When completed, the abutments and intermediate supports will carry a concrete deck weighing around 14 million kilos.