New technology must be developed for the crossing of deep and wide fjords, calls for a structural approach to risk assessment.

This aspect, along with the fact that the project is highly cost intensive, calls for a structured approach to the risks involved in the project in order to complete it at the right time, with the right outcome, and within the specified cost limits.  

Risk management – systematic identification and handling of risk

Traditionally, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration has used a project uncertainty management process, where the main goal has been to control the costs of the project. Since the Coastal Highway E39 is a very demanding project with regard to costs and technology, we are now establishing an extensive risk management process where we are systematically identifying risks that may affect project goals:

  • Costs
  • Time schedule
  • HSE (health, safety and environment)
  • Mobility/accessibility

The purpose of the risk management process, which is continuous and iterative, is to increase the probability of the project’s success, by:

  • Analysing risk – what are the dangers/threats, what causes these, and what are the consequences
  • Evaluating risk – is the risk level acceptable, or does it need to be reduced, how can this be done?
  • Handling risk – implementing measures that will reduce risk

Risk can be defined as the combination of possible consequences and associated uncertainty, quantifiable in terms of probability. Uncertainty mostly arises from a lack of knowledge, so-called epistemic uncertainty, but may also spring from accidence (natural variation), so-called aleatory uncertainty. Much of the work on this project aims to reduce this uncertainty, for example by surveying ground conditions and environmental conditions such as waves, wind and current.

Technology qualification reduces uncertainty

One of the risk factors in the project has to do with the development of new technological solutions. This involves uncertainty for example regarding the cost of a bridge structure, how soon it can be completed, what properties it should have and whether it will meet our requirements. In order to reduce uncertainty, we have initiated a process for so-called “technology qualification” of the concepts developed for the individual fiord crossings. This is a systematic process to increase the probability of a bridge concept meeting the necessary requirements under given boundary conditions and with an acceptable degree of certainty before the structure is built. Such processes have previously mainly been used for technology to be utilised offshore in the oil industry and will therefore be further developed to meet the needs of the NPRA.


Subproject Manager is Inger Lise Johansen.