– This is a big and exciting contract, so it's natural that many companies have expressed their interest, said Øyvind Kongsvik Nedrebø (Project Manager, Floating bridges). 

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration sets strict requirements

The purpose of the tender conference was to create a common understanding of the assignment, as well as the NPRA explaining their expectations. The two companies that win the competition to investigate the concept of floating bridge over the Bjørnafjord will provide documented reasons for their recommended concept of floating bridge.

– It’s very nice to see that so many companies are interested in participating in the competition, said Kjell Håvard Belsvik, (Project Manager for the crossing of Bjørnafjorden and Kjartan Hove (Contract Director).

–  You have a huge responsibility, we are going to make a concept decision based on the work you are going to perform, and there should be no valid reason to doubt which concept is the best choice. We make very high demands on professional competence, they stressed. 

Will bring great social gain for Norway

Bjørnafjorden is part of the E39 highway between Stord and Os, which will link the towns of Bergen, Stord, Haugesund and Stavanger. The ferry ride, which takes about 40 minutes, will only take 11 minutes by car when the ferry is replaced by a floating bridge. A more predictable travel itinerary and significantly reduced travel time will bring great social gains both regionally and nationally. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will create a unique well-adapted concept with a highway-standard and a speed limit of 110 km/h. A five kilometer long floating bridge over the Bjørnafjord is currently estimated to cost about 17 billion NOK. The populations in Stavanger and Bergen with the area in between counts over one million inhabitants and represent, with good margin, the part of the Norway with the highest GDP per capita (oil-related value not included).

Bjørnafjorden Google mapsBjørnafjorden Google maps

Quality will be crucial

The NPRA gave a thorough review of the criteria for participation, and stressed that quality will be crucial, in addition to price.

– We want the most robust solution at the best possible price, so proper expertise must be an important factor when we want to assign a company a contract like this, said Belsvik.

What is the assignment?

During 2019, the NPRA will select a floating bridge consept for the crossing of Bjørnafjorden in Hordaland county.  The NPRA has announced a competition for parallel conceptual investigations. Consultancy companies have until 10 September to submit their offer, and the NPRA will choose two suppliers who will then work for 10 months to chart which alternative for floating bridge is the best choice.

The project has a tight schedule, and the aim is to conclude on a contract in 2024, but before that, the regulatory plan must be approved and quality assurance carried out. A prerequisite is that the Storting also concludes and adopts the suggested choice. The companies that carry out the concept development and preliminary projects can also compete for the execution contracts.

– All information after the conceptual development phase and the preliminary project will be published, giving everyone equal opportunity to participate in subsequent competitions, says Belsvik.

The four floating bridge concepts the NPRA wants the companies to explore:  

  • Option 1: Floating bridge. The bridge is only held at each end.
  • Option 2. Floating bridge including anchoring system. The anchor ring system is activated only by a possible extreme event, and in such a situation it can prevent progressive fracture development for the structure.
  • Option 3. Floating bridge as a beam bridge. The bridge is held at each end and also has anchoring lines for anchors on the seabed. The anchoring lines ensure the necessary stiffness of the bridge in the horizontal plane. The bridge is aligned in the horizontal plane.
  • Option 4. Floating bridge, which equals option 3, but in this option only the bridal chain of the bridge is straight-line. The floating bridge is curved.

A technical tender conference

Participants received a thorough review of technical specifications and measurements carried out in and around the fjord.

– Good data reduces uncertainties, so all variables must be mapped very thoroughly, Nedrebø said.

Some of the topics they received a review of were:

  • geotechnical surveys
  • seabed surveys
  • landslide mapping
  • marine mapping (rocks and cracking)
  • ship impact analysis
  • calculations of environmental loads and traffic loads
  • fatigue of materials
  • movements in the construction caused by vehicle speed, wind direction tide, temperature variations and waves
  • tidal measurements
  • wave measurements
  • wind measurements
  • current measurements

 Read more about the crossing of Bjørnafjorden