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Graceful Crossing: Vätternbridge by Erséus, Frenning & Sjögren Arkitekter and Scandiaconsult Sverige AB

Motala, Sweden: Traffic congestion in a town center will be relieved via a scenic route over a bay.

by ArchNewsNow
July 8, 2002

Motala is a city on the north eastern shore of Lake Vättern, Sweden’s second largest lake. Today, National Road 50 passes through the center of the town (population: 30,000+), creating considerable congestion. The National Road Administration decided that the solution would be to re-route the road to by-pass the town center by building a bridge across a wide bay known as Skepparpinan at the entrance to the Göta Canal.


Five teams were invited to prepare proposals for what will be called Vätternbridge over Motalaviken (Motala Bay). The design had to take a number of factors into account, including construction and function, the environment, noise protection, lighting, economics, and symbolic importance to the community.


The panel of judges were unanimous in their choice – a steel and concrete bridge design by a team that includes Erséus, Frenning & Sjögren Arkitekter and Scandiaconsult Sverige AB. The 600-meter-long bridge is scheduled to be built in the next three years at a cost of around 250 million SEK ($25 million). The deceptively simple, uncluttered design will blend with the surrounding landscape and, at the same time, be a highly visible town landmark. The two-pier support minimizes the hazard to shipping using the Göta Canal. Low-maintenance materials and easy access for inspections balances the cost/benefit ratio. A stairway will lead from the streets below to a double pedestrian/cycle track on the 156-meter main span.


The jury commented: "The bridge is unique in Sweden and is of great symbolic importance. The form possesses purity and elegance and gives an impression of vitality. Its strong profile, blends well with the surrounding landscape without dominating its environment. ...shows new and innovative thinking, and lends itself to the use of exciting lighting designs. With only two columns, the bridge allows the navigable channel in the Göta Canal to be very clearly marked. The winning proposal has minimal impact on Vättern’s Natura 2000 (environmental goals)."


The five jury members were: Mats Forsgren (National Roads SE Region), Barbro Eklund (Motala Municipality), Fredrik von Platen (National Roads Environmental and Aesthetics Adviser), Håkan Sundquist (Stockholm Technical University), and Eivor Bucht (Swedish Agriculture University, Alnarp).


Project Team:

Erséus, Frenning & Sjögren Arkitekter: Sven Magnus Sjögren (Principal Architect)

Scandiaconsult Sverige AB: Henrik Undeland (Project Leader/Landscape Architect), Tore Lundmark, Ulf Sandelius (Civil Engineers)


Erséus, Frenning & Sjögren Arkitekter has offices in Göteborg and Stockholm, and a staff of 50 architects, interior designers, and engineers. The firm’s projects include cultural centers, museums, libraries, corporate, institutions, churches, and housing.


Scandiaconsult Sverige AB, with 2000 employees in 50 locations in Sweden, Norway, and Finland, is a leading consulting engineering company in the Nordic market. The Group offers comprehensive solutions in all technical disciplines from concept and analysis, planning, design, and project management to operation and maintenance, with a focus on sustainable use of natural resources.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

(Photomontage: Scandiaconsult Sverige AB/Per Petersson)
Plans for the Vätternbridge in Motala, Sweden, include dramatic nighttime lighting.

(Photomontage: Scandiaconsult Sverige AB/Per Petersson)
The bridge by day

(Photomontage: Scandiaconsult Sverige AB/Per Petersson)
The two-pier support design will offer clear, safe shipping lanes in the Göta Canal.

(Photomontage: Scandiaconsult Sverige AB/Per Petersson)
Land supports will have minimal environmental impact.

(Photomontage: Scandiaconsult Sverige AB/Per Petersson)
Pedestrians and cyclists will have easy access to dedicated lanes on the bridge.



© 2002