Great Belt Fixed Link

Monday, 11th February 2008 by

Connecting the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen is the Great Belt Fixed Link, another example of a confusing bridge / tunnel mash-up1.

Starting on Funen at the Western end we have a 6611m bridge that carries both road and rail.

This bridge then abruptly ends at the tiny island of Sprogø, the site of a former prison used for women deemed “pathologically promiscuous”! During the bridge’s construction Sprogø’s landmass was quadrupled in size.

Here the road and rail tracks diverge, with the rail track diving under a tunnel to the North, while the road continues along the 6790m Eastern bridge.

This Eastern bridge has a single suspended span (without ground support) of 1624m, making it the second longest suspended span in the world. It would actually have been the title holder, at least temporarily, but for a delay in construction which meant that the longer-spanned Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge was completed first.

Prior to the construction of both the Great Belt and Akashi-Kaikyo bridges, the longest span title was held by the Humber Bridge in England, wich reigned from its construction in 1981 until 1998.

Everyone’s favourite Humber fact is that the perfectly vertical towers are actually 36mm2 further apart at the top than they are at the bottom, due to the curvature of the earth!

Wikipedia has the complete list of largest suspension bridges and pages on the Great Belt, Sprogø and the Humber Bridge.

Thanks to Jonathan Rawle, Tobias Hader and Cyan

  1. Also see the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and Oresund Bridge 

  2. Depending on who’s telling you the fact this distance can be anything up to 36 metres!